It has been a difficult year for diet drugs. October saw the Food and Drug Administration banning two weight loss-drugs, lorcaserin and Qnexa, due to possible links with cancer and heart problems. However, this week an FDA panel gave the approval for a new drug, Contrave, in the fight against obesity.
What makes Contrave so unique is that it combines two older medications in order to help measures of safety. Combining naltrexone, which is used to help cocaine addiction and alcoholism, and bupropion, an antidepressant, Contrave is supposed to affect cravings for appetite and satiety. Naltrexone is supposed to impact the brain’s opiate receptors, which affect a body’s feelings for pleasure.
Bupropion increased brain levels for dopamine, the body’s chemical needed to “feel good.”
As promising as it is, the drug is still not yet approved. Though the panel gave its approval for the drug, this does not mean that the FDA itself has given its stamp. The FDA was divided in its approval, with its members wanting more studies on whether it would lead to complications in blood pressure. Those who participated in the experimentation of the drug reported nausea, headache, and dizziness as opposed to those who had taken a placebo.