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February 9, 2015

Contrave and Weight Loss Drugs

weight loss drugsThe New Weight Loss Drugs

Obesity is an epidemic with more than 30% of adults wearing that moniker. A new weight loss drug hit the market called Contrave in September of 2014 and joins weight loss drugs Belviq and Qysmia which were approved for weight loss in 2012 in response to this growing problem.

Along with obesity comes a host of secondary medical problems – high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and arthritis. We are generally open to anything that might help weight loss therefore, but believe the focus should be on healthier nutrition, physical activity, and hormonal balance. Plus, we are not much of PPPs or pill pushing physicians, though there might be a small role for weight loss drugs for some individuals – but we do not see these drugs as being the answer.

Contrave is FDA approved for adults adults with a BMI above 30, or BMI above 27 in the presence of either high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or abnormal cholesterol.

Contrave is a combination of two medications; naltrexone and buproprion. Bupropion you may have heard of as it is marketed as an antidepressant under the name of Wellbutrin, and as a smoking cessation drug under the name of Zyban. But, what about naltrexone? Naltrexone is used to treat opioid addiction and alcohol dependence.

Both naltrexone and buproprion work on cravings – in different ways – and one key to weight is controlling cravings.

How Effective is Contrave?

The average weight loss after 56 weeks of use is between 5% to 8% with about 50% of the patients losing more 5% or more during that 56 weeks. Diabetics lose 2% to 4% more weight than those taking a placebo. We will let you decide if that’s effective. The average monthly cost for Contrave is estimated to be $50 if a patient has an insurance card discount, otherwise the cost is $180 to #210 a month.

In one study those who took Contrave combined with a weight management program lost 25 pounds over 6 months while those receving a placebo plus a weight management program lost 17 pounds. So the group receiving lost an additional 8 pounds over 6 months at an estimated cost of $300 (discounted price) for the 6 months or $37.50 per pound lost. It seems that eating $37.50 less worth the food each month might lead to better than a pound of weight loss.

Contraindicatons for Contrave

Those with seizure disordera and pregnant women should not take Contrave.

Contrave, Belviq, and Qysmia all work on controlling cravings. But, you still have to watch what you eat and results with any of these drugs are likely to be better with any of these weight loss drugs when coupled with an exercise program and low glycemic nutrition program.

 

 

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Dr. Joe Jacko


Dr. Joe is board certified in internal medicine and sports medicine with additional training in hormone replacement therapy and regenerative medicine. He has trained or practiced at leading institutions including the Hughston Clinic, Cooper Clinic, Steadman-Hawkins Clinic of the Carolinas, and Cenegenics. He currently practices in Columbus, Ohio. Read more about Dr. Joe Jacko

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