Table of contents
- What Does Contrave Do?
- What is the history of Contrave?
- What is the history of Ozempic?
- Contrave vs Ozempic: Route of Administration
- Contrave vs Ozempic: Availability
- Contrave vs Ozempic: Which is more effective?
- Contrave vs Ozempic: Side Effects
- Contrave vs Ozempic: Dosing Schedule*
- Determining the Best Diabetes or Weight Loss Drug for You
If you’re exploring the world of prescription weight-loss and diabetes medications, you might be asking: Contrave vs Ozempic - Which is better for me?
When you compare weight-loss medications like Contrave or Qsymia, which are taken orally, vs Ozempic which is a weekly injectable prescription-strength FDA-approved treatment for Type 2 Diabetes. Figuring out which weight loss or diabetes medication is right for you can feel like a full-time job. How do Contrave and Ozempic differ? Is one more effective than the other? Which is a better fit for you? Read on to find out!
Contrave and Ozempic use a different mechanism of action.
Each has different side effects, dosages, types of administration, and slightly different costs. In this helpful guide, we’ll pit each diabetes and weight loss med against each other and answer many of the questions you need to know.
Before discussing Contrave vs Ozempicand other diabetes and weight-loss medications, we will briefly answer a fundamental question.
What Does Contrave Do?
Contrave is an FDA-approved weight-loss medication for people who are
overweight with at least one serious medical condition including diabetes,
high blood pressure, etc., or those struggling with obesity. Contrave is a combination of two medications, bupropion and naltrexone, and is designed to reduce hunger and control cravings, so you can lose weight and keep it off when combined with diet and exercise.
What Does Ozempic Do?
Ozempic is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (or GLP-1) receptor agonist. It works by increasing the amount of insulin and reducing the amount of glucagon the pancreas releases. This can be very helpful for people who naturally struggle to keep insulin and glucagon balanced.
Ozempic leads to weight loss because it lowers the patient's appetite so you eat less. It mimics the action of a gut hormone called GLP-1, which is released after eating, and it slows down the movement of food in your gut so you stay full longer. Click here, to learn more about what to eat on Wegovy. Depending on a patient’s needs and goals, this may be helpful – as long as patients on Ozempic can meet their daily nutrient needs like protein, vitamins, and minerals.
What is the history of Contrave?
The FDA approved Contrave in September 2014 (after initially being rejected by the FDA in 2011). Contrave was approved in September 2014 after subsequent clinical trials demonstrated its safety and efficacy for use by adults who are obese (meaning a body-mass index of 30 or higher) and by overweight adults (body-mass index between 27 and 30) who have at least one other weight-related condition or illness, such as high blood pressure or type 2 diabetes. (Don't know your body-mass index? Calculate it using the Harvard Health Publications BMI calculator.)
What is the history of Ozempic?
Ozempic, known generically as semaglutide, was approved in 2017 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in adults with type 2 diabetes. For years, semaglutide brands, Ozempic and Rybelsus, were used off-label – or prescribed for a secondary purpose – to help with weight loss. Semaglutide is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (or GLP-1) receptor agonist approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but it was not the first.
In 2014, liraglutide (Saxenda) was the first GLP-1 agonist to be U.S. FDA-approved for weight management in obese patients without diabetes; in clinical trials, weight loss with a daily injection of liraglutide, compared with placebo, averaged about 5 kg during 1 year. In 2021, the GLP-1 agonist semaglutide (Wegovy) also was approved for this indication, based on impressive weight loss in industry-sponsored studies.
Contrave vs Ozempic: Route of Administration
A route of administration is the means by which a drug or agent enters the body, such as by mouth or by injection. Various routes of administration are possible, including oral, topical, and subcutaneous injection.
|Administration Route||Oral Tablets - Daily||Weekly Injections|
Contrave vs Ozempic: Availability
|Availability*||Available||Currently in Shortage|
Contrave vs Ozempic: Which is more effective?
The FDA approved Contrave based on the results of several clinical trials that included 4,500 overweight and obese men and women. Some had significant weight-related conditions, others didn't.
