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Bupropion & Naltrexone for Weight Loss: A Contrave Alternative?

Bupropion & Naltrexone for Weight Loss: A Contrave Alternative?
Dr. Constance Odom, MD Picture of Dr. Constance Odom, MD

Medically reviewed by

Written by our editorial team.

Last Edited 7 min read

Millions of people all over the world struggle with obesity. Diets are hard. They require dedication, willpower, and above all, a healthy diet. But what happens when diets do not work for you? Many people turn to Bupropion and Naltrexone, instead of Contrave, to shed pounds.

There are many reasons to take the brand names of drugs, but there are cases where people simply cant afford brand name prescription drugs. Contrave is the brand name version of Bupropion and Naltrexone. Many people turn to the generic version of this drug as a viable solution for weight loss. 

While Bupropion and Naltrexone are the generic version of Contrave, there are some distinct differences between the two. Naltrexone belongs to a class of drugs called opiate antagonists, while Bupropion and Naltrexone belong to a class of drugs called antidepressants.

Bupropion and Naltrexone

According to Medline Plus, Bupropion and Naltrexone are both composed of the active ingredient found in drugs like Aplenzin and Wellbutrin. This active ingredient is bupropion hydrochloride. Zyban, a medication designed to help you quit smoking, also contains this active ingredient. Experts do not know why these two medications work to help you lose weight. However, they have been proven effective.

According to experts, Bupropion and Naltrexone must be paired with exercise and a healthy diet to be effective. Bupropion and Naltrexone come with a number of serious side effects. These include seizures, suicidal thoughts or actions, and unusual behavioral changes.

Contrave and its generic are available by prescription only, and the generic version of Contrave is not available at a lower cost, like many other prescription medications. That is one downfall about the drug's generic version. Brand name drugs are typically more expensive than generic versions of drugs, so in a sense, you can get one or the other with no distinct difference in cost or ingredients.

Are there benefits to taking Bupropion and Naltrexone, instead of Contrave?

Bupropion and Naltrexone help you not only lose weight, but also to keep it off. This medication is especially beneficial for people who are morbidly obese or have medical problems that are related to obesity. Overall, Bupropion and Naltrexone provide the most benefits.

If you are trying to decide if you should take Bupropion and Naltrexone or Contrave, you should speak with your doctor. Discuss the risks of taking this medication and any negative outcomes that can result from taking it.

If you are considering taking this drug, you should take several factors into consideration. Your doctor may ask if you have any allergies to medications. He or she will likely ask you if you have allergies to foods, animals, or non-prescription medications. For substances that are not available by a prescription, it is important to check the label for their ingredients.

Studies have not focused on this drug's effect on children. Experts are not sure if this drug is effective and safe for children. Studies in geriatric patients have found no problems that may make this drug unsafe or ineffective in the elderly population.

However, elderly patients may be more vulnerable to kidney problems caused by age, so adjustments to your dosage may be necessary.

A study conducted in 2017 reviewed the efficacy and safety of Naltrexone and Bupropion as a prescription weight loss treatment. But what are the differences between Contrave and its generic version? According to experts, Contrave can cause stomach pain, dizziness, headache, constipation, nausea, and vomiting. It can also cause flushing, sweating, a strange taste in the mouth, and dry mouth.

Bupropion and Naltrexone have been found to cause anxiety, sleep problems, headaches, nausea, and vomiting. Additional side effects include abdominal cramps and pain and joint and muscle pain.

It is important to take these side effects into consideration when trying to decide if you should take Contrave or its generic version. In this respect, there is no difference between the brand name and generic version of this drug. Because of this, some people may be more likely to choose the name brand over its generic.

Side effects are the same with both Bupropion, Naltrexone, and Contrave

Both Bupropion/Naltrexone and Contrave work by suppressing appetite. However, there may be cases where the generic is more appealing. Patients who take Bupropion and Naltrexone often stay on Naltrexone for a long period of time. Contrave is sometimes used to treat depression. It may be wise to take the generic version, instead of Contrave.

