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What is sibutramine and when is it used?

Sibutramine is an appetite suppressant, which means that it is prescribed to people who need help in losing weight, or to those who need help not to regain the lost weight. It cannot be used without a prescription, which means that it is not intended for everybody who wants to lose weight and that the doctor should be the one who will suggest its use. It works by increasing the amount of particular substances in the brain, due to which the feeling of fullness is created.

What are the possible side effects of sibutramine?

Even though it is regarded as one of the most popular appetite suppressants, there are some doubts about its safety, and it is even questioned by the FDA, while it has been withdrawn from the market in the UK and EU. Just like almost every other medication, this one also has side effects, and some of them are more serious, while some are not.

Among the mild side effects are headaches, constipation, nausea, dizziness, drowsiness, changes in the appetite and problems with sleeping, but those that can be serious are increased blood pressure and pulse, arrhythmia, and changes in the mood, particularly because some of them may increase the risk of heart attack or stroke.

On the other side, there have been reports in which patients even had suicidal thoughts, though these cases are rare. There are also symptoms that should not be ignored and that need immediate medical help, and such are jaundice, fever, pain in the chest area, edema, problems with urinating, and seizures.

How to reduce the risk of side effects?

Despite the fact that in the majority of the cases it is impossible to predict when certain side effects will occur, people with problems such as hypertension or any heart-related condition, liver or kidney disease, glaucoma, depression, allergies or bleeding disorders should inform their doctor about it in advance. In such cases, the use of sibutramine is not recommended because of the contraindications.

Also, it is not recommended to combine sibutramine with other weight loss medications, with certain antibiotics and pain relievers, or with lithium, monoamine oxidase inhibitors, triptans or tricyclic antidepressants because of the increased risk of interactions. Some combinations may cause the symptoms that are typical of serotonin syndrome, and some may even be life-threatening. In order to minimize the risks of side effects, the patient should use it as prescribed.

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