Contrave Weight Loss Medication Review: Safety, Side Effects and More

Contrave was approved by the FDA in 2014 to help treat obesity or serious weight conditions, and is used by many doctors and online weight loss programs.

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Finding supportive weight loss assistance can be a real challenge. There are times when exercise and diet just don’t cut it. You may have tried working with a trainer, attempted a fad diet or even contemplated weight loss surgery. Turning to some of the weight loss medications that are available can provide you with access to a product that can help you achieve your weight loss goals without having to resort to drastic measures. In this article we’re going to be talking about Contrave.

Quick Summary of Contrave Prescription Weight Loss Medication

Prescription only:Yes
Requirements:Adults with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or higher, or 27 or greater + you have at least 1 weight-related medical condition (such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol)
Type of medication:Tablets
Offered online:Yes, some
Efficacy and Safety:Clinical trials including 2,322 patients and three 56-week studies
Seek medical advice:Yes, always seek medical advice before purchasing medication or supplements.
summary information contrave

What Is Contrave Weight Loss Medication?

contrave RX medication for weight loss

Contrave understands that losing weight can seem like an impossible task sometimes. There are many different medications that can help you throughout this process, but many don’t work as well as you would like. Contrave is actually two drugs in one. It consists of naltrexone and bupropion. Bupropion is an antidepressant that can target the reward portions of your brain, while naltrexone suppresses hunger and cravings. Naltrexone is actually very effective when used for drug and alcohol addicts who are trying to control their desire for substances.

Who’s Eligible for Contrave?

eligible for contrave

You are eligible to take Contrave if you have a body mass index of 30 or higher. You are also eligible if you have a body mass index of 27 or higher and also have a weight-related health condition such as heart disease or diabetes.

Is It Approved by the FDA?

Yes, Contrave was approved by the FDA back in 2014 for use in obese adults or serious weight conditions.


  • Balances thyroid function in the body and reduces insulin resistance
  • Boosts your metabolism
  • Helps address psychological relationships with food that can lead to overeating and binging
  • Time-release dose that helps provide you with long lasting support throughout your weight loss journey
  • Not an injected drug, like a lot of other weight loss medications


  • Cannot be used if you’re taking other antidepressant medications
  • You cannot use Contrave if you are using opioid pain medications

Claimed Benefits

contrave benefits

Contrave makes some pretty impressive claims about their product. For instance, the brand states that you can lose two to four times more weight over the course of one year by adding Contrave to your routine. This is not a controlled substance or stimulant, and it has been very safely used in the weight loss community.

Contrave has been formulated based on how the brain responds to food. Rather than just attempting to boost your metabolism so your body burns fat faster, Contrave can help you control the messages that you’re getting from your brain, telling you to indulge in unhealthy foods or to overeat. According to Contrave, nine out of ten people have trouble achieving their weight loss goals because of issues they have with cravings. Cravings are very different from hunger, which is your body simply telling you that it needs to eat.

While it’s not quite clear the effects that bupropion HCl and naltrexone HCl have on the brain (specifically the hypothalamus), we do know that Contrave can help reduce your cravings, how hungry you are and help you keep weight off.

Safety and Side Effects

contrave safety side effects

Because Contrave contains an antidepressant as one of its main components, you should watch out for any signs of increased depression or suicidal thoughts. If you have been diagnosed with a mental health issue, you should use extreme caution when starting Contrave. Make sure that the people who are close to you know that you are starting this weight loss medication so they can keep an eye out for any unusual behavior. If you experience prolonged feelings of sadness, anxiety, aggression, irritability or hopelessness, contact your doctor immediately.

You should not take Contrave if you have issues with blood pressure or seizures. It should not be taken with medications that also contain bupropion such as WELLBUTRIN, WELLBUTRIN SR, WELLBUTRIN XL, APLENZIN and ZYBAN. If you are taking opioid medication or have a history of addiction to opioids, you should not take Contrave.

Always seek medical advice before taking any medication or supplement.

How Long to See Weight Loss Results on Contrave?

results timeline with contrave

Most people who see results with the regular use of Contrave will notice changes after about four months of use. If you haven’t seen a weight loss of five percent of your total body weight at this point in time, you should talk to your doctor about making other changes to your weight loss regimen. There may be other strategies, medications or doses that will provide more results.

How Much Weight Can You Lose With Contrave?

Results will vary based on the dose of Contrave you’re taking, your diet, physical activity level and overall health. On average, most people will lose somewhere between five and ten percent of their body weight while taking Contrave. You may see a quick drop of a few pounds when you are a couple of weeks into your Contrave routine, however weight loss will be consistent over time. Many people stay on Contrave for one year or longer to achieve their weight loss goals.

Does It Help With Belly Fat?

While Contrave doesn’t directly affect your stomach, it targets the brain in a way that can help you drop belly fat. Belly fat is often an issue that comes up as you age. The body’s metabolism slows down dramatically as you enter your 40s, 50s and beyond. Because of this, you’ll notice an increase in body fat in areas like your belly, hips and bottom. A proper diet, exercise and medication plan can help you keep belly fat at bay.

