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What is Meridia?
Meridia, also available as Sibutramine, is an appetite suppressant. There is discontinuation in its availability in many countries. It was under prescription as an adjunct to treat obesity together with diet and physical exercise. Meridia comes with diet and exercise under a treatment program to treat obesity that may or may not be related to 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 can cause impairment in your thinking or reactions. Avoid driving a vehicle or performing any activity that requires alertness. Hence, it is essential to take the doctor's advice before taking other prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) products to lose weight. Do not take Meridia if you have been taking an MAO inhibitor in the last two weeks, such as:
- isocarboxazid (Marplan);
- furazolidone (Furoxone);
- rasagiline (Azilect);
- phenelzine (Nardil);
- tranylcypromine (Parnate); or
- selegiline (Emsam, Eldepryl)
Severe life-threatening effects can occur if you use Meridia before the MAO inhibitor is clear from your body.
What to know before taking Meridia?
Before taking Meridia, you should check with your medical healthcare provider if you are allergic to Meridia or if you have any of the following medical conditions:
- anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa (an eating disorder);
- High blood pressure (severe uncontrolled hypertension);
- A past of heart disease like heart rhythm disorder, congestive heart failure (CHF);
- A history of coronary artery disease (atherosclerosis);
- Any previous case of stroke or 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 less than 16 years or older than 65 years
Tell the doctor about your pregnancy or your plan to become pregnant while using Meridia. It is still a question of whether it will pass into the breastmilk and harm a nursing baby or not. Take your doctor's medical 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. Meridia is not under the recommendation for use by anyone younger than 16 years old. 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 appetite suppressants like Meridia away from heat and moisture at room temperature. Do not share your drug with someone else. Would you please keep it in a place where others cannot get it?
Your Meridia dosage will depend upon your age, your medical condition, your initial response to the treatment with Meridia, other medical conditions you have, and other medications you take. The usual intake of Meridia is one time a day. 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.
Occasionally, your doctor may change your dosage to ensure you get the best results. You can take Meridia with or without food. 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.
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?
Avoid taking cold and cough or allergy medications while using Meridia. Also, avoid alcohol consumption while taking this medicine because it can cause dangerous or deadly side effects.
Meridia side effects
Take instant 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 911 or instantly consult your doctor if you have any of the following severe side effects that require immediate medical attention:
- 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
Less severe or common 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
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