Contrave is the latest weight loss drug approved by the US FDA in September, 2014. In middle of 2012, FDA approved the other two new weight loss medications on the market, Qsymia(Phentermine and Topiramate) and Belviq(Lorcaserin).
Review of Contrave for weight loss
Before we review how effective Contrave is for weight loss, let us look at what Contrave is made with as it is a combination of two existing medications – Bupropion and Neltrexone.
What is Bupropion used for?
Bupropion is an antidepressant and mood stabilizer used both for treatment of depression and smoking cessation with some weight loss properties on its own.
What is Naltrexone used for?
Naltrexone is used in patients trying to come of dependencies to opiates, alcohol and other addictive substances. The new weight loss medication, Contrave combines these two medications and finds a lot of synergy.
Who can take Contrave for weight loss?
Contrave is indicated for treatment of overweight and obese adults who have at least one other weight-related condition or illness.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one-third of adults in the United States are obese, and another third are overweight with a total of 69% of all adults in the United States being overweight or obese.
What are the Indications for Contrave?
Contrave is used in adults with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater (obesity) or adults with a BMI of 27 or greater (overweight) who have at least one weight-related condition such as high blood pressure (hypertension), type 2 diabetes, or high cholesterol (dyslipidemia).
What is Body Mass Index?
BMI or body mass index measures body fat based on an individual’s weight and height, is used to define the obesity and overweight categories.
Does Contrave work for weight loss?
In multiple trials involving 4,500 people. they found that 42 percent of people who took Contrave lost 5 percent of their body weight, compared to 17 percent who took a placebo. A second trial found 36 percent of people with type 2 diabetes who took Contrave lost 5 percent of their body weight, while only 18 percent of those on a placebo did.
How does Contrave compare to the other weight loss medications?
The most effective combination for losing weight is the combination of Phentermin and Topiramate (Qsymia) which showed about 9% weight loss and Contrave is the 2nd most effective with about 5% weight loss in studies. The other new weight loss medication – Belviq does about 3-4.5% weight loss on an average.
Precautions and warnings for Contrave
Although clinically not very significant, because Contrave contains buproprion, the label will include a boxed warning about the increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors associated with antidepressants. Contrave can also increase blood pressure, and should not be used in people with uncontrolled high blood pressure. It can also cause seizures, and should not be used by those with seizure disorders.
What are the side effects of Contrave?
- Trouble sleeping.
- Dry mouth.
How long should I try Contrave before knowing if it works for me for weight loss?
Who makes Contrave in the USA?
Contrave is manufactured by Orexigen. Contrave is distributed by Takeda Pharmaceuticals America Inc. of Deerfield, Illinois for Orexigen Therapeutics, Inc. of La Jolla, California.
What other things should one do while taking Contrave?
One should not forget low calorie diet and exercise, in addition to Contrave.
What are the contraindications for use of Contrave?
- Contrave can cause seizures and must not be used in patients who have seizure disorders. The risk of seizure is dose-related. Contrave should be discontinued and not restarted in patients who experience a seizure while being treated with Contrave.
- Contrave can also raise blood pressure and heart rate and must not be used in patients with uncontrolled high blood pressure.
- Other products containing bupropion should not be taken along with Contrave.
- The drug should not be used in patients who have eating disorders (bulimia or anorexia nervosa).
- Contrave should also not be taken by patients who are using opioids or treatments for opioid dependence, or who are experiencing acute opiate withdrawal.
- Patients undergoing an abrupt discontinuation of alcohol, benzodiazepines, barbiturates and antiepileptic drugs should not take Contrave. Women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant should not take Contrave.
The FDA is requiring the following post-marketing requirements:
- a cardiovascular outcomes trial to assess the cardiovascular risk associated with Contrave use;
- two efficacy, safety, and clinical pharmacology studies in pediatric patients (one in patients 12 to 17 years of age, and one in patients 7 to 11 years of age);
- a nonclinical (animal) juvenile toxicity study with a particular focus on growth and development as well as behavior, learning, and memory;
- a study to evaluate the effect of Contrave on cardiac conduction;
- clinical trials to evaluate dosing in patients with hepatic or renal impairment;
- a clinical trial to evaluate the potential for interactions between Contrave and other drugs.
How much does Contrave Cost?
Contrave is priced right – one of the cheapest new weight loss medications ever to be on the market – without insurance it costs about 75.00 per month for first two months and goes down to 65.00 after two months. With insurance, the cost varies from 0-55 dollars per month.
W8MD locations for physicians familiar with Contrave for weight loss in New York City and other places
King Of Prussia Weight Loss & Sleep Center: 987 Old Eagle School Rd, Ste 712, Wayne, PA, 19087 Ph: 215-676-2334
NYC Insurance Weight Loss & Sleep Center: 2003, Bath Avenue, Brooklyn, NY, 11214 Ph: 1-718-946-5500.
W8MD medical weight loss program at Vida Sleep Center of Dr. Felix Roque’s office at 543, 45th Street, Union City, New Jersey. 543 45th St, Union City, NJ 07087. Phone: (201) 766-6469. This center bills out of network for insurance.
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