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Meridia (Sibutramine Hydrochloride) - Side Effects and Adverse Reactions



In placebo-controlled studies, 9% of patients treated with sibutramine (n = 2068) and 7% of patients treated with placebo (n = 884) withdrew for adverse events.

In placebo-controlled studies, the most common events were dry mouth, anorexia, insomnia, constipation and headache. Adverse events in these studies occurring in ≥ 1% of sibutramine treated patients and more frequently than in the placebo group are shown in the following table.

Obese Patients in Placebo-Controlled Studies
Adverse Event
(n = 2068)
(n = 884)
% Incidence % Incidence
  Back pain8.25.5
  Flu syndrome8.25.8
  Injury accident5.94.1
  Abdominal pain4.53.6
  Chest pain1.81.2
  Neck pain1.61.1
  Allergic reaction1.50.8
  Hypertension/increased blood pressure2.10.9
  Increased appetite8.72.7
  Rectal disorder1.20.5
  Generalized edema1.20.8
  Joint disorder1.10.6
  Dry mouth17.24.2
  CNS stimulation1.50.5
  Emotional lability1.30.6
  Cough increase3.83.3
  Herpes simplex1.31.0
  Taste perversion2.20.8
  Ear disorder1.70.9
  Ear pain1.10.7
  Urinary tract infection2.32.0
  Vaginal monilia1.20.5

The following additional adverse events were reported in ≥ 1% of all patients who received sibutramine in controlled and uncontrolled premarketing studies.

Body as a Whole


Digestive System

diarrhea, flatulence, gastroenteritis, tooth disorder.

Metabolic and Nutritional

peripheral edema.

Musculoskeletal System


Nervous System

agitation, leg cramps, hypertonia, thinking abnormal.

Respiratory System

bronchitis, dyspnea.

Skin and Appendages


Special Senses


Urogenital System

menstrual disorders.

Other Adverse Events

Clinical Studies


Convulsions were reported as an adverse event in three of 2068 (0.1%) sibutramine treated patients and in none of 884 placebo-treated patients in placebo-controlled premarketing obesity studies. Two of the three patients with seizures had potentially predisposing factors (one had a prior history of epilepsy; one had a subsequent diagnosis of brain tumor). The incidence in all subjects who received sibutramine (three of 4,588 subjects) was less than 0.1%.

Ecchymosis/Bleeding Disorders

Ecchymosis (bruising) was observed in 0.7% of sibutramine treated patients and in 0.2% of placebo-treated patients in premarketing placebo-controlled obesity studies. One patient had prolonged bleeding of a small amount which occurred during minor facial surgery. Sibutramine may have an effect on platelet function due to its effect on serotonin uptake.

Interstitial Nephritis

Acute interstitial nephritis (confirmed by biopsy) was reported in one obese patient receiving sibutramine during premarketing studies. After discontinuation of the medication, dialysis and oral corticosteroids were administered; renal function normalized. The patient made a full recovery.

Altered Laboratory Findings

Abnormal liver function tests, including increases in AST, ALT, GGT, LDH, alkaline phosphatase and bilirubin, were reported as adverse events in 1.6% of sibutramine-treated obese patients in placebo-controlled trials compared with 0.8% of placebo patients. In these studies, potentially clinically significant values (total bilirubin ≥ 2 mg/dL; ALT, AST, GGT, LDH, or alkaline phosphatase ≥ 3 × upper limit of normal) occurred in 0% (alkaline phosphatase) to 0.6% (ALT) of the sibutramine treated patients and in none of the placebo-treated patients. Abnormal values tended to be sporadic, often diminished with continued treatment, and did not show a clear dose-response relationship.

Postmarketing Reports

Voluntary reports of adverse events temporally associated with the use of sibutramine are listed below. It is important to emphasize that although these events occurred during treatment with sibutramine, they may have no causal relationship with the drug. Obesity itself, concurrent disease states/risk factors, or weight reduction may be associated with an increased risk for some of these events.


