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Consumer Reports: New weight-loss pill brings risks

Weight-loss pill may cause anxiety, seizures, heart risks

SAN ANTONIOThe biggest challenges of trying to lose weight are controlling cravings and suppressing hunger. 

A new prescription pill called Contrave claims to do both of those things, but there are risks. 

Contrave is a combination of two older drugs: the antidepressant bupropion and the addiction treatment drug naltrexone.

According to advertisements, Contrave works on the brain to reduce hunger and control cravings. The Food and Drug Administration approved Contrave for people who are overweight with a body mass index of 27 or higher and who suffer from conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or Type 2 diabetes.

According to a Commercial Cites study, patients who took Contrave while dieting and exercising lost about two to four times more weight than did those who only dieted and exercised.

A Consumer Reports analysis of the three clinical trials used to get FDA approval shows the drug works, but the amount of additional weight loss is small and could pose serious health risks.

"Contrave can cause anxiety, insomnia and headaches, but also serious problems such as liver damage, seizures, increased blood pressure and possible heart risks," said Ginger Skinner, of Consumer Reports.

The study found people who took Contrave for up to 56 weeks lost, on average, only five to nine pounds more than those who took a placebo.

Consumer Reports experts recommend healthy eating and exercise first.

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