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U.S. regulators are greenlighting a new weight-loss drug called Contrave, the third in a string of approvals for anti-obesity treatments.
The drug was developed by Orexigen Therapeutics Inc., based in La Jolla, California. The Food and Drug Administration said Thursday that it is approved for use by people who have a body mass index of 30 or higher, which is considered to be obese, and for people with a BMI of 27 or higher who also have a weight-related medical condition such as diabetes.
Contrave is a combination of two drugs that are already approved, naltrexone and bupropion. Naltrexone is used to treat alcohol and narcotic dependence. Bupropion is an antidepressant also used to help people quit smoking.
The combination pill joins two similar drugs from Arena Pharmaceuticals and Vivus Inc., which FDA approved in 2012 after a 13-year drought of new prescription weight-loss medicines. Experts say patients need to have realistic expectations about how much weight they can lose by taking a pill. Patients on Contrave for a year lost 4.2 percent more weight than patients taking a dummy pill.
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-The Associated Press