Cases of depression, suicidal ideation and suicide have been reported rarely in patients on sibutramine treatment. However, a relationship has not been established between the occurrence of depression and/or suicidal ideation and the use of sibutramine. If depression occurs during treatment with sibutramine, further evaluation may be necessary.


Allergic hypersensitivity reactions ranging from mild skin eruptions and urticaria to angioedema and anaphylaxis have been reported (see CONTRAINDICATIONS and PRECAUTIONS-Information For Patients, and other reports of allergic reactions listed below).

Other Postmarketing Reported Events:

Body as a Whole

anaphylactic shock, anaphylactoid reaction, chest pressure, chest tightness, facial edema, limb pain, sudden unexplained death.

Cardiovascular System

angina pectoris, atrial fibrillation, congestive heart failure, heart arrest, heart rate decreased, myocardial infarction, supraventricular tachycardia, syncope, torsade de pointes, vascular headache, ventricular tachycardia, ventricular extrasystoles, ventricular fibrillation.

Digestive System

cholecystitis, cholelithiasis, duodenal ulcer, eructation, gastrointestinal hemorrhage, increased salivation, intestinal obstruction, mouth ulcer, stomach ulcer, tongue edema.

Endocrine System

goiter, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism.

Hemic and Lymphatic System

anemia, leukopenia, lymphadenopathy, petechiae, thrombocytopenia.

Metabolic and Nutritional

hyperglycemia, hypoglycemia.

Musculoskeletal System

arthrosis, bursitis.

Nervous System

abnormal dreams, abnormal gait, amnesia, anger, cerebrovascular accident, concentration impaired, confusion, depression aggravated, Gilles de la Tourette’s syndrome, hypesthesia, libido decreased, libido increased, manic reaction, mood changes, nightmares, serotonin syndrome, short term memory loss, speech disorder, transient ischemic attack, tremor, twitch, vertigo.

Respiratory System

epistaxis, nasal congestion, respiratory disorder, yawn.

Skin and Appendages

alopecia, dermatitis, photosensitivity (skin), urticaria.

Special Senses

abnormal vision, blurred vision, dry eye, eye pain, increased intraocular pressure, otitis externa, otitis media, photosensitivity (eyes), tinnitus.

Urogenital System

abnormal ejaculation, hematuria, impotence, increased urinary frequency, micturition difficulty, urinary retention.


Controlled Substance

MERIDIA is controlled in Schedule IV of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).

Abuse and Physical and Psychological Dependence

Physicians should carefully evaluate patients for history of drug abuse and follow such patients closely, observing them for signs of misuse or abuse (e.g., drug development of tolerance, incrementation of doses, drug seeking behavior).


Below is a sample of reports where side effects / adverse reactions may be related to Meridia. The information is not vetted and should not be considered as verified clinical evidence.

Possible Meridia side effects / adverse reactions in 25 year old female

Reported by a lawyer from United States on 2012-03-28

Patient: 25 year old female

Reactions: Emotional Distress, Monoparesis, Pain, Aphasia, Embolic Stroke, Paralysis, Gait Disturbance, Hemiparesis, Neurological Symptom, Disability

Adverse event resulted in: hospitalization, disablity

Suspect drug(s):

Other drugs received by patient: Intrauterine Device

Possible Meridia side effects / adverse reactions in 51 year old male

Reported by a consumer/non-health professional from United States on 2012-05-04

Patient: 51 year old male weighing 104.3 kg (229.5 pounds)

Reactions: Myocardial Infarction

Adverse event resulted in: death

Suspect drug(s):

Possible Meridia side effects / adverse reactions in 37 year old female

Reported by a health professional (non-physician/pharmacist) from United States on 2012-06-20

Patient: 37 year old female

Reactions: Impaired Work Ability, Cerebrovascular Accident

Adverse event resulted in: life threatening event, disablity

Suspect drug(s):

See index of all Meridia side effect reports >>

Drug label data at the top of this Page last updated: 2008-01-25

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