Real Contrave Weight Loss Reviews and Success Stories

Contrave has an overall rating of 4.2 stars out of five stars. Positive results were experienced by about 75 percent of the people on the site that tried Contrave. People found that they were better able to control their cravings with long term use of the product, which resulted in easier weight loss overall when compared to diet and exercise alone. Most people didn’t experience any negative side effects. Rather, increased energy, increased satiety and weight loss were positive outcomes.

reviews and weight loss results contrave

Alternatives Compared to Contrave

There are many different types of weight loss medication available online and through a medical professional. Many of these medications are part of a larger program that provides you with access to a personal coach, medical professional, support team, etc.

Liraglutide (Saxenda)

Liraglutide is the generic form of Saxenda, and it was originally created to treat type 2 diabetes. This medication is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist that slows down the production of glucagon in the body while also increasing your release of insulin. The purpose of this medication is to increase the amount of time it takes for your stomach to empty. You’ll feel full for a longer period of time once you’ve eaten. Diet and exercise are important components of this weight loss medication regimen.

Semaglutide (Wegovy)

Semaglutide is another weight loss medication that was originally intended for the treatment of type 2 diabetes as it increases insulin production. It was recently approved for use in obese patients. This is an injected medication that requires the patient to have a body mass index of 30, or 27 if you are also dealing with a weight-related health issue. Semaglutide is included in a number of weight loss medications, including Ozempic, Rybelsus and Wegovy.


Metformin was not originally created for weight loss, but it can be used as a treatment for excess body weight. It works in the body to control blood sugar levels and maximize use of glucose in the body. For maximum benefits, it’s supposed to be used for at least one to two years. It’s affordable and very accessible.

Rx Weight Loss Programs That Offer FDA-Approved Medications Like Contrave

When you’re putting weight loss medication into your body on a regular basis for a longer amount of time, you want to make sure that the product you’re choosing is safe. Finding an FDA-approved weight loss medication like Contrave is optimal. Here are some of your other options.

My Diet Doc

My Diet Doc is a weight loss program that addresses bodily changes that affect how you gain and lose weight as you age. You work with medical staff from the company to determine what medications and lifestyle changes will help take your weight loss routine to the next level. Various medications are available.


This virtual weight loss program uses coaching, medication, goal setting and diet as the primary form of dropping pounds. Calibrate also addresses your sleep patterns, psychological relationship with food and existing health issues to figure out what your body needs to remain at a healthy weight.


Found is a three-tiered approach to weight loss that provides you with access to medication, a personal coach and a community that offers support and accountability. Learn more about Found.

Fella Health

Created for men, by men, Fella Health weight loss focuses on biology of the man’s body, weight loss medication and psychology to promote weight loss in obese patients. You are paired with a specialty obesity doctor that will help guide you through the process of losing weight more efficiently and effectively.

Form Health

Form Health is a telemedicine company that focuses on weight loss in obese patients. They help you identify any biological blockers that are keeping you from losing weight and keeping it off.


Alfie is another weight loss company that focuses on obese men. They provide access to weight loss medication, one-on-one coaching and community support / competition.

The Bottom Line: Is it worth it?

bottom line contrave

If you’ve been down on yourself because of challenges with your weight loss journey, it’s time to choose something different. Diet and exercise are a great way to drop some pounds, but this isn’t always enough for some people. There are other factors to take into consideration that can be slowing down your weight loss. There is often a psychological approach to weight loss that many professionals fail to address. Metabolic and hormonal imbalances can also affect weight loss. When these issues are present, you may want to strongly consider the use of weight loss medication. These medications are often very safe and effective, and many people have seen great results. You’ll work with a medical professional online or your own doctor to ensure the entire process is safe.

Tips for Success from the RD

If you’re interested in consistently losing weight on a regular basis so you look and feel better, I have some tips that can help you on your journey. Keep in mind, it’s not always going to be easy. There will inevitably be some setbacks as well. Do your best to stay on track, and you’ll eventually see the results that you’re looking for.

Keep Up With Exercise

Working out is such an important part of weight loss. Not only does exercise help to burn fat, but it also has a lot of other benefits that affect how easily you lose weight. When you maintain an exercise routine you’ll find that your appetite is decreased. That’s because your metabolism is better controlled with regular physical activity. You’ll also experience fewer cravings thanks to the mental benefits that exercise provides.

Focus on Protein

Protein consumption is a very important part of a weight loss routine. It provides you with energy so you can stay physically active. It also helps to keep you feeling full for longer periods of time. Make sure that you’re working adequate protein into your meals each day.

Stop Eating after 6:00 P.M.

The majority of your meals should be consumed early in the day. By the time the clock hits 6:00 in the evening, you should be sticking to water for the rest of the day. This will prevent fat from forming in the body overnight while you sleep and aren’t as active. It also keeps your metabolism from slowing down too much.

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Courtney D'Angelo, MS, RD

Courtney D'Angelo, MS, RD, earned her masters degree in Nutrition and Foods from the University of Georgia. She's a Registered Dietitian at Morrison Healthcare and has a strong passion in helping people improve their wellness!

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