Posts Tagged ‘Wellbutrin’

Contrave Contrived to Confuse

Monday, April 24th, 2017

Contrave is marketed as a prescription weight-loss drug made from a combination of naltrexone HCL and bupropion HCL. Bupropion is an antidepressant, also marketed as Wellbutrin and Zyban for smoking cessation. Naltrexone is used to counteract alcohol and opioid addiction. (See our previous newsletter on Contrave.)

We’re not sure how this drug has anything to do with weight loss, except that the FDA allows it to be prescribed for that. We’re guessing it has something to do with calling obesity an addiction similar to smoking, and it’s another way to make money off of a drug by expanding its potential client base. The DSM-5 has a mental diagnosis called “Overweight or obesity.”

Naltrexone is not used extensively because the retention rate of patients is very low, so this use gives it additional life.

Bupropion increases the amount of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain. The most common side effects associated with bupropion are agitation, dry mouth, insomnia, headache, nausea, constipation, and tremor. It can also cause mania, hallucinations, seizures, suicidal thoughts and behavior, anxiety, panic attacks, trouble sleeping, irritability, hostile/angry feelings, impulsive actions, and severe restlessness. Additional adverse events of the Contrave combination are loss of consciousness and abuse of the drug.

Bupropion can also cause unusual weight loss or gain. We guess the doctor is betting on the former. The exact neurochemical effects of Contrave are not fully understood. What we fully understand is that the doctor is gambling that users will experience weight loss as a side effect of the drug.

Contrave has a boxed warning to alert health care professionals and patients to the increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors associated with antidepressant drugs. The warning also notes that serious neuropsychiatric events have been reported in patients taking bupropion.

Contrave is a trademark of Orexigen Therapeutics, Inc. and is distributed by Takeda Pharmaceuticals. Shares of Orexigen (NASDAQ:OREX), collapsed 72% in 2015, based on its long-term cardiovascular-outcomes study for Contrave. The FDA chastised Orexigen for releasing immature data from a study where the analysis was incomplete, requiring Orexigen to run an additional long-term study.

Just for completeness, these are are inactive ingredients in Contrave: microcrystalline cellulose, hydroxypropyl cellulose, lactose anhydrous, L-cysteine hydrochloride, crospovidone, magnesium stearate, hypromellose, edetate disodium, lactose monohydrate, colloidal silicon dioxide, Opadry II Blue and FD&C Blue #2 aluminum lake. (With apologies to your dictionary, which may or may not help with some of these strange ingredients.)

The FDA approved Wellbutrin as an antidepressant in 1985 but because of the significant incidence of seizures at the originally recommended dose (400-600 mg), the drug was withdrawn in 1986. It was reintroduced in 1989 with a maximum dose of 450 mg per day.The current recommended dose for Contrave is no more than 4 tablets per day; each tablet has 90 mg bupropion HCL for a total of 360 mg per day. In Contrave clinical trials, 24% of subjects discontinued treatment because of an adverse event.

The cost of Contrave varies from about $55/month to over $200/month depending on dose, location, and insurance coverage.

We can contrive several less dangerous and cheaper alternatives for losing unwanted weight, without Contrave.

Contrave

Sunday, September 21st, 2014

Contrave

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a new weight loss drug on September 10. Aren’t you excited? Don’t get your hopes up, we’re going to tell you all the reasons you should not take this drug.

I just lost 10 pounds by eating meat and vegetables for a month. I temporarily gave up ice cream and cheese, also. Why do you care about my diet? Because with Contrave you only get the best results by combining the drug with a non-drug weight management program (that is, proper diet and exercise.) Test results show that Contrave drug users might lose an average of 8 pounds more over 6 months than those losing weight without the drug, with both groups also doing a non-drug weight management program. The experts say that if you just use the drug with no changes in diet or exercise, it is not going to be successful. So why not just save yourself $200 a month and go with the non-drug weight management program?

OK, so some of the test results show that on average people on the drug lost 4% more weight over a year than those on a placebo, while doing the same non-drug weight management things. So how is Contrave supposed to work?

Well, funny thing about that. No one has a real clue about how Contrave works or doesn’t work. The best they can say is that sometimes it lessens one’s appetite. There is no way to predict the results, it is strictly trial and error.

There are not that many weight loss drugs on the market, leading some doctors to joke about slim pickings for the treatment of obesity. There is also controversy about whether obesity is really a medical condition or a symptom of a medical condition. In any case, let’s not follow all these red herrings and just describe this particular drug in more depth.

The FDA rejected the first approval request in 2011 for Contrave, and has given approval this year only with two additional requirements — more safety studies are needed, and the drug must carry a boxed warning about the risk of suicide and other bad side effects.

Suicide risk? Really? For weight loss? What kind of a drug is this?

Guess what, Contrave is a psychiatric drug. Two psych drugs in combination, actually. Contrave is a combination of bupropion (Wellbutrin), and naltrexone. The recommended daily dose is a total of 32 mg naltrexone and 360 mg bupropion.

You may recall that Wellbutrin is an antidepressant; as a short-acting antidepressant and amphetamine-like drug similar to Ritalin and Dexedrine, it is also marketed in slow-release form as Zyban for people trying to quit smoking.

The FDA approved Wellbutrin as an antidepressant in 1985 but because of the significant incidence of seizures at the originally recommended dose (400-600 mg), the drug was withdrawn in 1986. It was reintroduced in 1989 with a maximum dose of 450 mg per day.

