Contrave: An Upcoming Diet DrugPosted: Jul 15 in Weight Loss Medication by Dr. Lazarus
Contrave, otherwise known as NB32, is finally getting the opportunity to help individuals lose weight in the United States. The diet drug was rejected by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) when it was first introduced in 2011 due to lack of solid data about heart risk. However, it is getting a second chance, as it successfully went through a preliminary stage in June 2014, and is expected to gain final approval in September 2014.
Contrave is a combination of commonly prescribed drugs Wellbutrin (bupropion hydrochloride) and naltrexone. Wellbutrin, a frequently used antidepressant has a side effect of decreased appetite. When combined with the addiction medication naltrexone the appetite suppression quality of Wellbutrin is intensified.
Ethan Lazarus, M.D., medical director of the Clinical Nutrition Center in Denver, said that this combination was chosen because both Wellbutrin and naltrexone are used often for fighting addiction, curbing cravings, and has an off-label use of helping people to lose weight. In fact, many people who take Wellbutrin for depression end up losing weight as a result, even though that result was not originally intended. When these two drugs are combined, it makes for a very powerful and unique weight loss medicine.
Obesity rates in the United States have increased significantly in recent years, causing a greater need for effective obesity medicines. While these drugs are not meant to replace a healthy diet and exercise regimen, they help people curb their cravings, increase their metabolism and boost their energy levels while they make changes to the behaviors that led to their struggle with weight in the first place.
In 2012, two new obesity drugs were approved by the FDA, Belviq and Qsymia, which were the first new obesity drugs in 13 years. However, the acceptance of these two drugs has been slow, and the makers of Contrave hope they have more success.
Marketing the Benefits of Contrave
There are a few reasons why Contrave might just be the next best diet drug on the market. The first is, of course, learning from other previously marketed diet drugs, particularly the ones that had lackluster sales, like Belviq and Qsymia.
In addition, Contrave has a partnership with Takeda Pharmaceuticals to help with its marketing efforts. Takeda has extensive experience in promoting medications to the diabetic community who may well benefit from Contrave. Because Contrave is not a controlled substance like Belviq and Qsymia, doctors will be allowed to provide samples to patients straight from their office.
Perhaps most important, Contrave was finally accepted by the FDA because of improved safety data, which revealed very few side effects. The primary side effects include mood alterations and risks for those with liver, kidney or cardiovascular disease, all which are not uncommon among diet drugs in the U.S.
In the end, Contrave provides enough weight loss to significantly improve many obesity related diseases and in combination with a medical weight loss program it is expected to help many people gain control of their weight. Obesity medicine specialist believe it looks very promising for the future of obesity medicine.