Meridia - Frequently Asked Questions - FindLaw

Q: Is Meridia still available in the United States?
A: On October 8, 2010, Abbot Laboratories, the manufacturer of the weight loss drug Meridia, withdrew the drug from the U.S. market due to increased risk of heart attack and stroke associated with use of the drug.

Q: What was Meridia used to treat?
A: Meridia was a prescription medication used as a long-term treatment for obesity.

Q: How does Meridia work?
A: Meridia works by affecting appetite control centers in the brain. It reduces food intake by increasing satiety, or feeling of fullness, but is not an appetite suppressant.

Q: What are some common side effects of Meridia?
A: The most common side effects of Meridia include headache, dry mouth, anorexia, constipation and insomnia. Also, Meridia is a controlled substance, which means that abuse may lead to dependency.

Q: Who shouldn't have been prescribed Meridia?
A: An individual cannot take Meridia if he or she is taking a prescription medicine that falls in a group of drugs called monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), which are sometimes used to treat depression or Parkinson's disease. Meridia also cannot be taken if patients have anorexia nervosa, are taking other weight loss medications that act on the brain, or are especially sensitive to any of the ingredients in Meridia. Meridia should not be used in patients with a history of coronary artery disease, arrhythmias, congestive heart failure, or stroke.

Q: What were the problems associated with Meridia use?
A: Primarily, Meridia increased the risk of heart attack and stroke. It also substantially increased blood pressure in some patients, and regular monitoring of blood pressure was required when taking Meridia. Meridia should have been prescribed with caution to those patients with a history of hypertension, and should not have been given to patients with uncontrolled or poorly controlled hypertension. Especially concerning was the fact that Meridia was targeted towards already obese patients. Increased risk of negative heart events in obese patients creates an excessive health risk.

Q: Was Meridia effective for weight loss?
A: The average weight loss from taking Meridia was reportedly 5-9%, within six months. But its manufacturer warned that obesity is a chronic condition and since weight is regained quickly when medication is withdrawn, most patients had to take Meridia permanently to maintain weight loss. Later, studies by the FDA and European health institutes found that Meridia-induced weight loss was in fact less significant than originally thought.

Q: What if I have been injured as a result of taking Meridia?
A: If you have taken Meridia and experienced any unusual side effects, you should contact your physician immediately to remedy the issues. Additionally, you may want to contact an attorney to discuss potential legal claims for the injuries you have suffered.

Q: Can I sue my physician if Meridia caused me injury?
A: Maybe - as Meridia is a controlled substance and must be prescribed by physicians, the first likely candidate for a lawsuit would be your physician. Meridia should not be prescribed to patients who are taking other weight loss medication that acts on the brain, to patients with hypertension, anorexia, or to patients with a history of heart disease, coronary artery disease, arrythmias, congestive heart failure, or stroke. If you fit any of these profiles, and your physician prescribed Meridia to you, then you may be able to successfully sue your physician for medical malpractice.

Q: Can I sue the manufacturer if Meridia caused me injury?
A: Yes - Abbot Laboratories, the manufacturer of Meridia, withdrew the drug from the market due to health risks (a 16% increase in risk of serious heart events, according to the FDA). If you have been injured as a result of taking Meridia, you will likely have a defective product liability claim against Abbot Laboratories. To succeed at trial, your attorney would have to prove that, were it not for Meridia use, you would not have suffered the specified injuries. Your attorney would also have to demonstrate that you were not informed about the heightened health risks of Meridia prior to using the drug.