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Meridia Side Effects

Generic Name: sibutramine

Note: This page contains information about the side effects of sibutramine. Some of the dosage forms included on this document may not apply to the brand name Meridia.

Not all side effects for Meridia may be reported. You should always consult a doctor or healthcare professional for medical advice. Side effects can be reported to the FDA here.

For the Consumer

Applies to sibutramine: oral capsule

In addition to its needed effects, some unwanted effects may be caused by sibutramine (the active ingredient contained in Meridia). In the event that any of these side effects do occur, they may require medical attention.

You should check with your doctor immediately if any of these side effects occur when taking sibutramine:

Less common
  • Achiness
  • chills
  • fast or irregular heartbeat
  • increased blood pressure
  • mental depression
  • painful menstruation
  • swelling of the body, feet, or ankles
  • Bruising or red spots or patches on the skin
  • convulsions (seizures)
  • excessive bleeding following injury
  • headache (severe)
  • rapidly changing moods
  • skin rash
  • weight gain (unusual)

Some of the side effects that can occur with sibutramine may not need medical attention. As your body adjusts to the medicine during treatment these side effects may go away. Your health care professional may also be able to tell you about ways to reduce or prevent some of these side effects. If any of the following side effects continue, are bothersome or if you have any questions about them, check with your health care professional:

More common
  • Anxiety
  • constipation
  • dizziness
  • dryness of the mouth
  • headache
  • irritability or unusual impatience
  • nervousness
  • stuffy or runny nose
  • trouble with sleeping
Less common
  • Abdominal or stomach pain
  • back pain
  • burning, itching, prickling, or tingling of the skin
  • change in sense of taste
  • diarrhea
  • drowsiness
  • increase in appetite
  • increased sweating
  • increased thirst
  • indigestion
  • nausea
  • unusual warmth or flushing of the skin

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to sibutramine: oral capsule


General side effects, unrelated to a specific organ system, have included headaches (30.3%), back pain (8.2%), flu syndrome (8.2%), accidental injury (5.9%), asthenia (5.9%), abdominal pain (4.5%), chest pain (1.8%), and neck pain (1.6%).[Ref]

Nervous system

Nervous system side effects have included dry mouth (17.2%), insomnia (10.7%), dizziness (7.0%), nervousness (5.2%), anxiety (4.5%), depression (4.3%), paresthesia (2.0%), somnolence (1.7%), CNS stimulation (1.5%), emotional lability (1.3%), amnesia, abnormal dreams, abnormal gait, amnesia, anger, cerebrovascular accident, impaired concentration, confusion, aggravated depression, Gilles de la Tourette's syndrome, hypesthesia, decreased libido, increased libido, mood changes, nightmares, short term memory loss, speech disorder, transient ischemic attack, tremor, twitch, and vertigo. Less than 0.1% of patients have experienced seizures during therapy.[Ref]


Gastrointestinal side effects have included anorexia (13.0%), constipation (11.5%), increased appetite (8.7%), nausea (5.9%), dyspepsia (5.0%), gastritis (1.7%), vomiting (1.5%), and rectal disorder (1.2%).[Ref]


Respiratory system side effects have included rhinitis (10.2%), pharyngitis (10.0%), sinusitis (5.0%), increased cough (3.8%), and laryngitis (1.3%). Causal relationships have not been proven.[Ref]


Musculoskeletal aches and pains associated with the use of this drug have included arthralgia (5.9%), myalgia (1.9%), tenosynovitis (1.2%), and joint disorder (1.1%).[Ref]


Dermatologic side effects have included rash (3.8%), sweating (2.5%), herpes simplex (1.3%), and acne (1.0%). A case of severe bullous drug eruption due to sibutramine (the active ingredient contained in Meridia) has also been reported.[Ref]


Genitourinary side effects have included dysmenorrhea (3.5%), urinary tract infection (2.3%), vaginal monilia (1.2%), metrorrhagia (1.0%), and urinary retention.[Ref]


The manufacturer has reported that in placebo-controlled obesity studies, sibutramine (the active ingredient contained in Meridia) 5 to 20 mg once a day has been associated with mean increases in systolic and diastolic blood pressure of approximately 1 to 3 mm Hg relative to placebo, and mean increases in pulse rate of approximately 4 to 5 beats per minute.[Ref]

Cardiovascular side effects have included tachycardia (2.6%), vasodilation (2.4%), migraine (2.4%), hypertension/increased blood pressure (2.1%), and palpitation (2.0%), arrhythmias, myocardial infarction, and cardiac arrest. A few cases of QT interval prolongation have also been reported.[Ref]


Other side effects have included taste perversion (2.2%), ear disorder (1.7%), and ear pain (1.1%).[Ref]


Metabolic side effects have included thirst (1.7%) and generalized edema (1.2%).[Ref]


Hematologic side effects including significant improvements in serum triglyceride and HDL-C levels have been reported.[Ref]


If depression occurs during treatment with sibutramine (the active ingredient contained in Meridia) further evaluation of the patient may be necessary.[Ref]

Psychiatric side effects including cases of depression, psychosis, mania, suicidal ideation and suicide have been reported. If any of these events should occur during treatment with sibutramine, discontinuation should be considered. One case of exacerbation of panic attacks has also been reported.[Ref]


Hypersensitivity side effects have included reactions ranging from mild skin eruptions and urticaria to angioedema and anaphylaxis.[Ref]


1. "Product Information. Meridia (sibutramine)." Knoll Pharmaceutical Company, Whippany, NJ.

2. Clark DW, Harrison-Woolrych M "Sibutramine may be associated with memory impairment." BMJ 329 (2004): 1316

3. Goh BK, Ng PP, Giam YC "Severe bullous drug eruption due to sibutramine (Reductil(R))." Br J Dermatol 149 (2003): 215-6

4. Ernest D, Gershenzon A, Corallo CE, Nagappan R "Sibutramine-Associated QT Interval Prolongation and Cardiac Arrest (October)." Ann Pharmacother (2008):

5. Harrison-Woolrych M, Clark DW, Hill GR, Rees MI, Skinner JR "QT interval prolongation associated with sibutramine treatment." Br J Clin Pharmacol 61 (2006): 464-9

6. Dujovne CA, Zavoral JH, Rowe E, Mendel CM "Effects of sibutramine on body weight and serum lipids: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study in 322 overweight and obese patients with dyslipidemia." Am Heart J 142 (2001): 489-97

7. Rosenbohm A, Bux CJ, Connemann BJ "Psychosis with sibutramine." J Clin Psychopharmacol 27 (2007): 315-7

8. Binkley K, Knowles SR "Sibutramine and Panic Attacks." Am J Psychiatry 159 (2002): 1793-1794

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