Prescription Drug Information: Contrave Extended-Release

CONTRAVE EXTENDED-RELEASE- naltrexone hydrochloride and bupropion hydrochloride tablet, extended release
PD-Rx Pharmaceuticals, Inc.


SUICIDALITY AND ANTIDEPRESSANT DRUGS CONTRAVE ® is not approved for use in the treatment of major depressive disorder or other psychiatric disorders. CONTRAVE contains bupropion, the same active ingredient as some antidepressant medications (including, but not limited to, WELLBUTRIN, WELLBUTRIN SR, WELLBUTRIN XL, and APLENZIN). Antidepressants increased the risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior in children, adolescents, and young adults in short-term trials. These trials did not show an increase in the risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior with antidepressant use in subjects over age 24; there was a reduction in risk with antidepressant use in subjects aged 65 and older. In patients of all ages who are started on CONTRAVE, monitor closely for worsening, and for the emergence of suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Advise families and caregivers of the need for close observation and communication with the prescriber. CONTRAVE is not approved for use in pediatric patients [see Warnings and Precautions ( 5.1), Use in Specific Populations ( 8.4)] .


CONTRAVE is indicated as an adjunct to a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity for chronic weight management in adults with an initial body mass index (BMI) of:

  • 30 kg/m 2 or greater (obese) or
  • 27 kg/m 2 or greater (overweight) in the presence of at least one weight-related comorbid condition (e.g., hypertension, type 2 diabetes mellitus, or dyslipidemia).

Limitations of Use:

  • The effect of CONTRAVE on cardiovascular morbidity and mortality has not been established.
  • The safety and effectiveness of CONTRAVE in combination with other products intended for weight loss, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, and herbal preparations, have not been established.


2.1 Recommended Dosing

CONTRAVE dosing should be escalated according to the following schedule:

Morning Dose Evening Dose
Week 1 1 tabletNone
Week 2 1 tablet1 tablet
Week 3 2 tablets1 tablet
Week 4 – Onward 2 tablets2 tablets

A total daily dosage of two CONTRAVE 8 mg/90 mg tablets twice daily (32 mg/360 mg) is reached at the start of Week 4.

CONTRAVE should be taken by mouth in the morning and in the evening. The tablets should not be cut, chewed, or crushed. Total daily doses greater than 32 mg/360 mg per day (two tablets twice daily) are not recommended. In clinical trials, CONTRAVE was administered with meals. However, CONTRAVE should not be taken with a high-fat meal because of a resulting significant increase in bupropion and naltrexone systemic exposure [see Warnings and Precautions ( 5.3) and Clinical Pharmacology ( 12.3)] .

Patients may develop elevated blood pressure or heart rate during CONTRAVE treatment; the risk may be greater during the initial three months of therapy [see Warnings and Precautions ( 5.6)] . Because patients with hypertension may be at increased risk for developing blood pressure elevations, such patients should be monitored for this potential effect when initiating treatment with CONTRAVE.

Response to therapy should be evaluated after 12 weeks at the maintenance dosage. If a patient has not lost at least 5% of baseline body weight, discontinue CONTRAVE, as it is unlikely that the patient will achieve and sustain clinically meaningful weight loss with continued treatment.

BMI is calculated by dividing weight (in kg) by height (in meters) squared. A BMI chart for determining BMI based on height and weight is provided in Table 1.

Table 1. BMI Conversion Chart

Table 1
(click image for full-size original)

2.2 Dose Adjustment in Patients with Renal Impairment

In patients with moderate or severe renal impairment, the maximum recommended daily dose for CONTRAVE is two tablets (one tablet each morning and evening). No dose adjustment is required in patients with mild renal impairment. CONTRAVE is not recommended for use in patients with end-stage renal disease. [see Use in Specific Population ( 8.6) and Clinical Pharmacology ( 12.3)] .

