Contrave for Weight Loss: How it Helps to Lose Weight

Contrave for Weight Loss


A lot of obese and overweight Australians struggle to lose weight. And this makes an impact on the lives of numerous individuals and families.

If you are obese or overweight, it can usually accompany a disease like cardiovascular illnesses, diabetes and others. And your body size in itself can significantly reduce the quality of your life.

Being obese or overweight, your activity, passion and life become limited.

So you should actively find a way to improve your situation and become the best version of yourself.

And one of the first steps you should take is to eliminate your extra weight and keep it off.

The good news is that there are different medications that Australian doctors can prescribe to help you reduce.

They are:

  • Duromine (Phentermine)
  • Xenical (Orlistat)
  • Ozempic (Semaglutide)
  • Saxenda (Liraglutide)
  • Contrave (Naltrexone)

In this article, you’ll learn about Contrave and how you can use it to improve your life.


  • What Contrave is;
  • What its benefits are;
  • How it works;
  • What you should watch out for before using it;
  • And more.

Let’s dig in.

Table of Contents

Part 1 | What is Contrave

Part 2 | How Contrave Works

Part 3 | The Benefits of Contrave

Part 4 | How to Use Contrave

Part 5 | Precautions Before Using Contrave

Part 6 | Side Effects of Contrave

Part 7 | Contrave Cost

Part 8 | Where to Get Contrave

Part 1 | What is Contrave

Contrave is a branded oral prescription medication, generally known as a type of naltrexone. But it is specifically a fixed-dose combination drug with the generic name naltrexone/bupropion.

It is used to treat chronic obesity in adults. And the medicine is taken in conjunction with a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity.

Naltrexone is an opioid antagonist and bupropion is an aminoketone antidepressant.

Both of these medications have been studied to promote weight loss, and their combination has shown synergistic effects on achieving it.

Part 2 | How Contrave Works

Contrave is composed of naltrexone and bupropion. These compounds target different central nervous system pathways that regulate hunger and energy use.

Bupropion is a norepinephrine and dopamine reuptake inhibitor and releasing agent.

It is also a nicotinic acetylcholine receptor antagonist. So it activates proopiomelanocortin (POMC) neurons in the hypothalamus, which results in appetite loss and increased energy output. 

On the other hand, naltrexone is an opioid antagonist. This drug enhances bupropion's stimulation of the POMC.

The combination of these biochemical reactions results in you feeling less hungry, enabling you to crave food and eat less. At the same time, it stimulates you so you don’t feel weak or tired even with a reduced diet.

So with Contrave, you eat less, are able to exercise and effectively become healthier.


Part 3 | The Benefits of Contrave

Patients suffering from obesity who took Contrave coupled with diet and exercise lost 2-4 times more weight over a year than those who didn’t take the medication.

So the medicine can indeed make your weight loss efforts quicker and more effective. In fact, you can start seeing positive changes in as early as 4 weeks.

It also helps you to achieve more stable and sustainable results. But it all depends on how well you follow your doctor’s instructions about taking the medicine, reducing your diet and increasing your exercise.

Part 4 | How to Use Contrave

When taking Contrave, it is vital that you eat less and move more. And doing so shouldn’t be a challenge since the drug suppresses your hunger while still keeping you energetic.

The best way for you to maximise Contrave and ensure that it works wonders for you is to follow your doctor’s advice.

Generally, you will be instructed to take Contrave pills this way:

  • Begin with 1 morning pill daily in the first week.
  • Do 1 morning pill and 1 night pill daily in the 2nd week.
  • Increase to 2 morning pills and 1 night pill on the 3rd week.
  • Finally, increase to 2 pills twice a day by week 4.

Here’s a chart from the official Contrave website:

Contrave pills graph

Remember to:

  • Take CONTRAVE precisely as directed by your doctor.
  • Discontinue using it if you experience severe side effects or if 16 weeks have passed and you haven’t reached your particular weight loss goal. For either situation, call your doctor and get the right advice.
  • Swallow your pills and do not slice, chew or crush them. So inform your doctor if you are unable to swallow Contrave pills whole.
  • Take no more than two Contrave pills in the morning and two pills in the evening.
  • Take no more than two Contrave pills at the same time or more than four of them in a single day.
  • Not take Contrave along with high-fat meals. Doing so may raise your chances of having a seizure.
  • Take Contrave at your next scheduled time if you have missed a dose. Definitely don’t take more than one dose at a time.
  • Contact your doctor at once if you have taken more Contrave than prescribed.

Aside from these, there are more things you need to be careful to know and discuss with your doctor when considering Contrave. This way, you can ensure that the medication indeed is safe for you and works excellently for you.

