Meridia belongs to a class of medicines called monoamine reuptake inhibitors. Its method of action is similar to SSRI antidepressants, in that it reduces the reuptake of the chemical neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin makes you feel relaxed and satisfied. Because of this, increases serotonin availability in the brain should make you feel fuller than before. This was the theory scientists used to develop Meridia.

How does Meridia accomplish this?

The FDA certified Meridia in 1997. Interestingly, this approval came on the heels of the banning of Fenfluramine (the “fen” part of phen-fen), which caused serious problems with heart valve damage in many patients.

Meridia and Fenfluramine are similar in that they increase the availability of serotonin, Fenfluramine doesn’t discriminate when it comes to where this effect occurs, while Meridia targets the brain specifically. Because Meridia works only in the brain rather than in the whole body, it’s considered to be safer.

Are there any side effects and contraindications for Meridia?

Like other similar medicines, Meridia has side effects you should be aware of. Meridia isn’t designed for people whose only problem is a bit of extra fat on an otherwise perfect body. In order to get a prescription, the potential benefits of taking Meridia need to outweigh the potential costs. If your BMI exceeds 30, or your BMI exceeds 27 and you have an “obesity-related condition”, for example diabetes, high blood pressure, etc., you can be prescribed Meridia. Side effects you may experience when taking Meridia are headaches, constipation, feeling like you have the flu, anxiety, and dry mouth. You should not take Meridia if you take monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAO) medications, other slimming drugs such as Phentermine, antidepressants of the SSRI type, or if you have certain medical conditions, such as heart disease, kidney failure, or anorexia.

How much weight can you expect to lose with Meridia?

Many people report that Meridia helps them stay full and forget about food, but don’t let that lull you into a false sense of security. The science suggests you should expect modest results, a loss of around 5-10% of your total body weight while taking Meridia if you’re following a healthy diet. In a year-long scientific study, subjects who reduced their calories and took 10mg of Meridia lost a mean of 10 pounds, while those who followed the same reduced-calorie diet without Meridia lost only 3.5 pounds. Most of the subjects in the study lost most of their weight within the first six months, and maintained those losses thereafter. The science on Meridia is remarkably consistent. Meridia is thought to help people stay thin by reducing cravings, comfort eating, and limiting portion sizes.

Meridia won’t solve your weight problem by itself. If you’re above your ideal weight and have health problems related to obesity, you might want to consult with your doctor about adding Meridia to your regimen. Meridia can assist you in resisting temptation. That said, Meridia is not a magic bullet; it will only compliment other strategies you’re using to lose weight. The only sure solution to keeping obesity at bay is eating right, exercising, and addressing your problem eating behaviors.