A Brazilian study of the drug sibutramine has shown that the drug safely promotes weight loss and improves lipid levels in teenage patients, as reported in a recent issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. The study included 60 obese teenagers, aged 14 to 17, who were randomly assigned to receive either 10 mg per day of sibutramine or placebo. At 6 months, the sibutramine group had lost significantly more weight than the placebo group?10.3 kg, compared with 2.4 kg. Forty-six percent of sibutramine users lost at least 10% of their starting weight. Researchers found no significant changes in blood pressure or heart rate in either group. In the sibutramine group, however, there were notable decreases in triglycerides and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol at the 24-week follow-up. The researchers note that these lipid changes may be important for preventing future cardiac diseases. The only adverse effect reported was constipation, affecting 12 participants in the sibutramine group and 4 in the placebo group. These results suggest the necessity for larger clinical trials.
Ms. Farley is a freelance medical writer based in Wakefield, RI.