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What are the Common Side Effects of Contrave?

A woman holding a tag with weight loss spelling

Contrave is a prescription medication commonly used for weight management in adults. It combines two active ingredients, naltrexone and bupropion, which work together to help reduce cravings and control appetite. 

While it can be effective in aiding weight loss efforts, it is important to be aware of its potential side effects. In this article, we will explore the common side effects associated with Contrave, providing you with valuable information to make an informed decision about its usage.

What is Contrave?

Contrave is a prescription medication used for weight management in adults who are overweight or have obesity. It is a combination of two active ingredients: naltrexone and bupropion. Naltrexone is commonly used to treat addiction to opioids or alcohol, while bupropion is an antidepressant and smoking cessation aid. Together, these ingredients work in the brain to help control appetite and reduce food cravings.

Happy woman achieving weight goal

Contrave is used in combination with a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity to support weight loss efforts. It is important to consult with a healthcare professional to determine if Contrave is appropriate for individual weight management goals and overall health.

Common Side Effects of Contrave

In this section, we will discuss the various side effects that individuals may experience while taking Contrave. It is important to note that not everyone will experience these side effects, and their severity can vary from person to person. The common side effects include:

Nausea and Vomiting

Contrave can sometimes cause nausea and vomiting, particularly when starting the medication or increasing the dosage. These side effects are usually temporary and may subside over time.


Headaches are another commonly reported side effect. If you experience persistent or severe headaches, it is recommended to consult your healthcare provider for further evaluation.


Some individuals may experience dizziness. It is advisable to avoid activities that require alertness, such as driving or operating heavy machinery, until you know how the medication affects you.


Trouble sleeping or insomnia can occur as a side effect of Contrave. If insomnia persists or becomes bothersome, discussing it with your healthcare provider can help identify strategies to manage this side effect.

Dry Mouth

Contrave may cause a dry mouth sensation. Staying hydrated and chewing sugar-free gum can help alleviate this discomfort.


Constipation is a potential side effect of Contrave. Increasing your fluid intake, consuming fiber-rich foods, and staying physically active can help prevent or relieve constipation.


On the other hand, some individuals may experience diarrhea while taking Contrave. If diarrhea persists or becomes severe, it is advisable to consult your healthcare provider.

Increased Blood Pressure

It has the potential to elevate blood pressure in some individuals. Regular monitoring of blood pressure is necessary while taking this medication.

Increased Heart Rate

An increased heart rate is another possible side effect of Contrave. Individuals with pre-existing heart conditions should exercise caution and consult their healthcare provider for guidance.

Mood Changes

It can affect mood and may lead to changes such as anxiety, irritability, or depression. If you notice significant mood changes while taking Contrave, it is important to seek medical advice.

Allergic Reactions

Although rare, allergic reactions to Contrave can occur. Signs of an allergic reaction may include rash, itching, swelling, severe dizziness, or difficulty breathing. If you experience any of these symptoms, seek immediate medical attention.

Managing Side Effects

To manage the effects of Contrave and minimize any potential side effects, follow these guidelines:

  • Consult your healthcare provider: It is crucial to work closely with your healthcare provider throughout your Contrave treatment. They will monitor your progress, assess any side effects, and make necessary adjustments to your dosage or treatment plan.
  • Follow the prescribed dosage: Take Contrave exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Do not increase or decrease the dosage without consulting them first. Adhering to the prescribed dosage helps maintain the medication’s effectiveness and reduces the risk of side effects.
  • Be mindful of your body: Pay attention to how your body reacts to Contrave. If you notice any unusual or concerning symptoms, such as severe headaches, mood changes, or allergic reactions, inform your healthcare provider immediately.
  • Stay hydrated: Drinking an adequate amount of water throughout the day is essential. It can help prevent or alleviate side effects like dry mouth and constipation.
  • Manage nausea and vomiting: If you experience nausea or vomiting while taking Contrave, try taking the medication with food or immediately after a meal. This can help reduce gastrointestinal discomfort.
  • Address sleep disturbances: If you encounter insomnia or sleep disturbances, establish a consistent sleep routine and create a sleep-friendly environment. Avoid caffeine and stimulating activities before bedtime. If sleep problems persist, consult your healthcare provider for further guidance.
  • Take precautions with driving and operating machinery: Some individuals may experience dizziness or drowsiness while taking Contrave. If you feel these effects, avoid driving or operating heavy machinery until you know how the medication affects you.
  • Maintain a balanced diet: Contrave is intended to complement a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet and regular exercise. Eating nutritious meals and engaging in physical activity can enhance the weight loss benefits of Contrave and contribute to overall well-being.
  • Monitor blood pressure: Regularly monitor your blood pressure while taking Contrave, especially if you have a history of hypertension or cardiovascular conditions. Report any significant changes or concerns to your healthcare provider.
  • Stay in touch with your healthcare provider: Keep regular follow-up appointments with your healthcare provider to assess your progress, discuss any side effects, and make any necessary adjustments to your treatment plan.

Contrave is an effective medication for weight management, but it can come with potential side effects. Being aware of these common side effects allows individuals to make informed decisions and seek appropriate medical guidance if needed. Remember to discuss any concerns or questions with your healthcare provider.

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