Could a new weight loss drug change the way we lose weight?
Contrave, the latest “hopeful” in a long line of diet drugs that promise to help you lose weight, appears to have some potential. It’s actually a combination of two drugs already available for other treatments: Wellbutrin, an antidepressant; and the anti-addiction drug naltrexone.
Contrave doesn’t work by wreaking havoc on your belly – in the spirit of successful drugs like Phentermine, Contrave manipulates your nervous system via the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is the brain’s central control system for appetite, metabolism and temperature.
It’s a well known fact among doctors that Wellbutrin causes people to lose weight. But after a few weeks of using Wellbutrin, the weight loss effect wears off and you’re back to square one. Contrave may bypass this hurdle with naltrexone.
Dennis Kim, MD, MBA, Orexigen’s senior vice president for medical affairs says, “Naltrexone comes in and lifts the brake on the Wellbutrin effect, so you have a synergistic effect to signal the hypothalamus to reduce food intake. Weight decrease is maintained over time.”
Does Contrave Work?
Contrave was tested in a clinical trial including nearly 700 obese people. 90% of the patients were women weighing an average of 223lbs. All patients also used an intensive diet and exercise program along with counseling. Seventy percent of the patients also took Contrave.
About 40 percent of the patients left the program before it ended. If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen, I guess…Maybe Gordon Ramsey was their weight loss counselor.
Results of Contrave
After 56 weeks, users had lost between 11 and 16 pounds. Even more exciting to know is that 11 percent of the patients who finished the study lost more than 15% of their body weight.
Contrave Side Effects
The most common side effect was moderate nausea, accompanied by mild headaches and sometimes constipation. All side effects often diminished after the first 8 weeks.
Thankfully, Contrave did not cause any worsening of depression. Surprisingly, Contrave users sold doctors that they had an improved quality of life.
The Future Of Contrave
We all know that anyone will lose weight when taking a weight loss drug in combination with an intense, state of the art diet and exercise program. More clinical studies are investigating Contrave’s effectiveness when used alone.
Dennis Kim, MD, MBA says, “We don’t expect and intensive diet and exercise program to be needed in order for Contrave to work well.”