Mechanism of action
Contrave consists of two drugs: naltrexone sustained release (SR) and bupropion SR. The mechanisms underlying how Contrave assists with weight loss are not entirely clear, however, the mechanism may be similar to other weight loss drugs. Studies suggest that Contrave involves pathways within the CNS, particularly regarding the hypothalamus. Via these pathways, Contrave can cause feelings of satiety, decrease one’s food intake, and increase one’s energy expenditure6.
Contrave can cause headaches, dizziness, depression, anxiety, and impaired sleep. In terms of GI side effects, nausea is very common, but it can also cause constipation, diarrhea, vomiting, and dry mouth. Because Contrave contains bupropion, it also carries the risk of causing suicidal thoughts2.