Meridia Diet Pill Review
Of all the three classes of drugs prescribed for weight loss, Meridia diet pills (also sold as Reductil, Reduxade and Ectiva) are probably the most effective of them all.
Marketed as blue-yellow capsules of three different strengths (5, 10, or 15 mg each), Sibutramine (as it is called pharmacologically), packs quite a punch. Numerous research studies have documented an average weight loss of up to 12 kg (slightly over 26 lbs.) over a period of 6 months to 1 year. Therapy usually includes Meridia in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle, exercise and diet.
How does Meridia work?
Meridia diet pills act by increasing the concentration of chemical substances called monoamines (noradrenalin, serotonin and dopamine) in the brain. This allows a multi-pronged action at various centers, stimulating the sympathetic nervous system and the satiety center, along with other unknown affects on metabolism to ultimately decrease appetite and reduce food intake.
When combined with a low-calorie diet and appropriate lifestyle modifications, Meridia diet pills have documented a weight loss anywhere between 2-12 kg over a period of 6 to 12 months. Information from follow-up studies suggests that this weight loss can then be maintained for a substantial amount of time on diet and activity alone.
Sibutramine, the active ingredient in Meridia, does not cause a decrease in the lean body weight (the non-fat content of the body) or blood sugar levels. It decreases the uric acid levels, which is useful since higher uric acid levels in higher weight groups can lead to gout.
Drug therapy for obesity is indicated in individuals in whom obesity cannot be attributed to underlying endocrine and metabolic disorders. Drug therapy is initiated at a BMI of 30 kg/m2 (or 27 kg/m2 in the presence of other risk factors like hypertension, coronary artery disease, diabetes) after a failure of diet and exercise to produce a weight loss of greater than 0.5 kg/1 lb. per week for 4 weeks.
Note: Body Mass Index is calculated as so… BMI=weight(kg)/ [height(m)2]. You can use this online BMI calculator to determine yours!
Meridia diet pills are generally prescribed at 10mg per day, starting approximately 2 hours after breakfast. This dosing schedule provides adequate cover for the next 12 to 14 hours when most of the food intake takes place. It also prevents the stimulatory action of the drug to interfere with sleep patterns.
The drug is initially prescribed for a period of 4 weeks during which the individual is monitored for weight loss and side effects. A close watch is kept on blood pressure and heart rate. These tend to go up — especially if the drug is working. A minimal weight loss of 4 lb should be achieved during this duration or therapy should be re-evaluated. In case this target weight loss is not achieved, the therapy should be either discontinued or dosage can be increased to 15mg/day in the absence of side effects.
An increase in heart rate and/or blood pressure during this period may prompt a reduction of the dose to 5mg/day. Thereafter, closer follow-up is recommended to assess the effect of the drug on the cardiovascular system. For any individual, the lowest possible effective dose should be chosen in order to prevent complications.
Using this regime, Meridia diet pills have been found to effectively decrease the girth or waist circumference. In a research study conducted over 12 weeks this drug caused a reduction of 1.8 kg in the group that took this drug, compared to the 0.2 kg weight loss that was seen in the group that was given placebo.
The drug Sibutramine from Meridia diet pills is effectively absorbed from the gut except in the presence of food. Meridia should not be taken either before or after a meal. The drug is broken down into its active ingredients in the liver, which then act via the central nervous system.
Elimination of the drug involves mechanisms in both the liver and the kidney. This is important to note in individuals with dysfunction of either organ or in the elderly where the body’s metabolism generally works at a slower pace.
The efficacy and the safety of the drug has not been studied for any period longer than two years. Therefore longer durations of therapy should be avoided.
Caution is advised when using the drug in individuals with pre-existing kidney or liver diseases, and in the elderly. Risk factors and alternative medications should be given due consideration in people with heart disease, glaucoma, seizure disorder, stoke, gall-stones or past history of drug abuse. Meridia diet pills have shown a tendency to aggravate these problems in clinical trials.
The drug acts through the central nervous system and has the potential to produce drowsiness or alter judgment during due the course of therapy. Proximity to heavy mechanical equipment and driving is not advised for this duration. Significant drug interactions include decreased efficacy of the drug when taken along with antibiotics like erythromycin and anti-fungals like ketoconazole.
Given its site of action, other drugs acting at the same location may interact with Meridia, producing predictable and unpredictable results and should be avoided unless clear indications exist. Combining Meridia with other centrally acting weight loss drugs, MAO inhibitors (anti-depressants) and alcohol should be avoided.
In this regard one particular interaction is worth specific mention. A group of drugs called SSRI’s, which also work by similar mechanisms, are used as antidepressants and appetite suppressants. There is speculation that combining Meridia with SSRI’s may cause adverse structural alterations in the blood vessels of the heart and the lungs. Though this remains unsubstantiated with no cases reported, using the two classes of drugs is avoided as a rule.