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Combo Weight Loss Pill Fights Cravings and Appetite

Will Contrave Be the Next Big Weight Loss Pill?

No Serious Side Effects Seen continued...

What's more, there were no changes seen in levels of LDL or "bad" cholesterol levels among those who took the experimental obesity drug.  There were some improvements in other heart disease risk factors such as blood fats known as triglycerides, HDL  or  "good" cholesterol levels, insulin resistance, and C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation.

"The reassuring thing about the side effects is that both of these drugs have been in wide use for over 20 years and no side effects were seen that were not expected from the experience with the individual drugs," Greenway says. "Bupropion-naltrexone improved insulin resistance [and] insulin resistance leads to diabetes and is associated with the cardiovascular risk factors associated with obesity."

In an accompanying editorial,  Arne Astrup, MD, head of the department of nutrition at the University of Copenhagen, writes that "more data are needed to get a better overall assessment of cardiovascular risks of this otherwise promising combination therapy for obesity."

More Weight Loss Pills Needed

Combination pills represent the future of obesity treatment, says Louis Aronne, MD, director of the Comprehensive Weight Control Program at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City.

"Using medications and combination medications in conjunction with changes to diet and exercise can get us the results we are looking for in terms of reductions in body weight and obesity-related comorbidities," he says.

These medications are useful for people in whom diet and exercise alone is not enough but are not candidates for weight loss surgery, he says.

The more drugs available to treat obesity, the better, he says. It's not a one-size-fits-all situation.

"One medication may be right for one person and something else may be right for someone else," he says. "For a field to evolve, you need choices."

"People who have cravings might respond very well to Contrave," he says. There are no safety signals when it comes to mood, he says.  "Nausea is  the No. 1 side effect, and we have found that if we increase the dose gradually, we can reduce this risk." Aronne has conducted trials of the new drug.

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