Sibutramine is a serotonin–norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) that, in humans, reduces the reuptake of norepinephrine (by ~73%), serotonin (by ~54%), and dopamine (by ~16%), thereby increasing the levels of these substances in synaptic clefts and helping enhance satiety; the serotonergic action, in particular, is thought to influence appetite. Older anorectic agents such as amphetamine and fenfluramine force the release of these neurotransmitters rather than affecting their reuptake.
Despite having a mechanism of action similar to tricyclic antidepressants, sibutramine has failed to demonstrate antidepressant properties in animal studies. It was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in November 1997 for the treatment of obesity.
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