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sibutramine (MERIDIA)

Drug and Dietary Supplement Profiles

A comprehensive review of the safety and effectiveness of this drug. If the drug is not a Do Not Use product, information on adverse effects, drug interactions and how to use the medication are included.
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  • sibutramine (MERIDIA)
    We list this drug as a Do Not Use drug because it causes very limited weight loss and also causes high blood pressure and increased heart rate.

Disease and Drug Family Information

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  • Diet Drugs [hide all summaries]
    The FDA has set the bar too low for the approval of diet drugs. Instead of requiring that diet drugs be proved to prevent the long term consequences of obesity (none ever has), diet drugs can be approved if they show a modest weight loss over a relatively short period.

Worst Pills, Best Pills Newsletter Articles

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Additional Information from Public Citizen

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  • [hide all summaries]
    A dangerously low approval standard for diet drugs has created a history of recalls, injuries, and needless deaths.
  • [hide all summaries]
    The FDA’s decision to ask pharmaceutical maker Abbott to withdraw the drug is commendable, but dangerously too late for all of the victims of its unacceptable risks.
  • [hide all summaries]
    Sidney Wolfe, M.D. testified that the risks of sibutramine (Meridia) outweigh the benefits and that the drug should be removed from the market.
  • [hide all summaries]
    It is no surprise that a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that the weight loss drug sibutramine (Meridia) increases the risk of strokes and heart attacks.
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    In contrast to becoming more active and cautious in enhancing food safety by removing potentially dangerous products before they have caused harm, several FDA decisions in the past year regarding prescription drugs can only be described as reckless.
  • [hide all summaries]
    This purpose of this letter is to re-petition the FDA to immediately ban the weight loss drug, sibutramine (Meridia – Abbott – in the U.S.).
  • [hide all summaries]
    How many more dangerously flawed decisions will the FDA make before the Congress repeals the Prescription Drug User Fee Act, which brings the agency ever closer to – and makes the agency less vigilant over – the companies that give it almost $200 million a year in funding?
  • [hide all summaries]
    Since then [since the original petition] , from reviewing subsequent FDA adverse event data, we have become aware of an additional 30 cardiovascular deaths in people using Meridia, for a total of 49 cardiovascular deaths. Twenty-seven of the 49 (68%) were in people less than 50 years old.
  • [hide all summaries]
    The purpose of this letter is to strongly urge you to bring criminal charges against Abbott Laboratories for illegally withholding from the FDA important information concerning eight deaths and other adverse effects of their big-selling obesity drug, sibutramine (Meridia), a drug we asked you to ban in March of this year.
  • [hide all summaries]
    According to the FDA data base, since its launch in early 1998 sibutramine has now been associated with 29 deaths including 19 from cardiovascular adverse effects in people using this minimally effective drug.

Health Letter Articles

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  • Meridia — Weight Loss or Health Loss? [hide all summaries]
    (October 2003)
    Against the better judgment of both the physicians who reviewed the data for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the FDA’s external Advisory Committee, the weight loss drug Meridia (sibutramine) has been on the market for over five years. Both the agency’s own doctors and its advisors are on record as saying that the benefits (loss of a few pounds in weight) do not outweigh the risks (increased blood pressure and thus increased risk for heart attack and stroke).

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