This review is what happened after I obsessed for weeks over Contrave. We decided to take an in-depth look at the prescription diet pill, side effects, ease of acquiring and clinical research. Additionally, we examined hundreds of dieter comments and testimonials. Then, we summarized and refined to give you the info you need.
What is Contrave?
To start, Contrave is a prescription weight-loss medication for individuals who have a BMI of 30 or greater or a BMI of 27 or greater with medical condition related to their weight. It’s designed to fight your appetite and to ultimately help you lose weight.
The ingredients are:
- Bupropion Hydrochloride
- Naltrexone Hydrochloride
Contrave claims to help dieters with both weight loss and weight management.
I’ll put it this way:
If you have a tendency to rapidly gain weight, Contrave can help you keep it off. Or, if you’ve been trying to lose weight the old-fashioned way or with other weight-loss drugs to no avail, then Contrave may be the next step to try and find results.
Note: Contrave doesn’t treat medical problems, like Type-2 Diabetes , but dropping some weight may improve the condition. Studies show that there is an inextricable relationship between genes, weight and diabetes – among some other medical conditions.
To better understand this supplement, let’s grab a closer look at the two main ingredients.
Bupropion Hydrochloride: Bupropion is also marketed as Wellbutrin and Zyban, among a few other names. It’s oftenprescribed as an antidepressant, but when used in conjunction with other drugs its effects are different. For example, it can be used to help you stop smoking and to prevent the effects of withdrawal.
Pretty impressive stuff, but does it help kick aside food cravings?
This ingredient is meant to restore any chemical imbalances in the brain, and to keep users from overeating. The Annals of Internal Medicine published an up-to-date meta-analyses showing that over a period of 6-12 weeks, patients may experience weight loss of 2.7 kg over placebo.
While this may seem like good news, it’s worth mentioning that the effects of this drug on weight loss were similar to that of other drugs, like orlistat and sibutramine.
Naltrexone Hydrochloride: Naltrexone is classified as an “opiate antagonist.” That means it stops the activity of opiodes, and ultimately decreases the desire for opiates and alcohol. It’s marketed under trade names Revia and Vivitrol.
Naltrexone works together with bupropion on different parts of the user’s brain to decrease their desire for food, much like some other appetite suppressants.
In fact, check this out:
Research from Pharmacy & Therapeutics concluded with, “Contrave may serve as a valuable treatment adjunct to lifestyle modifications by promoting satiety, reducing feeding, enhancing energy expenditure, and ultimately helping patients achieve weight loss goals.”
In trials, nearly 50% of patients following the Contrave diet lost at least 5% of their body weight. So, if a patient weighs 300 lbs. (136 kg), 5% of that weight is 15 lbs. (6.8 kg).
On its own, that doesn’t sound like a lot, but compared to the placebo group, only about 20% of participants lost that amount of weight.
It’s stressed that if you have any pre-existing health conditions or are taking any medication to talk with your doctor before taking Contrave. This includes:
- Any mental illness, including depression
- Suicidal thoughts or actions
- A head injury
- Diabetes or low blood sugar
- Liver or kidney disease
- High blood pressure or heart disease
- Drug or alcohol addiction
You should not take Contrave while pregnant or breastfeeding.
So far I like the research, just not the disclaimers and warnings…
Contrave dosing usually starts small and increases over time at your doctor’s discretion. This is to lower the risk of seizures and other medical complications and side effects. Your dosage depends on several factors, including:
- Medical conditions at the start of the treatment
- The users response to the treatment
- Other medications you may be taking
When you first start out taking Contrave, the doctor might prescribe just one pill to be taken in the morning, in order to acclimate your body to the new drug. Usually around the 2nd or 3rd week you can start taking two pills: one in the morning and one in the evening – until you can handle taking four pills a day.
You should never change your Contrave dosing on your own. Do not stop, start, increase, or decrease the amount of Contrave you are taking without first consulting your doctor.
This is also extremely important – and only adds to my concern.
Contrave Drug Interactions
Alright, now is a good time to talk a bit about drug interactions. We’ll get into the potential side effects in a minute, but a weight-loss medication like this has a bevy of warnings and, of course, potential interactions.
So here we go.
When following the Contrave diet, you should watch out for medications that may react negatively to the drug. Your doctor should be able to fill you in on what you can and cannot take with Contrave.
There are several prescription and over-the-counter drugs that may affect or interfere with Contrave in the body, as well as change how effective Contrave and the other drug(s) are in the long run.
Some of these products include:
- Narcotics such as codeine
- Cough medicines
- Diarrhea medications
- MAO inhibitors
This last bit is very important. Because both MAOIs and Contrave affect a number of chemicals in the brain in different and overlapping ways, this can lead to a serious or even fatal reaction. Taking both MAOIs and Contrave could be likened to starting a war—in the end, one of them is going to launch an atomic bomb in your brain.
I know, I know – yuck.
The warnings for Contrave drug interactions also extend to other substances, such as recreational drugs (i.e., marijuana) and / or alcohol. If you take Contrave and alcohol, you increase your risk of seizures. The same is true if you drink alcohol regularly and suddenly stop in order to take Contrave.
You should talk with your doctor about changing the amount you drink before starting a Contrave regimen.
Contrave Side Effects
As if the incredible list of interactions and warning weren’t enough – let’s talk about the known side effects of Contrave. Contrave’s insert warns of potential side effects like manic episodes, visual problems and seizures.
It’s worth pointing out: Contrave side effects aren’t guaranteed, but still worth considering. They include:
- Dry mouth
If you experience an allergic reaction to Contrave, stop taking it immediately and contact your doctor. You could be allergic to either bupropion or naltrexone, or both.
I know, this all seems like a bit much – but it’s definitely something to be expected from a prescription weight-loss drug. I read similar warnings for Belviq.
Finally, we can get to some good news. I hope.
Contrave offers a pretty sizable list of benefits, which include:
- Weight loss
- Weight management
- More energy
- Better overall health
- Underlying conditions easier to detect and treat
As mentioned in the list, Contrave gives you energy. Because the drug affects your central nervous system, it makes you feel restless, which could make you want to move around and keep busy. This condition contributes to the insomnia side effect – often helped by activity or exercise.
Contrave gives you energy so that you will be able to burn more calories, reducing your weight and cravings for food.
Not too bad.
For many people looking into life-improving products, cost is an important factor in determining which supplement to go with. The Contrave price depends on the number of pills you are taking. As time goes on, your doctor should slowly increase the amount of Contrave, so you’ll have to pay more.
Check this out:
The overall Contrave cost ranges from $55 per month to $200 per month. It all depends on the amount, location (due to shipping costs), and insurance coverage you have.
The Bottom Line – Is Contrave Worth It?
So here we are again. Staring into the face of a potential weight-loss solution and trying to figure out whether it’s even worth the money, time, or side effects. One thing I liked: The ingredients are well-researched and shown to be effective – although not by much.
I just couldn’t get behind a few things:
- The list of warning and possible interactions are just frightening
- It can become very expensive
- Possible side effects are a bit too much for me
If you want to burn fat, slim down and increase your energy levels, there are just better ways to do it – and better supplements out there to help you get there. Find a product with clinically-tested ingredients and no talk of negative side effects.
Sound easy enough?
One of the best supplements out there is called BurnHD. It’s a proprietary blend of four key ingredients, shown in published scientific studies to boost metabolism, increase energy and burn fat. I love the fact that there are so many positive reviews on line from satisfied customers getting the results they want.
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