- Habits That Can Help You Lose Weight Slideshow
- Lose Weight Without Dieting Slideshow
- Surprising Sources of Hidden Sugar Slideshow
- What is sibutramine, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
- What brand names are available for sibutramine?
- Is sibutramine available as a generic drug?
- Do I need a prescription for sibutramine?
- What are the side effects of sibutramine?
- What is the dosage for sibutramine?
- Which drugs or supplements interact with sibutramine?
- Is sibutramine safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- What else should I know about sibutramine?
What is sibutramine, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
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.
Patients taking sibutramine may achieve a 5-10% reduction from their baseline weight. Additionally, sibutramine-assisted weight loss has been accompanied by improvement in blood lipids (e.g, cholesterol). Sibutramine was approved by the FDA in 1997.
What are the side effects of sibutramine?
In general, sibutramine is well-tolerated. The most common side effects have been:
- inability to sleep,
- dry mouth,
- abdominal pain,
- chest pain,
- joint pain,
- back pain,
- changes in taste,
- irregular or painful menstrual periods,
- flu-like syndrome,
- increased cough,
- muscle pain,
- neck pain,
- tingling of the extremities,
- sore throat, and
- sinus congestion.
Abnormal liver tests have been reported in 1 in 60 persons who receive sibutramine.
Other important side effects include:
However, it has not been established that sibutramine caused these events. If any of these events occur during treatment, sibutramine probably should be discontinued.
What is the dosage for sibutramine?
Sibutramine is taken once daily, generally in the morning. Therapy usually is started with one 10mg tablet per day. The dose may be increased to 15mg by the physician after several weeks to achieve the desired effect. Doses of up to 60mg have been studied. Sibutramine may be taken with or without food.
Which drugs or supplements interact with sibutramine?
Sibutramine must be converted in the liver to its active form. This conversion is inhibited by ketoconazole (Nizoral), cimetidine (Tagamet) and erythromycin (Erytab, Eryc, Ilosone), and use of these drugs can result in decreased conversion and effectiveness of sibutramine. Several other drugs may have a similar effect. These other drugs include clarithromycin (Biaxin), danazol (Danocrine), diltiazem (Cardizem, Tiazac, Dilacor), fluconazole (Diflucan), fluoxetine (Prozac), itraconazole (Sporanox), propoxyphene (Darvon), troleandomycin (Tao) and verapamil (Verelan, Covera, Calan, Isoptin).
In patients receiving one of the drugs from a class of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), for example, fluoxetine (Prozac), fluvoxamine (Luvox), paroxetine (Paxil), sertraline (Zoloft)--at the same time as monoamine oxidase inhibitor drugs (MAO inhibitors), there have been reports of serious reactions (serotonin syndrome). The serotonin syndrome may include one or more of the following: agitation, anxiety, dizziness, confusion, excessive sweating, disorientation, painful joints, vomiting, hyperexcitement, fever, loss of coordination, loss of consciousness, shivering, fast heart rate, tremor, and weakness. As discussed previously, sibutramine, like the SSRIs, blocks the reuptake of serotonin and may also cause the serotonin syndrome. Therefore, sibutramine should not be used with MAO inhibitors, and there should be at least a 2-week interval between stopping an MAO inhibitor and starting sibutramine. Similarly, there should be at least a 2-week interval after stopping sibutramine and starting an MAO inhibitor. Serotonin syndrome also has been reported with the use of SSRIs at the same time as medications used for migraines such as sumatriptan (Imitrex), zolmitriptan (Zomig) and dihydroergotamine (DHE), as well as dextromethorphan (found in many cough medications such as Robitussin-DM), meperidine (Demerol), pentazocine (Talwin) and fentanyl (Duragesic), or lithium (Eskalith). Therefore, these drugs should not be used with sibutramine.
Is sibutramine safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
No adequate studies with sibutramine have been done in pregnant women. The use of sibutramine during pregnancy, therefore, is not recommended. Women who could become pregnant should use adequate contraception while taking sibutramine.
It is unknown whether sibutramine or its active products accumulate in breast milk. Sibutramine, therefore, is not recommended for nursing mothers.
What else should I know about sibutramine?
What preparations of sibutramine are available?
Capsules: 5mg (blue and yellow); 10mg (blue and white); 15mg (white and yellow)
How should I keep sibutramine stored?
Capsules should be stored at 25°C (77°F). Brief periods at higher or lower temperatures, i.e., 15-30°C (59-86°F) are permitted. The medication should be stored in a tight, light-resistant container. The capsules should be protected from heat and moisture.
Multimedia: Slideshows, Images & Quizzes
Related Disease Conditions
Treatment & Diagnosis
- Food Portion Distortion FAQs
- How To Reduce Your Medication Costs
- Pharmacy Visit, How To Get The Most Out of Your Visit
- Indications for Drugs: Approved vs. Non-approved
- Generic Drugs, Are They as Good as Brand-Names?
- Drugs: Buying Prescription Drugs Online Safely
- Drugs: The Most Common Medication Errors
- Medication Disposal - What to Do with Old or Unusable Medication
- Dangers of Mixing Medications
Medications & Supplements
Prevention & Wellness
- More Than 300 Million People Worldwide Have Depression: WHO
- Charges Filed Against Makers of Nutritional Supplements
- Recalled Supplements Linger on U.S. Store Shelves, Study Finds
- FDA: Bee Pollen Weight Loss Products Pose Health Risks
- Experimental Drug Slims Obese Monkeys
- FDA Panel Is Split on Ban of Diet Drug Meridia
- Weight Loss Pill Meridia Raises Heart Attack, Stroke Risks
Daily Health News
Subscribe to MedicineNet's Weight Loss/Healthy Living Newsletter
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Top sibutramine Related Articles
Drug InteractionsDrug interactions occur frequently. Get facts about the types of drug interactions, what substances or other things that may interact with drugs such as OTC drug and prescription drugs, vitamins, food(s) (grapefruit), and laboratory tests. Find out how to protect yourself from potential drug interactions.
Drugs: What You Should Know About Your DrugsImportant information about your drugs should be reviewed prior to taking any prescription drug. Side effects, drug interactions, warnings and precauctions, dosage, what the drug is used for, what to do if you miss a dose, how the drug is to be stored, and generic vs. brand names.
Portion Distortion QuizAre your portions deceiving you? Take the Food Portion Distortion Quiz to find out how and why gigantic portions trick you into eating more than reasonable amounts of food!
Obesity (Weight Loss)Obesity is the state of being well above one's normal weight. A person has traditionally been considered to be obese if they are more than 20% over their ideal weight. That ideal weight must take into account the person's height, age, sex, and build.