Side-effects tip scale against weight-loss drug
Posted May 2
Updated May 3
There are plenty of challenges when it comes to losing weight.
Controlling cravings and suppressing hunger are two of the top concerns.
Consumer Reports recently looked into a popular prescription weight-loss drug that claims to help overweight or obese people with both issues.
The drug, Contrave, is a combination of two older drugs, the antidepressant Bupropion and the addiction-treatment drug Naltrexone.
The drug is approved for those who have a BMI of 28 or higher and who also suffer from another serious condition, such as heart disease, hypertension or Type 2 diabetes.
According to commercials for the drug, studies say patients who paired Contrave with diet and exercise lost approximately two to four times more weight than those who just relied on diet and exercise.
Consumer Reports took its own look at three clinical trials the U.S. Food and Drug Administration used to approve for the drug.
They found that the drug works, but the amount of additional weight lost is small, and Contrave could pose other serious health risks.
“Contrave can cause anxiety, insomnia and headaches, but also serious health problems such as liver damage, seizures, increased blood pressure and possible heart risks," Consumer Reports' Ginger Skinner said.
Consumer Reports says people who took the drug for as many as 56 weeks lost an average of five to nine pounds more than those who took a placebo drug.
“We believe most people should skip it. The small amount of weight loss is not worth the risk of the possible side-effects," Skinner said.
Instead, Consumer Reports says people should stick with reliable weight loss methods – eat less and exercise more.
Consumer Reports says people who have exhausted those options without success should ask their doctor about intensive behavioral weight loss programs.
Some have at least 12 sessions per year and include multiple strategies to help you switch to a healthier diet and increase physical activity.