It can cause seizures and at rates of four times that of other antidepressants. Fatal heart attacks in those with a history of heart-rhythm disturbances have occurred. Other side effects include agitation, insomnia, increased restlessness, anxiety, delusions, hallucinations, psychotic episodes, confusion, weight loss and paranoia. Teens have abused the drug by crushing and snorting it, causing seizures. So, we can see that weight loss is one of the possible side effects of Wellbutrin; only in the context of an antidepressant or smoking cessation drug, weight loss is an unwanted side effect. So why not change the name and market it as a weight loss drug?

Naltrexone, on the other hand, is an anti-addiction drug, technically an opioid receptor antagonist. It is FDA approved to treat alcohol and opioid dependence, although it must not be used if the person is still taking alcohol or opioids, as it can induce severe withdrawal symptoms. It also has side effects of depression and suicidal thoughts or suicide. I can believe it might suppress one’s appetite, as well.

I think I’ll just go buy some ice cream and drown my visions of weight loss in a sugar coma.

Settlements and Lawsuits Galore

Saturday, July 7th, 2012

We’ve mentioned the GlaxoSmithKline settlement this past week where GSK will pay a $3 billion fine, the largest health-care fraud settlement in U.S. history (to date) for illegally marketing psychiatric drugs Wellbutrin and Paxil for off-label use, and making false representations regarding their safety and efficacy, among other criminal and civil charges.

Of course, GSK’s gross profit for 2011 was over $32 billion, so they may be bleeding but they’re not dead yet.

The St. Louis Business Journal this week discusses the settlement’s impact in Missouri: GSK will pay $31.9 million to Missouri’s Medicaid program under the settlement.

Meanwhile, Missouri residents are being asked if they had any children who took Celexa or Lexapro between 2002 and 2009 and were under the age of 18 at the time, because they may have a claim against the manufacturer, Forest Labs.

Forest Labs, the manufacturer of the antidepressants Celexa and Lexapro, paid the government a settlement in 2010 because it illegally promoted Celexa for use in children and adolescents despite the fact it had not been approved for marketing in the United States. Forest Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Forest Labs, based in St. Louis, Missouri, also was penalized for only publicizing positive Celexa study results in adolescents to doctors, while choosing to withhold the negative results.

If your child took Celexa or Lexapro between 2002 and 2009 in Missouri, was under the age of 18 at the time he/she took it, and you paid for the prescriptions of Celexa or Lexapro for your child, you may qualify to be the next class representative in a class action in Missouri. Click here to find out more about this.

Click here for more information about Celexa and Lexapro side effects.

Of course, the real problem is that psychiatrists fraudulently diagnose life’s problems as an “illness”, and stigmatize unwanted behavior or study problems as “diseases.” Psychiatry’s stigmatizing labels, programs and treatments are harmful junk science; their diagnoses of “mental disorders” are a hoax – unscientific, fraudulent and harmful. All psychiatric treatments, not just psychiatric drugs, are dangerous.

It is vital that you, your family, and your friends and associates watch the video documentary “Making A Killing – The Untold Story of Psychotropic Drugging”. Containing more than 175 interviews with lawyers, mental health experts, the families of psychiatric abuse victims and the survivors themselves, this riveting documentary rips the mask off psychotropic drugging and exposes a brutal but well-entrenched money-making machine. The facts are hard to believe, but fatal to ignore. Watch the video online here.

Knacking

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012

Recently I read this marvelous wordsmithing in the book Kraken by China Miéville:

“You have to persuade the universe that things make sense a certain way. That’s what knacking is.”

So, having a knack for something means, in this sense, making the universe work the way you imagine it should. Of course, the normal meaning of knack is a clever skill or special talent.

That may or may not have anything to do with CCHR or psychiatry, I just could not ignore the opportunity to pass it along.

On the other hand, we might observe that pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is knacking when they try to make their criminal activities go away by saying, “The complaint to which you refer concerns events in 1999, 13 years ago. It does not reflect what would be allowed in GSK today.”

The complaint, of course, is the US government’s allegations of criminal and civil charges against GSK resulting in the settlement announced this week, with GSK fined $3 billion for promoting off-label prescription of the antidepressant drug Wellbutrin, among other charges. (Read more about this here and here.)

Wellbutrin, generic term bupropion, is a newer antidepressant of the type Norepinephrine-Dopamine Reuptake Inhibitors. As a short-acting antidepressant and amphetamine-like drug similar to Ritalin and Dexedrine, it is also marketed in slow-release form as Zyban for people trying to quit smoking. While Wellbutrin is not FDA-approved to treat ADHD, doctors still prescribe it for this.

The FDA approved Wellbutrin as an antidepressant in 1985 but because of the significant incidence of seizures at the originally recommended dose (400-600 mg), the drug was withdrawn in 1986. It was reintroduced in 1989 with a maximum dose of 450 mg per day.

It can cause seizures and at rates of four times that of other antidepressants. Fatal heart attacks in those with a history of heart-rhythm disturbances have occurred. Other side effects include agitation, insomnia, increased restlessness, anxiety, delusions, hallucinations, psychotic episodes, confusion, weight loss and paranoia. Teens have abused the drug by crushing and snorting it, causing seizures.

One might say that the continued production and prescription of Wellbutrin itself is criminal, although that was not one of the government’s allegations.

Click here for more information about the side effects, often called adverse reactions, of psychiatric drugs.