With Contrave, there is the added danger of death. One study on Contrave reported a death that resulted from taking the medication. Therefore, taking Contrave comes with a certain degree of risk.

Those with mental health conditions, such as bipolar disorder, have a higher risk of developing problems. Manic episodes, hypomanic, and mixed episodes have the ability to come on quickly, often resulting in unexpected problems.

Ãà The results of Contrave are not always predictable. According to experts, sometimes Contrave doesn't deliver the results it promises. Some people don't see a decline in appetite for a long time after starting Contrave. It could take as long as three months to see a decline in appetite. In addition, it can also take this long to see a weight loss of five percent.

In this case, you need to ask yourself if you have the patience to wait that long to lose weight. According to Form Health, you may not get the results you desire when you start at a low dose. To see your desired results, you may need to wait until you are taking a higher dose of the medication.

If you do not see a decrease in weight after three months of taking Contrave, speak with your doctor to discuss alternatives. People respond differently to medications, and this one may not work for you. Always have a backup plan, and work with your doctor to find the right alternative. However, the only way to see if a medication works is to try it out for yourself.

However, Bupropion and Naltrexone come with some unexpected effects. Naltrexone has the potential to lower cravings for alcohol, lower the reward you experience when drinking alcohol, and reduce the desire to drink more alcohol. 

According to experts, obesity is a growing problem in the United States and beyond. That is why so many people are turning to this medication for help. People who are obese typically have a body mass index (BMI) that is 30 and above. Individuals who are overweight typically have a BMI between 25 and 29.9. 

But what exactly is BMI?

BMI measures a person's weight against his or her height. In its simplest sense, BMI measures an individual's body fat, determining whether body fat is within a healthy range. Because BMI measures body fat, your BMI goes up when body fat increases 

A BMI under 18.5 indicates that one is underweight, a relatively scant problem, considering the prevalence of obesity.

Of course, this begs the question: Is it better to take Bupropion and Naltrexone, instead of Contrave? Even though there are few differences between Bupropion and Naltrexone and Contrave, Bupropion and Naltrexone appear to have benefits not offered by their brand name counterparts. Neither comes at a low cost.

But since the generic helps curb cravings for alcohol and provides other benefits, it may be the better option. According to experts, you should take this medication twice per day by mouth. You should not chew, crush, or cut tablets. You should also not take more than 360 milligrams per day.

In clinical trials, this medication was dispensed with meals. Many who take Naltrexone and Bupropion find significant success. However, it is also important to be aware of problems you may encounter when taking Bupropion and Naltrexone.

According to experts, Naltrexone and Bupropion may make you less alert than you are normally. If you become drowsy or dizzy, do not operate machinery, drive, or engage in other activities that require full alertness. There may be cases where you can't avoid it, and you have to drive. However, if you experience these symptoms, it is best to limit your activity for a bit.

According to the Mayo Clinic, you should visit your doctor regularly, so he or she can keep an eye on your progress. In some cases, your doctor may ask you to get bloodwork to determine if the drug is providing unwanted effects.

Naltrexone may cause you to develop a sensitivity to lower dose opioids you have taken in the past. Experts stress that Bupropion and Naltrexone are only parts of your weight loss solution. It is important to follow your doctor's instructions and visit other specialists your doctor requests you to see. Make your doctor aware if you develop thoughts of suicide or feel depressed.

While this medication is effective in facilitating weight loss, there are some things you should not do. According to experts, you should not use narcotics. This can lead to death or coma. Naltrexone shuts down the effects of narcotics, so be sure to use medications for the treatment of cough, diarrhea, or pain.

Your doctor will be able to tell you what other medicines you can take to treat minor ailments and illnesses. While Bupropion and Naltrexone have positive effects on alcohol consumption and the desire to drink, those who take it can still become inebriated.

Taking Bupropion and Naltrexone instead of Contrave ensures that you remain safe and in good health.

13 Sources

Nu Image Medical has strict sourcing guidelines to ensure our content is accurate and current. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references.

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This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your physician about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Nu Image Medical may not offer the medications or services mentioned in this article.