Meridia, which was first approved by the FDA in 1997, is an appetite suppressant drug used to help people lose weight and maintain weight loss. Manufactured by Abbott Laboratories, Meridia works by affecting control centers in the brain to decrease appetite.  After Meridia was approved as a weight loss drug, early trials indicated that Meridia could cause high blood pressure and increased pulse rates.  Following these trials, the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) forced Abbott to add warnings to Meridia’s label regarding these risks.  Other potential dangerous side effects of Meridia include:

  • Uneven, quick heartbeats
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, feeling faint, stiff muscles
  • Easy bruising or bleeding
  • High blood pressure
  • Chest pain
  • Numbness and weakness in body

How Meridia Works

Meridia is in a class of medications called monoamine re-uptake inhibitors. Usually, after eating a meal, serotonin is released into the brain, which causes the body to feel full.  Meridia works by making the serotonin last longer, so the body feels full for a longer period of time. Since the body will not feel as hungry, the drug helps decrease patients’ caloric intake throughout the day.

Meridia and Heart Attacks

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) on September 1, 2010 concluded that Meridia (sibutramine) causes an increased risk of non-fatal heart attacks and strokes in patients with previous cardiovascular problems. Editors of the NEJM suggested that Meridia should immediately be removed from the market.  In response, the FDA is convening a panel of experts to review Meridia’s safety on September 15, 2010.  The FDA will also examine whether Meridia should be recalled in the U.S.

Earlier this year, Meridia was recalled from European markets.  After the European recall, the FDA decided to limit the use of Meridia to patients with no previous heart problems. It is important to avoid Meridia if you have:

  • Severe and uncontrolled hypertension
  • History of coronary artery disease
  • History of heart disease
  • History of heart attack

Contact a Meridia Lawyer

If you or a loved one has experienced a Meridia injury such as a heart attack or stroke, you may be eligible to file a Meridia lawsuit against the drug’s manufacturers for financial compensation.  Contact us today for a free and confidential case evaluation regarding your potential Meridia lawsuit.

Published November 17, 2011 by