If you’re considering weight loss, your doctor might tell you about Contrave. It’s a prescription drug that’s used along with exercise and a balanced diet to help certain adults lose weight.
Contrave comes as an extended-release tablet* that you swallow. The active ingredient in Contrave is naltrexone/bupropion. (An active ingredient is what makes a drug work.) Naltrexone belongs to a group of drugs called opioid antagonists, and bupropion is an antidepressant. Contrave isn’t available as a generic drug.
This article describes the dosages of Contrave, as well as its strength and how to take it. To learn more about Contrave, see this in-depth article.
Note: This article covers Contrave’s usual dosage, which is provided by the drugmaker. But when using Contrave, always take the dosage that your doctor prescribes.
* Extended-release tablets release the drug into your body slowly over time.
This section describes the typical dosages for Contrave.
Note: This dosage chart highlights the basics of Contrave’s dosing schedule in milligrams (mg) per day. Be sure to read on for more detail.
|Total daily dosage
|8 mg naltrexone/90 mg bupropion
|16 mg naltrexone/180 mg bupropion
|24 mg naltrexone/270 mg bupropion
|Week 4 and after
|32 mg naltrexone/360 mg bupropion
What is Contrave’s form?
Contrave is available as an extended-release tablet that you swallow. (Extended-release tablets release the drug into your body slowly over time.)
What strength does Contrave come in?
Contrave comes in one strength: 8 mg naltrexone/90 mg bupropion.
What is Contrave’s usual dosage for weight loss?
Your doctor will likely start you on a low dosage (called a starting dose) and adjust it over time to reach the right amount for you. Your doctor will ultimately prescribe the smallest dosage that provides the desired effect.
The information below describes dosages that are commonly used or recommended by the drugmaker. But be sure to follow your doctor’s dosing instructions. They’ll determine the best dosage to fit your needs.
As shown in the chart above, your Contrave dosage depends on your week of treatment. The first week of treatment, you’ll take one tablet per day in the morning. Then you’ll take one additional tablet per week until week 4.
Starting at week 4, you’ll take two tablets in the morning and two in the evening. This is the dose you’ll likely take long term (also called a maintenance dose).
Is Contrave used long term?
Yes, Contrave is typically used as a long-term treatment. If you and your doctor determine that it’s safe and effective for your condition, you’ll likely take it long term. But if Contrave doesn’t work for you within 12 weeks, your doctor will likely have you stop taking the drug.
Your doctor may lower your Contrave dosage if your liver or kidneys aren’t functioning well. They may also lower your dosage if you take certain other medications.
During your Contrave treatment, talk with your doctor before you start or stop taking any other medications.
Below are answers to some commonly asked questions about Contrave’s dosage.
Is there a best time to take my evening dose of Contrave?
There isn’t a recommended time to take the evening dose of Contrave. You can take the morning and evening doses at times that work best for you. But it’s recommended that you take your doses 12 hours apart.
Talk with your doctor or pharmacist about the best time to take Contrave based on your daily schedule.
How does the dosage of Contrave compare with that of Wellbutrin?
Contrave and Wellbutrin both contain the same active ingredient, bupropion. But Contrave also contains the drug naltrexone, while Wellbutrin does not.
These drugs are not used to treat the same condition, so there isn’t a dosage conversion. If you have questions about how these drugs compare, talk with your doctor.
How do I stop taking Contrave?
If you think Contrave is not working for you, talk with your doctor. They can help determine if you should stop taking Contrave.
People in studies of Contrave didn’t experience side effects when they ended their treatment. But you should talk with your doctor first before you stop taking any drug, including Contrave.
The dosage of Contrave you’re prescribed may depend on several factors. These include:
- your age
- how well your kidneys and liver work
- other medications you take
Contrave comes as a tablet that you’ll swallow whole. You should not crush, chew, or break the tablet.
You can take Contrave with or without food. But you should not take the drug with high fat foods, such as cheese or avocado. Taking Contrave with high fat foods could cause the drug to build up in your body, which may raise your risk of side effects.
If you have trouble swallowing tablets, see this article for tips on how to take this form of medication.
For information on the expiration, storage, and disposal of Contrave, see this article.
Accessible drug containers and labels
If you find it hard to read the prescription label on your medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist. Some pharmacies provide medication labels that:
- have large print or use braille
- feature a code you can scan with a smartphone to change the text to audio
Your doctor or pharmacist may be able to recommend pharmacies that offer these accessibility features if your current pharmacy doesn’t.
If you have trouble opening medication bottles, let your pharmacist know. They may be able to supply Contrave in an easy-open container or in different packaging. They may also have tips to help make it simpler to open the drug’s container.
If you miss a dose of Contrave, just skip the missed dose and take your next dose at the scheduled time. Do not take an extra dose of Contrave to make up for the missed dose. Doing so could raise your risk of side effects.
If you need help remembering to take your dose of Contrave on time, try using a medication reminder. This can include setting an alarm or downloading a reminder app on your phone.
Do not take more Contrave than your doctor prescribes, as this can lead to serious side effects.
Symptoms of overdose
Symptoms caused by a Contrave overdose can include:
- hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t really there)
- muscle jerking or twitching
- loss of consciousness
- fast heart rate
- irregular heart rhythm
What to do in case you take too much Contrave
Call your doctor right away if you think you’ve taken too much Contrave. You can also call 800-222-1222 to reach the American Association of Poison Control Centers or use its online resource. But if you have severe symptoms, immediately call 911 (or your local emergency number) or go to the nearest emergency room.
The sections above describe the usual dosage provided by the drugmaker. If your doctor recommends Contrave for you, they’ll prescribe the dosage that’s right for you.
Remember, you should not change your dosage of Contrave without your doctor’s recommendation. Only take Contrave exactly as prescribed. Talk with your doctor if you have questions or concerns about your current dosage.
Here are some examples of questions you may want to ask your doctor:
- Should my Contrave dosage change if I start taking other medications?
- If I experience side effects, will my Contrave dosage be lowered?
- Should my Contrave dosage change if I eat certain foods?
To learn more about Contrave, see these articles:
- Contrave (naltrexone/bupropion)
- Contrave and Cost: What You Need to Know
- Contrave Interactions: Alcohol, Medications, and Others
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Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.