Recently the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has taken the decision to approve a diet pill called Contrave, only the third since 2012 (after Qsymia and Belviq).
While weight loss is obviously going to be its main benefit with one-third of adults in the USA considered obese, this is not it’s only claimed benefit.
It is also claimed to help people with issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Jean-Marc Guettier, director of the Division of Metabolism and Endocrinology Products in FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research had this to say about their decision to approve Contrave:
“Obesity continues to be a major public health concern.”
“When used as directed in combination with a healthy lifestyle that includes a reduced-calorie diet and exercise, Contrave provides another treatment option for chronic weight management for people who are obese or are overweight and have at least one weight-related health condition.”
What is Contrave made from?
Contrave is made from 2 drugs that have already been approved by the FDA; naltrexone and bupropion.
Naltrexone is used for treating those dependent on alcohol and opiods, while bupropion has a history for treating depression and SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).
Is Contrave scientifically proven?
After initially being turned down for approval back in 2011 due to concerns by the FDA that using Contrave causes raised blood pressure and heart rates the company behind this diet pill conducted their own clinical study.
This study looked at the results of 9000 people, with the results showing that Contrave did not raise the risk of heart attack.
Potential side effects of Contrave
While Contrave was shown not to cause an increase in the risk of heart attack this is not to say that it is not completely without risk.
During the clinical study around 5% of users encountered side effects.
These included nausea, constipation, headache, vomiting, dizziness, insomnia, dry mouth and diarrhoea. The biggest potential side effect however is listed on the bottle itself, which is a caution that Contrave may cause suicidal thoughts.
While it is promising to see the FDA approving diet pills such as Contrave, its potential side effects may be off-putting to some.
Contrave approved as Mysimba in Europe
Recently European regulators have approved Orexigen Therapeutics’ weight loss pill Mysimba (naltrexone/bupropion) to be used alongside a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity.
Patients who are prescribed Mysimba will be monitored for 16 weeks for side effects and if weight loss of 5% of their body weight has not been achieved during this time the prescription will end.