GLP-1s vs Contrave™ Comparison

GLP-1 medications and Contrave™ are both prescription medications that can help people lose weight, but they work differently to help you lose weight. Below, we compare the two medication types.

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What are GLP-1 Medications?

GLP-1 medications, or glucagon-like peptide-1 agonists, are a class of drugs used to treat type 2 diabetes and obesity. They work by mimicking the effects of a naturally occurring hormone that helps regulate appetite and blood sugar levels. They are injected once a week or once a day. The most common side effects of GLP-1 medications include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, heartburn, fatigue and headache. GLP-1 medications work through a number of pathways to help regulate blood sugar and promote weight loss. These pathways include:

  • Slowing the stomach emptying
  • Increasing the feeling of fullness
  • Reducing appetite

What is Contrave™?

Contrave is a combination of two separate FDA-approved medications: bupropion and naltrexone. Bupropion is an antidepressant that helps to reduce cravings. It is also FDA-approved for smoking cessation. Naltrexone is a medication that helps to reduce alcohol and opioid cravings. Contrave is taken as a tablet that starts as one tablet daily and is increased as tolerated to two tablets twice daily. The most common side effects of Contrave include nausea, vomiting, constipation, dry mouth, and headache. Contrave can help with weight loss by doing the following:

  • Reducing appetite
  • Decreasing cravings for food

Contrave has been shown to help people lose an average of 5-7% of their body weight over a period of 12 months. This is important because losing 5% of your body weight can make a big difference in your overall health.

How effective are these medications for weight loss?

In clinical trials, certain GLP-1 medications have been shown to help people lose an average of 10-15% of their body weight over a period of 12 months1,2,3. Contrave has been shown to help people lose an average of 5-7% of their body weight over a period of 12 months.4

The following data shows the clinical efficacy of each of these medications:

  • Ozempic®: In a clinical trial, Ozempic® was shown to help people lose 4% - 7% of their body weight over a period of 40 weeks.1
  • Wegovy®: In a clinical trial, Wegovy® was shown to help people lose an average of 15% of their body weight over a period of 68 weeks.2
  • Mounjaro™: In a clinical trial, Mounjaro™ was shown to help people lose an average of 21% of their body weight over a period of 72 weeks.3
  • Contrave™: In a clinical trial, Contrave™ was shown to help people lose an average of 5.1% of their body weight over a period of 56 weeks.4
Wegovy®
Semaglutide
Yes
Yes
Injection once weekly
Personal or family history of medullary thyroid cancer or multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2, pregnancy or breastfeeding.
Saxenda
Liraglutide
Yes
Yes
Injection once daily
Personal or family history of medullary thyroid cancer or multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2, pregnancy or breastfeeding.
Mounjaro™
Tirzepatide
Yes
No
Injection once weekly
Personal or family history of medullary thyroid cancer or multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2, pregnancy or breastfeeding.
Ozempic®
Semaglutide
Yes
No
Injection once weekly
Personal or family history of medullary thyroid cancer or multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2, pregnancy or breastfeeding.
Contrave™
Naltrexone/ bupropion
No
Yes
Oral tablet daily
History of suicidal behavior, use of opioid pain medications (during or 14 days after) (i.e. prescription pain medications), abrupt discontinuation of benzodiazepines, alcohol, barbiturates, or antiepileptic medications, seizure disorder or any history of seizures, use of monoamine oxidase inhibitors within 14 days, current or past history of anorexia nervosa or bulimia, uncontrolled hypertension, pregnancy or breastfeeding, severe liver or kidney disease.

Conclusion

At Sunrise, our goal is to provide access to treatment. With that in mind, as part of the Sunrise program, a board-certified affiliate provider will evaluate you for eligibility and work to find the best treatment option for you based on fit, coverage, price, contraindications, and more. While GLP-1 medications have demonstrated a stronger effect on weight loss in clinical trials, Contrave (naltrexone/bupropion) is also a very effective medication that can target different symptoms like cravings. In working with your healthcare provider, you can determine which medication is best for you. 

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GLP-1 Weight Loss Medication
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