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Sibutramine, Weight Loss and Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR)
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Sibutramine Effects on Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) and Weight Loss

Sibutramine, a monoamine re-uptake inhibitor, has recently been approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a weight loss agent. Sibutramine lowers bodyweight in rodents by reducing energy intake and increasing energy expenditure. Sibutramine facilitates weight loss in human subjects, but it is not clear whether it acts on energy intake, energy expenditure, or both. The present study was a randomized clinical trial designed to assess the effects of sibutramine (at 10 or 30 mg/day) on body weight and resting metabolic rate (RMR). Forty-four overweight women were randomized to 1) placebo; 2) sibutramine at 10 mg/day or, 3) sibutramine at 30 mg/day. All subjects were instructed to consume a 1200 kcal/day diet for 8 weeks while receiving drug or placebo. RMR was assessed by indirect calorimetry at baseline, at 3 hours after the first dose of drug (or placebo), and at the end of the 8-week weight-loss period.

Sibutramine reduced body weight-relative to placebo, but there was no difference between weight loss on the two sibutramine doses. No significant differences in RMR between sibutramine and placebo were seen, either 3-hour post dose or after the 8-week weight-loss period. After the weight loss period, all groups were taken off medication and kept weight stable for another 4 weeks. RMR was measured again and was not different among groups. That there was no change in RMR when sibutramine was stopped further suggests that the drug does not directly affect RMR.

In summary, while sibutramine was shown to be an effective weight-loss agent over 8 weeks, we found no evidence that it increased RMR.

Source: Seagle HM, Bessesen DH, Hill JO. Department of Pediatrics, Center for Human Nutrition, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver 80262, USA.

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