Contrave is a prescription-only weight loss medication developed in the USA by Orexigen Therapeutics. In 2014, the FDA approved its use in the US and the EU’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) sanctioned its use in Europe the following year.
Unlike many other prescription-only weight loss drugs, such as Phentermine and Belviq, that contain only one drug, Contrave is a combination of two drugs—Buprion and Naltrexone. Buprion is primarily used as an antidepressant and can also help people to cope with the stress of stopping smoking. Naltrexone is often used as a treatment for alcohol and opiod dependence. However, both drugs have shown potential as weight loss providers, but they also have the ability to cause nasty side effects and some of these negative issues are carried over when the two drugs are combined.
As far as potential goes, Contrave is probably less effective than the weight loss drug Qsymia, but may be more effective than Belviq. In a comparison of clinical trials, the volunteers who took Qsymia reduced their bodyweight by an average of 9%. The volunteers recruited for a the Belviq clinical trial showed an average weight reduction of 3%. Contrave came somewhere between the two, with the volunteers showing an average weight loss of 5%.
Eligibility for Treatment
As with other weight loss drugs, doctors have strict guidelines they must follow when deciding whether or not to issue a prescription. Contrave can only be prescribed to adult patients who have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more. However, people who have a BMI of 27-30 may still be eligible for treatment with Contrave is they suffer from at least one weight-related health condition, such as diabetes or high blood pressure. If a patient has failed to lose at least 5% of their body weight after 12 weeks of treatment the use of Contrave as a weight loss aid will be discontinued.
How Contrave Works
Contrave is an appetite suppressant that targets the neural pathways that influence appetite and food intake. The drug’s ability to suppress the appetite was evaluated in a number of early clinical trials. A total of 4,500 obese individuals took part in the trials. Some of them had weight-related conditions, others did not.
The treatment period was 12 months and everyone who took part followed a reduced calorie diet and exercised regularly. The resultant data showed the volunteers who received Contrave showed an average weight loss that was 4.1% better than the placebo group.
- Week 1: One capsule each morning.
- Week 2: One capsule each morning and one capsule on the evening.
- Week 3: Two capsules each morning and one capsule on the evening.
- Week 4 onward: Two capsules each morning and two capsules every evening.
Contrave must be used as part of an overall weight management routine that includes a healthy diet and regular exercise. The doctor who prescribes Contrave will offer advice on both these things based on each patient’s individual level of mobility and fitness.
It is also important not to take crave with high fat meals as this may lead to seizure.
Side Effects & Suitability Issues
Contrave is not suitable for everyone and any decision to issue a prescription will not be based on the official recommendation alone. Each patient’s medical history will be taken into consideration, as will any medication he or she may be using at the time.
The drug is not suitable for women who are pregnant of for people who suffer from certain medical conditions including:
- Eating disorders
- Seizure disorders
- High blood pressure
- Cardiovascular problems
Contrave is also unsuitable for use alongside certain medications including:
- Other products that contain Bupropion
- Opiods or treatments designed to treat opiod addiction
People who drink a lot of alcohol can also have find Contrave a problematic drug because taking the drug alongside large quantities of alcohol can result in seizures. However people who are accustomed to drinking a lot of alcohol and then suddenly reduce the amount also face an increased risk of seizure while taking Contrave.
Some of the more common side effects Contrave users may experience include:
- Dry mouth
- Trouble sleeping
However, potential users need to be aware Contrave is capable of causing more frightening side effects, including suicidal thoughts and tendencies.