Sibutramine is a
medication that assists with weight-loss by altering neurotransmitters
within the brain. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that are produced and
released by nerves in order to communicate with other nerves. Released
neurotransmitters may attach to other nerves or they may be taken up
again by the nerves that release them, a process termed reuptake.
Sibutramine blocks the reuptake of the neurotransmitters dopamine,
norepinephrine, and serotonin. Blocking the reuptake of
neurotransmitters alters the balance of neurotransmitters within the
nerve cells and thereby affect nerve function and interaction.
Sibutramine was approved by the FDA in 1997.
In one 12-month study, the average weight loss in patients taking Meridia, 10 mg daily, was about 10 lbs. The average weight loss in
persons on only a reduced calorie diet alone was 3 1/2 lbs.
Additionally, sibutramine-assisted weight loss has been accompanied by
improvement in blood lipids (e.g, cholesterol). Thus, Meridia is proven effective therapy for the obese patient who needs
to loose weight to decease morbidity. Nonetheless, the magnitude of the weight loss will ultimately depend on the degree of concomitant
caloric restriction and the concomitant use of a graded exercise program.
SIDE EFFECTS: In general, sibutramine is well-tolerated. The most
common side effects have been constipation, inability to sleep,
headache, and dry mouth. Other side effects include abdominal pain,
acne, rash, chest pain, anxiety, joint pain, back pain, excitation,
depression, sweating, dizziness, drowsiness, changes in taste, irregular
or painful menstrual periods, flu-like syndrome, increased cough, muscle
pain, nausea, vomiting, neck pain, nervousness, palpitations, tingling
of the extremities, sore throat, and sinus congestion.