Can This New Drug Really Help You Get Skinny?

A panel approves Contrave-and hopes for the best.
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Can This New Drug Really Help You Get Skinny?

A panel approves Contrave—and hopes for the best.

-Jane Farrell


Contrave, a drug that combats obesity, has been approved by a federal panel—and it’s the first such drug that experts have OK’d in the last decade.

A panel of experts who advise the federal Food and Drug Administration said that the potential benefits of Contrave outweigh the risks. The FDA has ultimate approval over whether the prescription drug goes on the market, and Contrave will become available next year if the agency gives it the go-ahead. Contrave is a combination of two substances used to treat addiction and depression. Buproprion (Wellbutrin) is used as an antidepressant and is also prescribed as Zyban, which helps people quit smoking. The other drug, naltrexone, combats alcoholism and depression.

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The panel found that the test subjects who took Contrave lost average of 4.2 percent more weight than those who took a placebo. But according to the Associated Press, that percentage doesn’t quite meet the 5 percent weight loss guideline set by the FDA. Still, the panel was probably influenced by the fact that some patients lost more than 5 percent of their weight.

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