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Given the suggestion that many potential anti-obesity drugs may enhance within-meal satiation, few studies have directly measured the effects of any drug on the microstructure of human eating behaviour. The effects of 7 days dosing with sibutramine 10 mg and 15 mg a day on appetite and energy balance were determined in 30 obese women (BMI 34.6 +/- 3.3 kg/m2, age 46.0 +/- 12.9 years) using a Universal Eating Monitor (UEM) and indirect calorimetry, in a double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover study. At day 7, sibutramine 10 mg and 15 mg reduced food intake by 16.6% and 22.3%, respectively (p < 0.001), compared with placebo. Sibutramine reduced eating rate compared with placebo rather than meal length (10 mg p < 0.05; 15 mg p < 0.001). In addition, sibutramine 10 mg significantly reduced hunger later in the meal (p < 0.05) and sibutramine 15 mg increased fullness early in the meal (p < 0.01), both of which are consistent with enhanced within-meal satiation. Sibutramine had little effect on resting metabolic rate, although 15 mg did significantly reduce respiratory quotient at several time points during the test day. These results provide novel evidence that decreased consumption of a test meal induced by sibutramine is primarily because of reduced eating rate, enhancing the deceleration in cumulative food intake within a meal associated with the development of satiety. Changes in within-meal appetite ratings appear particularly sensitive to drug-induced enhancement of satiation, and may provide key indices for assessing the therapeutic potential of novel anti-obesity drugs.

Original publication




Journal article


J Psychopharmacol

Publication Date





99 - 109


Adult, Appetite Depressants, Cross-Over Studies, Cyclobutanes, Dose-Response Relationship, Drug, Double-Blind Method, Energy Metabolism, Feeding Behavior, Female, Humans, Hunger, Middle Aged, Obesity, Satiety Response, Time Factors