In one trial of people without diabetes, 42% of those who took Contrave lost at least 5% of their body weight, compared with 17% of those who took a placebo. In a trial of people with diabetes, 36% of those taking Contrave lost at least 5% of their body weight, compared with 18 % of those taking a placebo.
Across the studies, some people lost much more than 5% of their body weight. But it's important to note that more than 50% had minimal or no weight loss.
If Contrave does not work after 12 weeks, the FDA says its use should be stopped.
In a cohort study of 175 patients with overweight or obesity, the total body weight loss percentages achieved were 5.9% at 3 months and 10.9% at 6 months.
Semaglutide treatment in a regular clinical setting was associated with weight loss similar to that seen in randomized clinical trials, which suggests its applicability for treating patients with overweight or obesity. The results of this cohort study suggest that weekly 1.7-mg and 2.4-mg doses of semaglutide were associated with weight loss similar to that seen in randomized clinical trials. Studies with longer periods of follow-up are needed to evaluate prolonged weight loss outcomes.
Contrave vs Ozempic: Side Effects
|Possible Side Effects||nausea|
Stomach (abdominal) pain
Contrave vs Ozempic: Dosing Schedule*
*Follow any prescribed medication exactly as your doctor has prescribed.
One tablet (8 mg naltrexone / 90 mg bupropion) taken by mouth once daily
Then, the dose is raised weekly until you reach a target dosage of two tablets twice daily.
|Month 1: 0.25 mg injected once weekly for 4 weeks|
Month 2: 0.5 mg injected once weekly for 4 weeks
Month 3: 1 mg injected once weekly for 4 weeks (optional)
Month 4 and beyond: 2 mg injected once weekly (optional)
Contrave vs. Ozempic: Costs
How much does Contrave cost without insurance? The average Contrave price without insurance can cost about $804.56 for a supply of 120, 8-90MG Tablet Extended Release 12 Hour which equates to around $800 a month before insurance. Prices vary depending on pharmacy location. To get information on Contrave savings plans, click here.
Ozempic carries a price tag of around $950 a month before insurance.
Coverage for Type 2 Diabetes drugs like Ozempic varies widely on the kind of insurance you have and where you live.
A $25 copay card provided by the manufacturer may help ease the cost — but only if you have insurance that covers Ozempic and you meet other requirements. To get the savings card, follow this link.
This might leave you with one final question:
Determining the Best Diabetes or Weight Loss Drug for You
Since each of these drugs is prescription-only, you will need to work with your doctor to fully evaluate these medications. If you’re interested in using them for off-label weight maintenance, you’ll still need to consult with your physician and obtain a valid, current prescription.
Your doctor will take several factors into account when recommending a diabetes medication, including:
- Your overall health status. If you have conditions other than diabetes, such as a kidney issue or a cardiovascular challenge, those conditions will play a large part in deciding which drug is appropriate for you.
- Your other medications. Some medications interact unhelpfully – for example, canceling each other out or making them more potent than expected or advised. Your doctor will know which medications have unwanted interactions and recommend a medication accordingly.
- If you have diabetes, the type of diabetes you have. The medications discussed in this article are only for type 2 diabetes patients. Type 1 diabetes patients will require alternative treatment.
- Your goals and preferences. What are your goals? Do you want to lose weight? or maintain weight loss? Do you prefer a daily oral pill like Contrave or Rybelsus or a daily injection like Saxenda or would you rather take a once-weekly injection like Ozempic? Are there some adverse side effects that are non-starters for you, and other potential risks that you find easier to manage? Read this article, as well as the other information pages we’ve provided for each medication. When you’re informed, you are empowered to discuss your goals with your doctor and create a plan to accomplish what you hope to achieve.
If you are looking for support, answers to your questions, and would like access to a registered dietitian, join our private Facebook group at Wegovy / Ozempic Meal Plans and Recipes and join over 1200 others by Liking and Following the Berries and Oats Facebook Page for delicious recipes that your entire family will love.