New Weight-Loss Drug Shows Promise

Contrave users lost 7 percent of weight in 6 months, study found

FRIDAY, Sept. 29, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- Patients taking an investigational weight-loss drug called Contrave lost an average of more than 7 percent of their weight in the first 24 weeks of a phase III clinical trial, according to interim findings released this week by the company that developed the drug.

The study was expected to continue for another 24 weeks.

Contrave is a combination of two drugs -- naltrexone (already used to treat opium addiction withdrawal) and bupropion (used to treat depression and to help people quit smoking). Contrave is intended to affect a person's craving for food and the body's regulation of energy.

"Contrave is designed to activate a hypothalmic center in the brain associated with reduced appetite, while blocking beta-endorphin, which may be responsible for limiting weight loss," Dr. Gary Tollefson, president and CEO of Orexigen Therapeutics Inc., said in a prepared statement. "We are also studying the effects of Contrave on related central pathways associated with the rewarding nature of select high-calorie foods."

The phase III clinical trial involves more than 250 patients at 14 sites. During the first 24-week blinded stage of the trial, patients taking the drug lost an average of 7.52 percent of their weight, compared to a 1.03 percent loss for patients taking a placebo.

A second 24 weeks of open-label study is currently under way.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has more about safe and effective weight loss.

SOURCE: Orexigen Therapeutics Inc., news release, Sept. 26, 2006
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