Research Article

Effect of cimetidine suspension on appetite and weight in overweight subjects.

BMJ 1993; 306 doi: (Published 24 April 1993) Cite this as: BMJ 1993;306:1091
  1. G Støa-Birketvedt
  1. Dovre Medical Center, Fjellhamar, Norway.


    OBJECTIVE--To investigate the weight reducing effect of cimetidine, comparing it with placebo. DESIGN--Block randomised parallel group double blind study using suspensions with identical appearance and taste. SETTING--Primary care practice. SUBJECTS--55 women and 5 men aged 18-59, body mass index 25-37 kg/m2, completed the study according to the protocol. INTERVENTIONS--Cimetidine suspension 200 mg or placebo 30 minutes was given before the three main meals for eight weeks. Subjects followed a diet restricted to 5 MJ/day supplemented with 9 g fibre per day. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Weight reduction; abdominal and hip circumferences and systolic and diastolic blood pressures were also recorded. RESULTS--Subjects given cimetidine lost a mean of 7.3 (95% confidence interval 6.5 to 8.3) kg more than subjects given placebo (p < 0.001); body mass index decreased 3.33 (SD 0.76) and 0.77 (0.43), respectively (p < 0.001). Abdominal and hip circumference was decreased more in the cimetidine group (8.6 (3.9) cm and 7.8 (3.1) cm) than in the placebo group (2.2 (1.5) cm and 2.1 (1.5) cm). Mean reductions in systolic and diastolic blood pressure were greater in the cimetidine group than the placebo group (mean 5.8 v 0.4 and 6.5 v 0.4, p < 0.001). CONCLUSION--Intake of cimetidine suspension 30 minutes before meals in overweight subjects may lead to reduced hunger, less food intake, and subsequent weight loss. This effect may be due to the suppression of gastric acid secretion. Cimetidine suspension may be a valuable adjunct in treating obesity.