Meridia is a prescription drug that can be used to help people lose weight and keep it off. It comes in the form of a capsule and is taken once a day. Meridia works by affecting certain brain chemicals, which promotes a sense of fullness. Although most people tolerate the medication well, there are possible side effects, such as headaches, constipation, and insomnia.
What Is Meridia?
In October 2010, Meridia was withdrawn from the market in the United States. Studies have shown that it increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes. This medication will no longer be available in the United States. People should stop taking it and should ask their healthcare providers about more appropriate weight loss options.
(Click Meridia Uses for more information on what Meridia is used for, including possible off-label uses.)
Who Makes Meridia?
It is made by Abbott Laboratories.
How Does It Work?
Meridia works by helping you to feel full more quickly. It acts in the brain, where it increases the levels of certain brain chemicals (including serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine) in specific areas of the brain.
Meridia does not increase the production of brain chemicals. Instead, it prevents the "reuptake" of the chemicals. As a message travels down a nerve, it causes the end of the cell to release a brain chemical. The chemical enters the gap between the first nerve cell and the one next to it. When enough of the chemical reaches the second nerve cell, it activates receptors on the cell, and the message continues on its way. The first cell then quickly absorbs any of the extra chemical that remains in the gap between the cells, preventing the chemical from further activating the second cell. This is called "reuptake."
Meridia helps to block the reuptake of serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine, so more of these chemicals remain in the space between the brain's nerve cells. This gives the chemicals a better chance of activating the receptors on the next nerve cell. This action promotes a sense of fullness (the signal to stop eating). It does not suppress the appetite (the signal to start eating).
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Meridia [package insert]. North Chicago, IL: Abbott Laboratories;2010 August.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Meridia (sibutramine): market withdrawal due to risk of serious cardiovascular events (10/8/2010). FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch/SafetyInformation/SafetyAlertsforHumanMedicalProducts/ucm228830.htm. Accessed October 15, 2010.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed October 22, 2007.
Briggs GG, Freeman RK, Yaffe SJ. Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation. 7th ed. Philadelphia (PA): Lippincott Williams & Wilkins;2005.
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