Obesity Drug Meets Goals in Three Studies

Obesity drug manufacturer Orexigen Therapeutics, Inc. claims its new miracle pill, Contrave, can reduce food cravings and curb obesity. The drug contains brupopion, an anti-depressant medication sold under the brand name Wellbutrin, and studies show it actually works.

pillsHere we go again! Another miracle weight-loss drug has hit the news as an effective treatment for morbid obesity. The latest candidate: Contrave, made by Orexigen Therapeutics Inc., which is designed to reduce food cravings associated with overeating and curb obesity.

Here’s the crazy part: it actually seems to work.

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In the clinical trials for Contrave, up to 56 percent of the test subjects who received the actual drug had significantly greater weight loss than those who got the placebo — only about 17 percent of the placebo patients lost weight. Most of the subjects who took Contrave also lost inches off their waistlines. The placebo folks mostly stayed thick around the middle.

Furthermore, the test subjects who got the real drug lost more than 8 percent of their body weight — around 18 pounds each — over the 56 week trial period.

So what is this wonder drug? Contrave32, the formulation used in the clinical trials, is a drug cocktail made from bupropion — better known as the antidepressant Wellbutrin® — and Naltrexone, a drug used to treat addictive behaviors by targeting what the company calls “reward pathways in the brain.”

And it appears to be safe — only two patients involved in the trial experienced serious side effects, none of which could be directly traced to the drug itself.

So when can we expect to see this latest wonder drug at the pharmacy? Orexigen plans to submit an application for FDA approval in early 2010. In the meantime, two competitors are preparing to bring their own anti-obesity drugs to market, as well. Uncle Sam willing, obesity fighters may have another weapon in their arsenal in the not-too-distant future.