2.3 Dose Adjustment in Patients with Hepatic Impairment

In patients with hepatic impairment, the maximum recommended daily dose of CONTRAVE is one tablet in the morning [see Use in Specific Population ( 8.7) and Clinical Pharmacology ( 12.3)] .

2.4 Switching a Patient To or From a Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitor (MAOI) Antidepressant

At least 14 days should elapse between discontinuation of an MAOI intended to treat depression and initiation of therapy with CONTRAVE. Conversely, at least 14 days should be allowed after stopping CONTRAVE before starting an MAOI antidepressant [see Contraindications ( 4) and Drug Interactions ( 7.1)] .

2.5 Concomitant Use with CYP2B6 Inhibitors

During concomitant use with CYP2B6 inhibitors (e.g., ticlopidine or clopidogrel), the maximum recommended daily dose of CONTRAVE is two tablets (one tablet each morning and evening) [see Drug Interactions ( 7.4) and Clinical Pharmacology ( 12.3)] .


CONTRAVE extended-release tri-layer tablets, 8 mg/90 mg, are blue, round, bi-convex, film-coated, and debossed with “NB-890″ on one side.


CONTRAVE is contraindicated in

  • Uncontrolled hypertension [see Warnings and Precautions ( 5.5)]
  • Seizure disorder or a history of seizures [see Warnings and Precautions ( 5.3)]
  • Use of other bupropion-containing products (including, but not limited to, WELLBUTRIN, WELLBUTRIN SR, WELLBUTRIN XL, APLENZIN and ZYBAN)
  • Bulimia or anorexia nervosa, which increase the risk for seizure [see Warnings and Precautions ( 5.3)]
  • Chronic opioid or opiate agonist (e.g., methadone) or partial agonists (e.g., buprenorphine) use, or acute opiate withdrawal [see Warnings and Precautions ( 5.4) and Drug Interactions ( 7.2)]
  • Patients undergoing an abrupt discontinuation of alcohol, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, and antiepileptic drugs [see Warnings and Precautions ( 5.3) and Drug Interactions ( 7.7)]
  • Concomitant administration of monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI). At least 14 days should elapse between discontinuation of MAOI and initiation of treatment with CONTRAVE. There is an increased risk of hypertensive reactions when CONTRAVE is used concomitantly with MAOIs. Starting CONTRAVE in a patient treated with reversible MAOIs such as linezolid or intravenous methylene blue is also contraindicated [see Dosage and Administration ( 2.4), Drug Interactions ( 7.1)]
  • Known allergy to bupropion, naltrexone or any other component of CONTRAVE. Anaphylactoid/anaphylactic reactions and Stevens-Johnson syndrome have been reported with bupropion [see Warnings and Precautions ( 5.6)]
  • Pregnancy [see Use in Specific Populations ( 8.1)]


5.1 Suicidal Behavior and Ideation

CONTRAVE contains bupropion, a dopamine and norepinephrine re-uptake inhibitor that is similar to some drugs used for the treatment of depression; therefore, the following precautions pertaining to these products should be considered when treating patients with CONTRAVE.

Patients with major depressive disorder, both adult and pediatric, may experience worsening of their depression and/or the emergence of suicidal ideation and behavior (suicidality) or unusual changes in behavior, whether or not they are taking antidepressant medications, and this risk may persist until significant remission occurs. Suicide is a known risk of depression and certain other psychiatric disorders, and these disorders themselves are the strongest predictors of suicide. There has been a long-standing concern that antidepressants may have a role in inducing worsening of depression and the emergence of suicidality in certain patients during the early phases of treatment.

In placebo-controlled clinical trials with CONTRAVE for the treatment of obesity in adult patients, no suicides or suicide attempts were reported in studies up to 56 weeks duration with CONTRAVE (equivalent to bupropion doses of 360 mg/day). In these same studies, suicidal ideation was reported by 3 (0.20%) of 1,515 patients treated with placebo compared with 1 (0.03%) of 3,239 treated with CONTRAVE.

