Is Meridia Dangerous?

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Meridia (sibutramine hydrochloride monohydrate) is an orally administered treatment for obesity.  Its generic name is sibutramine, and the active ingredient is racemic mixture of positive and negative enantiomers of cyclobutanemethananime.  Meridia is used along with a low calorie diet to help obese patients lose weight fast.  Sibutramine works by affecting the area in the patient’s brain that controls hunger by causing a false sense of fullness and satisfaction.  It is a significant anorectic and is regulated for that reason almost exclusively.


The recommended dose of Meridia is 10 mg administered once daily with or without food. If there is inadequate weight loss, the dose may be titrated after four weeks to a total of 15 mg once daily. The 5 mg dose should be reserved for patients who cannot tolerate the 10 mg dose. Blood pressure and heart rate changes should be taken into account when making decisions regarding the correct dose of Meridia for any obese patient.

What is it used for?

Obesity is associated with increased incidence of diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidaemia and coronary artery disease. Current obesity management strategies include lifestyle management and drug therapies. Meridia is a drug that claims to reduce food intake creating a fall in metabolic rate associated with weight loss.  Weight loss with Meridia treatment is associated with improved insulin sensitivity and a fall in glycosylated haemoglobin levels in type 2 diabetic patients.

Risks with Using Meridia

The current manufacturer warnings provided on Meridia include:

  • Substantial increases in blood pressure occur in some patients.
  • Blood pressure should be monitored in all patients using Meridia.
  • Meridia should not be used in patients with a history of CAD, stroke, arrhythmia, or CHF.
  • Meridia is not recommended for use by pregnant women.

Side Effects and Symptoms of an Adverse Reaction

There are some significant side effects and dangers associated with use of this drug.  Meridia substantially increases blood pressure and/or pulse rate in some patients.  Regular monitoring of blood pressure and pulse rate is absolutely required while taking Meridia to prevent adverse and deadly cardiac events in obese patients.  There have been approximately 400 adverse events associated with the use of Meridia and the drug’s manufacturer has acknowledged that approximately thirty-two of those fatalities involved the death of a Meridia user with nineteen of the deaths involving a heart complication.  Of the nineteen deaths cardiac related deaths, ten were people under the age of 50, three of whom were women under age thirty. In stark contrast, the average yearly weight loss for patients taking this risky medication was a mere six and a half pounds.  The FDA is said to have known prior to approving the drug that it significantly increased blood pressure and heart rates in many people and is only minimally effective.

Legal Action

If you believe that you or one of your family members has suffered a physical or mental injury due to the use of the drug Meridia it is important to consult with a product liability attorney as soon as possible in order to protect your right and interest and prevent any additional harm or injury from occurring or continuing.  You or your family member may have a cause of action in strict liability in connection with a defective pharmaceutical product manufactured by a pharmaceutical provider.    A products liability attorney can assist you in filing a claim against that drug manufacturer or retail supplier and help the injured patient to recover the costs of additional treatments to correct or improve any injury and emotional distress and humiliation arising due to adverse reactions to this drug.

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