Part 5 | Precautions Before Using Contrave

Who can use Contrave?

Contrave is approved for adults based on their body mass index (BMI) and weight-related medical conditions.

If your BMI is 27 to 29 and you have one or more weight-related medical conditions, Contrave might be for you. So for example, if your BMI is 28 and you have either high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes or a combination of the illnesses, you can be approved to use Contrave.

Contrave is also appropriate for you if your body mass index is 30 and above, whether you have a weight-related condition or not.

weight-related condition

Who can’t use Contrave?

Do not take this medication if you have:

  • Uncontrolled high blood pressure
  • Have or have had seizures
  • Use other bupropion-containing medications such as Zyban, Aplenzin and Wellbutrin, including Wellbutrin SR and Wellbutrin XL
  • Have or have had anorexia or bulimia
  • Are dependent on opioid pain medications
  • Use medicines to help stop taking opioids
  • Are in opiate withdrawal
  • Drink alcohol heavily and suddenly stop

Hence, it is vital that you tell your doctor of your complete medical history. 

Part 6 | Side Effects of Contrave

The most common adverse effects of the medication are:

  • Dry mouth
  • Diarrhoea
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty sleeping

Here are other more severe side effects:


When you use this medicine, you run the chance of having a seizure. 

But seizures are more likely in patients who:

  • Take greater doses of the drug, have certain medical problems, or
  • Combine it with certain other medications.

So it is vital that you do not take any other medications while using Contrave unless your doctor tells you it is acceptable.

If you suffer a seizure while using Contrave, stop your doses until you are able to consult with your doctor.

Opioid Overdose

Do not try to counteract the opioid-blocking effects of naltrexone by consuming excessive doses of opioids or medications that contain opioids such as heroin or prescription pain relievers.

This can result in severe injury, coma or even death.

Call medical emergency help ASAP if you:

  • Have difficulty breathing
  • Become tired due to delayed breathing
  • Have shallow, sluggish breathing
  • Feel faint, disoriented or bewildered, or exhibit strange symptoms

Opioid Withdrawal Syndrome

If you use Contrave, you must abstain from using any sort of opioids at least 7 to 10 days before beginning CONTRAVE.

If you use opioids in the 7 to 10 days before starting Contrave, you may experience symptoms of opioid withdrawal when you start taking the medication.

Sudden opiate withdrawal can be severe, necessitating hospitalisation. 

So before undergoing any medical procedure or surgery, inform your healthcare provider that you are taking Contrave.

Allergic Reactions

Watch any of the following adverse allergic reaction symptoms:

  • Difficulty of breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Itching
  • Rashes
  • Fever
  • Hives
  • Painful sores in the mouth or around the eyes
  • Inflamed lymph glands
  • Swollen lips or tongue

If you experience any of these, you have to stop your medication and reconsult with your doctor.

Increased Heart Rate and Blood Pressure

When taking Contrave, some people may experience elevated blood pressure or a faster heart rate. So before and during taking CONTRAVE, your healthcare professional should check both of them.

Liver Problems

Stop using Contrave and notify your doctor if you get any of the following liver-related symptoms:

  • Tired feeling
  • Dark urine
  • Stomach pain that lasts more than a few days
  • Yellowing of the whites of your eyes

If you develop signs of major liver disease, your healthcare professional may need to discontinue your treatment with Contrave.

Episodes of Mania

Bupropion can cause some persons who have previously been manic or depressed to experience these conditions again.

Eye or Vision Problems

When taking Contrave, you may experience:

  • Changes in vision
  • Eye pain
  • Redness or swelling in or around your eyes

Consult your healthcare practitioner to determine if you are at risk for angle-closure glaucoma and receive therapy to prevent it.

Increased Risk of Low Blood Sugar

If you have type 2 diabetes mellitus who additionally take diabetes medications like insulin or sulfonylureas, you might become more at risk of experiencing low blood sugar.

So you should monitor your blood sugar levels before and during treatment with Contrave.

Part 7 | Contrave Cost

In Australia, Contrave is only available via prescription and can cost up to $250 each month.

Overhead costs can include your regular visits to your doctor. You can get online assessments, online consultations and medicine delivery here.

Aside from that, you may have to pay for a gym membership and a diet coach if you choose to hire professional help in these aspects.

But all of these costs are worth it - no investment is more important than keeping your body and mind healthy.

Part 8 | Where to Get Contrave

You can only buy Contrave if you have a doctor’s prescription.

When you do, you can go to a pharmacy or find an online provider.

You can start by getting an assessment here.