Pooled analyses of short-term placebo-controlled trials of antidepressant drugs (selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors [SSRIs] and others) show that these drugs increase the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior (suicidality) in children, adolescents, and young adults (ages 18 to 24) with major depressive disorder (MDD) and other psychiatric disorders. Short-term clinical trials did not show an increase in the risk of suicidality with antidepressants compared with placebo in adults beyond age 24; there was a reduction with antidepressants compared with placebo in adults aged 65 and older.

The pooled analyses of placebo-controlled trials of antidepressant drugs in children and adolescents with MDD, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), or other psychiatric disorders included a total of 24 short-term trials of nine antidepressant drugs in over 4,400 patients. The pooled analyses of placebo-controlled trials in adults with MDD or other psychiatric disorders included a total of 295 short-term trials (median duration of two months) of 11 antidepressant drugs in over 77,000 patients. There was considerable variation in risk of suicidality among drugs, but a tendency toward an increase in the younger patients for almost all drugs studied. There were differences in absolute risk of suicidality across the different indications, with the highest incidence in MDD. The risk differences (drug vs placebo), however, were relatively stable within age strata and across indications. These risk differences (drug-placebo difference in the number of cases of suicidality per 1,000 patients treated) are provided in Table 2.

Table 2. Risk Differences in the Number of Suicidality Cases by Age Group in the Pooled Placebo-Controlled Trials of Antidepressants in Pediatric and Adult Subjects
Age Range Drug-Placebo Difference in Number of Cases of Suicidality per 1,000 Patients Treated
Increases Compared to Placebo
<18 14 additional cases
18 to 24 5 additional cases
Decreases Compared to Placebo
25 to 64 1 fewer case
≥65 6 fewer cases

No suicides occurred in any of the antidepressant pediatric trials. There were suicides in the adult antidepressant trials, but the number was not sufficient to reach any conclusion about drug effect on suicide.

It is unknown whether the suicidality risk extends to longer-term use, i.e., beyond several months. However, there is substantial evidence from placebo-controlled trials in adults with depression that the use of antidepressants can delay the recurrence of depression.

All patients being treated with antidepressants for any indication should be monitored appropriately and observed closely for clinical worsening, suicidality, and unusual changes in behavior, especially during the initial few months of a course of drug therapy, or at times of dose changes, either increases or decreases. This warning applies to CONTRAVE because one of its components, bupropion, is a member of an antidepressant class.

The following symptoms, anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, aggressiveness, impulsivity, akathisia (psychomotor restlessness), hypomania, and mania, have been reported in adult and pediatric patients being treated with antidepressants for major depressive disorder as well as for other indications, both psychiatric and nonpsychiatric. Although a causal link between the emergence of such symptoms and either the worsening of depression and/or the emergence of suicidal impulses has not been established, there is concern that such symptoms may represent precursors to emerging suicidality.

Consideration should be given to changing the therapeutic regimen, including possibly discontinuing the medication, in patients whose depression is persistently worse, or who are experiencing emergent suicidality or symptoms that might be precursors to worsening depression or suicidality, especially if these symptoms are severe, abrupt in onset, or were not part of the patient’s presenting symptoms.

Families and caregivers of patients being treated with antidepressants for major depressive disorder or other indications, both psychiatric and nonpsychiatric, should be alerted about the need to monitor patients for the emergence of anxiety, agitation, irritability, unusual changes in behavior, and the other symptoms described above, as well as the emergence of suicidality, and to report such symptoms immediately to healthcare providers. Such monitoring should include daily observation by families and caregivers. Prescriptions for CONTRAVE should be written for the smallest quantity of tablets consistent with good patient management, in order to reduce the risk of overdose. provides trustworthy package insert and label information about marketed prescription drugs as submitted by manufacturers to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Package information is not reviewed or updated separately by Every individual prescription drug label and package insert entry contains a unique identifier which can be used to secure further details directly from the U.S. National Institutes of Health and/or the FDA.

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