What is Meridia?

Sibutramine (Meridia® in the USA, Reductil® in Europe),
usually as sibutramide hydrochloride monohydrate, is an
orally administered agent for the treatment of obesity. It is
an anorectic (i.e. it decreases appetite) although it also has
antidepressant properties. It was approved by the Food and
Drug Administration (FDA) in November 1997[1] for the
treatment of obesity.

Sibutramine acts by increasing serotonin and nor adrenaline
levels in the brain. The serotonergic action, in particular, is
thought to influence appetite. Recognized side-effects are
dry mouth, headache, constipation and insomnia. It may
increase the blood pressure, and is therefore
contraindicated in patients with arterial hypertension, or
others in whom a rise in blood pressure would be harmful
(e.g. Patients with angina). Pulmonary hypertension, a
problem in some other anorectics, is not a recognized
side-effect.

A study is ongoing into reports of sudden death, heart
failure, renal failure and gastrointestinal problems. Despite
petitions[2], the drug has not been banned by the FDA, but
was part of a Senate hearing in 2005.
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