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What is Meridia?
Meridia, also available as Sibutramine, is an appetite suppressant. There is discontinuation in its use in many countries. It was under prescription in the market as an adjunct to treat obesity and diet and physical exercise.
Meridia comes with diet and exercise under a treatment program to treat obesity-related high cholesterol, diabetes, or high blood pressure. It is beneficial as it produces appetite suppression to obtain weight loss in treating patients with obesity.
Meridia helps lose weight by altering brain neurotransmitters, and people usually take a low-calorie diet to help lose weight caused by obesity.
Don’t take this medicine if you are also having an MAO inhibitor such as isocarboxazid (Marplan), furazolidone (Furoxone), rasagiline (Azilect), phenelzine (Nardil), tranylcypromine (Parnate), or selegiline (Emsam, Eldepryl) in the last 14 days. Severe life-threatening effects can occur if you use Meridia before the MAO inhibitor is clear from your body.
Meridia is not under the recommendation for use by anyone younger than 16 years old.
What to know before taking Meridia?
Before taking it, consult your medical healthcare professional and avoid using Meridia if you are allergic to it or if you have:
- An eating disorder (anorexia or bulimia);
- High blood pressure (severe or uncontrolled hypertension);
- A history of heart disease like heart rhythm disorder, congestive heart failure (CHF);
- A past of coronary artery disease (atherosclerosis);
- A history of stroke/heart attack; or
- If you are using stimulant diet pills
You may need to go for special tests or adjust your Meridia dose if you have any of these conditions:
- High blood pressure;
- Kidney disease;
- Liver disease;
- Underactive thyroid;
- A blood clotting or bleeding disorder;
- Epilepsy or seizure disorder;
- A past of gallstones; or
- If you are younger than 16 years or older than 65 years
Tell the doctor about your pregnancy or your plan to conceive while using Meridia. It is still unknown whether it will harm a nursing baby by passing into the breastmilk or not. Take your doctor’s advice regarding breastfeeding while taking this drug.
How to take Meridia?
Take Meridia precisely as per the doctor’s prescription. Follow all the directions/instructions on the prescription label, medication guides, or instruction sheets. Never use Meridia in smaller or larger amounts or for longer than recommended.
The usual intake of Meridia is one time a day. You can take Meridia with or without food.
Occasionally, your doctor may change your dosage to ensure you get the best results.
During the first four weeks of taking Meridia and having a low-calorie diet, you may lose at least four pounds of your body weight. Tell the doctor if you cannot lose four pounds of weight after using this medicine for four weeks.
You may often need to have a check of your blood pressure and pulse. Regularly visit your doctor. Do not take Meridia for longer than two years.
Store Meridia away from heat and moisture at room temperature. Do not share your drug with someone else. Please keep it in a place where others cannot get it.
Usual adult dosage of Meridia:
- Initial dose- 10 mg orally one time a day with or without food.
- Maintenance (or maximum) dose- 15 mg orally one time a day with or without food.
In case of overdose, take urgent medical help or call the Poison helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Overdose symptoms may include dizziness, headache, and fast heart rate.
What to avoid while using Meridia?
Meridia can cause impairment in your thinking or reactions. Avoid driving a vehicle or performing any activity that requires alertness. Take your doctor’s advice before taking other prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) products to lose weight.
Avoid taking cold and cough or allergy medications while using Meridia, and do not consume alcohol while taking this medicine.
Meridia side effects
Take urgent medical help if you have allergic reactions due to the use of Meridia. Signs of an allergic reaction include issues with breathing, hives, swelling of your face, throat, lips, or tongue.
Call your doctor instantly if you have severe side effects such as:
- Worsening or new shortness of breath;
- Pounding, fast, or uneven heartbeats;
- Agitation, fever, hallucinations, overactive reflexes, tremor, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, dilated pupils, loss of coordination;
- Easy bleeding or bruising (bleeding gums, nosebleeds, or any bleeding that will not stop);
- High fever, very stiff (rigid) muscles, confusion, sweating, feeling like you might pass out;
- General ill feeling, heavy feeling or chest pain spreading to the arm or shoulder;
- Dangerously high blood pressure (blurred vision, severe headaches, seizure, anxiety, buzzing in your ears); or
- Sudden weakness or numbness (especially on one side of the body) problems with speech, vision, or balance
Common (less severe) side effects of Meridia may include:
- Changes in appetite;
- Upset stomach, dry mouth;
- Back pain, headache, joint pain;
- Stomach pain, constipation;
- Runny or stuffy nose, flu symptoms, cough, sore throat;
- Feeling dizzy, nervous, or depressed;
- Trouble sleeping (insomnia);
- Redness, warmth, or tingly feeling under the skin; or
- Mild skin rash
It is not a complete list of side effects, and others may occur. Take your doctor’s medical advice regarding side effects. Report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
What drugs can interact with Meridia?
Before taking Meridia, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you regularly use other drugs that cause sleepiness, such as sedatives, allergy medicine, sleeping pills, narcotic pain medication, muscle relaxers, and treatment for depression, seizures, or anxiety.
Interaction of the following medicines with Meridia can lead to dangerous side effects or death:
- Ketoconazole (Nizoral);
- Lithium (Eskalith, Lithobid, and others);
- An antibiotic such as erythromycin
- Any antidepressant drug;
- Ergot medicine;
- Any medication for headache; or
- Narcotic pain medication
It is not a complete list of various drug interactions with Meridia. Tell your medical healthcare provider about all the drugs you are taking currently. It includes prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, herbal products, and vitamins.