Contrave's Dosage: What to Know

Medically Reviewed By Victor Nguyen, PharmD, MBA

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Drugs that treat depression have a risk of suicidal thoughts or behaviors. Bupropion is prescribed to treat depression, and it is one of the active drugs in Contrave. (Contrave is not approved to treat depression.) Because it contains bupropion, it’s possible that Contrave may increase the risk of suicidal thoughts or behaviors.

This risk is for children and adults ages 24 years and younger. However, Contrave is not approved for use in children.

If you take Contrave, your doctor likely will monitor you for signs of this risk. These would include new or worsening suicidal thoughts or behaviors. The risk may be increased if you’re just starting Contrave or recently changed dosages.

Discuss this risk with your doctor if you have concerns about taking Contrave.

Contrave: Introduction

Contrave is a brand-name prescription medication that contains the active drugs naltrexone and bupropion. Naltrexone belongs to the class of drugs called opioid antagonists. Bupropion belongs to the class of drugs called antidepressants. Contrave is not available in a generic form.

This medication has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for long-term weight management in adults with specific factors.

In this article, you’ll find additional information about Contrave’s dosage and details on how to take the drug. You can also review a comprehensive article on Contrave for more information. It discusses the specific factors noted above, situations in which Contrave is not recommended, and more.

Finding a healthcare professional

If you’re interested in taking Contrave, search here to find a doctor who might prescribe it.

This article describes typical recommended dosages for Contrave. These dosages are provided by the drug’s manufacturer.

Always follow the dosage of Contrave that your doctor prescribes.

Contrave: Dosage

The commonly recommended dosage for Contrave is shown below.

You should take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. They’ll recommend the dosage that’s best for your condition.

Contrave’s form and strength

Contrave comes as an extended-release tablet that is taken by mouth. (Extended release means it releases the drug into your body slowly over time after you take it.) It comes in one strength that contains 8 milligrams (mg) of naltrexone and 90 mg of bupropion.

Typical recommended dosage

Usually, doctors will begin Contrave treatment with a low starting dosage of Contrave (your starting dose). Then, they’ll adjust that over time to the dosage you’ll take long term (your maintenance dose).

Contrave dosage chart

The dosage chart (or dosing schedule) below shows Contrave’s recommended dosage for weight loss. Your doctor will prescribe the dosage of Contrave that’s right for your condition.

Week of treatment Dose Frequency
1 8 mg naltrexone/90 mg bupropion • 1 tablet, taken in the morning
2 16 mg naltrexone/180 mg bupropion • 1 tablet, taken in the morning, and
• 1 tablet, taken in the evening
3 24 mg naltrexone/270 mg bupropion • 2 tablets, taken in the morning, and
• 1 tablet, taken in the evening
4 and later 32 mg naltrexone/360 mg bupropion • 2 tablets, taken in the morning, and
• 2 tablets, taken in the evening

The dosage you’ll take at week 4 is likely the dosage you’ll take long term.

Length of treatment

Doctors typically prescribe Contrave as a long-term treatment. You’ll likely take it long term if you and your doctor feel it’s safe and effective for your condition.

However, you and your doctor may find that Contrave isn’t working for you. This may be assessed within the first 12 weeks of treatment. In that case, they likely will recommend a different treatment.

Contrave: Common questions about dosage

Below are some common questions related to Contrave’s dosage.

Is there a best time to take an evening dose of Contrave?

No, there isn’t a best time to take an evening dose of Contrave. Generally, you’ll take a dose in the morning and in the evening.

You can take Contrave at times you are likely to remember. However, doctors usually recommended taking the doses 12 hours apart.

Talk with your doctor or pharmacist about times to take Contrave that best suit your schedule.

What is the dose of naltrexone and the dose of bupropion in Contrave?

Each tablet of Contrave contains 8 milligrams (mg) of naltrexone and 90 mg of bupropion. Refer to the dosage chart in the “Contrave: Dosage” section above. It shows the dose of naltrexone and bupropion during each week of treatment.

If you have more questions about your dose of Contrave, ask your doctor.

Is there a certain Wellbutrin dose I can take with Contrave?

Wellbutrin and Contrave should not be taken in combination. This is because both contain the same active drug called bupropion. Taking both medications in combination could result in too much bupropion in your body.

Talk with your doctor to learn more. They can tell you about medications you may take in combination with Contrave. They also can tell you about medications you should avoid in combination with it.

Contrave: Dosage considerations

Your doctor will consider several factors when prescribing the dosage for Contrave. These factors include:

  • your age
  • other medications you’re taking
  • how well your liver and kidneys work

Recommended adjustments in dosage

Tell your doctor if you have liver or kidney problems. This could mean your liver or kidneys don’t function as well as they should. In this case, your doctor may prescribe a dosage of Contrave lower than the typical dosage.

If you’re taking certain other medications, your doctor may lower your daily dosage of Contrave. Tell your doctor before you start or stop taking any other medications.

Contrave: How to take

Contrave comes as an extended-release tablet. (Extended release means it releases the drug into your body slowly over time after you take it.) You’ll take the tablets by swallowing them whole. Do not chew, split, or crush the tablets.

If you have difficulty swallowing tablets, view this article. It provides suggestions on how to take this form of medication. Also, talk with your doctor or pharmacist about taking your medication.

You can take Contrave with or without food. If you take it with food, do not eat a high fat meal. Doing so could increase the amount of Contrave in your body. Additionally, too much Contrave could increase your risk of side effects.

ACCESSIBLE DRUG LABELS AND CONTAINERS

If you find it challenging to read the label on your prescription, tell your doctor or pharmacist. Certain pharmacies provide medication labels with large print or braille. They also may offer labels containing a scannable code that your smartphone can convert from text to speech. If your pharmacy doesn’t provide these choices, your doctor or pharmacist may be able to recommend a pharmacy that does.

If it’s difficult for you to open medication bottles, ask your pharmacist if they can dispense Contrave in an easy-open container. They also may recommend ways to help make it easier to open the bottles.

Contrave: Missing a dose

If you miss a dose of Contrave, skip it and take your next dose at the usual time. Do not take an extra dose of Contrave to make up for the missed dose.

View these medication reminder options to help avoid missing doses. You could also set an alarm or download a reminder app on your phone.

Contrave: Overdose

For some drugs, taking more than the recommended dosage may lead to unwanted side effects or overdose. Do not take more Contrave than your doctor prescribes.

What to do if you take too much Contrave

Call your doctor if you think you’ve taken too much of this drug. Also, you can call the American Association of Poison Control Centers at 800-222-1222 or use its online tool. However, if your symptoms are severe, call 911 or a local emergency number. Or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

Contrave: What to discuss with your doctor

Talk with your doctor or pharmacist for additional information about Contrave’s dosage. Keep in mind that the dosage presented in this article is the typical dosage provided by the drug’s manufacturer. Your doctor will recommend the dosage of Contrave that’s right for you and your condition. Always follow the dosage that your doctor prescribes for you.

As with any medications you’re taking, do not change your Contrave dosage without a recommendation from your doctor.

In addition to discussing Contrave with your doctor, you may find the following articles helpful in learning more.

  • Overview of Contrave. For comprehensive details on Contrave, see this article.
  • Information on side effects. If you’d like to know about possible side effects of Contrave, view this article.
  • Details about body weight and obesity. To learn more about body weight and obesity, which Contrave is taken to manage, see this selection of articles.

Disclaimer: Healthgrades has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.


Medical Reviewer: Victor Nguyen, PharmD, MBA
Last Review Date: 2022 Nov 9
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