Sibutramine is an anorectic medication used as a capsule to treat obesity in conjunction with diet and exercise program. It was introduced in 2001 and may be addictive. The normal dose is one capsule a day.
It is not for use in pregnancy, while breastfeeding and children, or if suffering from mental illness leading to excessive eating, uncontrolled diabetes, Tourette syndrome, heart disease, recent stroke, uncontrolled high blood pressure, over active thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism), enlarged prostate gland, glaucoma, history of drug abuse, severe liver or kidney disease. Sibutramine should be used with caution in any form of liver and kidney disease, gallstones and epilepsy. Regular checks of blood pressure and pulse are necessary, and it is not for long-term use.
Side effects may include rapid heart rate, dry mouth, sleeplessness, high blood pressure, nausea and diarrhoea. Rarely seizures may occur.
Serious interactions may occur with diethylpropion hydrochloride, orlistat, phentermine and MAOI. Milder interactions are possible with sumatriptan, lithium, ketoconazole, macrolide antibiotics (eg. erythromycin), phenytoin, dexamethasone, tryptophan and excess alcohol.
An overdose is serious as it may cause restlessness, tremor, rapid breathing, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, confusion, hallucinations, violence, panic state, vomiting, diarrhoea, coma, convulsions and death.
In 2010 it was removed from the market, as those using the medication were found to have an increased risk of mild heart attacks.