February 1, 2009 -- Question: What is Meridia (sibutramine), how does it work, and how effective is it in reducing weight?
Answer: Meridia is a brand name for a product known as sibutramine. It's considered to be an appetite suppressant. It's available only by prescription and it is approved for longer-term use, unlike some of the older appetite-suppressing medications. Meridia works by boosting the levels of two chemical messengers in the brain: norepinepherine and serotonin.
And amplifying this signal from these chemical messengers triggers the satiety center -- the satisfaction center in the brain -- and helps us feel satisfied earlier in eating episodes that we can effectively have had enough to eat before we've consumed quite as much food as we might otherwise without the medication.
(This) translates into relatively modest additional weight loss, perhaps another 3-5 pounds beyond what we might accomplish if we were simply following a diet and exercise plan. And it may help us achieve a little bit more success in keeping the weight off over the long term.