Effect of sibutramine on weight loss and blood pressure: a meta-analysis of controlled trials

Obes Res. 2003 Sep;11(9):1116-23. doi: 10.1038/oby.2003.152.


Objective: Sibutramine causes weight loss by suppressing the appetite and by promoting energy expenditure, but it can also increase blood pressure through a norepinephrine effect. The aim of this study was to provide a comprehensive meta-analysis of randomized, controlled trials on the effects of sibutramine on blood pressure and weight loss.

Research methods and procedures: Twenty-one placebo-controlled, double-blind, randomized trials of sibutramine were identified using MEDLINE, EMBASE, and a manual search. The effect sizes of sibutramine on weight and systolic (SBP) and diastolic (DBP) blood pressure changes were estimated. Subgroup analyses were undertaken to explore the relationship between effect sizes and the study characteristics.

Results: The effect size of sibutramine on weight change was -1.00 (-1.17 to -0.84), whereas the effect sizes on SBP and DBP changes were 0.16 (0.08 to 0.24) and 0.26 (0.18 to 0.33), respectively. By subgroup analysis, the effect sizes on weight loss were significantly larger when the dosage was > or = 15 mg. The effect sizes on increased SBP were significantly larger when the initial body weight was > or = 92 kg and the age was < 44 years; similarly, the effect sizes on increased DBP were significantly larger when the initial weight was > or = 92 kg.

Discussion: Sibutramine showed a large effect on weight loss. Because blood pressure was found to be increased slightly, but significantly, sibutramine should be used cautiously in patients with borderline or high blood pressure. Additional studies on its effect on blood pressure are needed.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Appetite Depressants / adverse effects
  • Appetite Depressants / therapeutic use*
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects*
  • Cyclobutanes / adverse effects
  • Cyclobutanes / therapeutic use*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Energy Metabolism / drug effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / chemically induced
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / drug therapy*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic


  • Appetite Depressants
  • Cyclobutanes
  • sibutramine