Like many Americans, you may be actively seeking the right weight loss medication to support you on your weight loss journey.

If you’ve heard of both Ozempic and Contrave and are wondering which one may be the better fit for you, read on to learn more!

What Is Ozempic?

Ozempic is a prescription medication with the active ingredient semaglutide. It is indicated for lowering and regulating blood sugar levels in patients with Type 2 Diabetes and reduces the risk of major cardiovascular events (such as heart attack and stroke) in patients with Type 2 Diabetes and diagnosed cardiovascular disease. Ozempic also promotes healthy weight loss in patients with Type 2 Diabetes and is sometimes prescribed off-label to support weight loss in obese or overweight patients without Type 2 Diabetes.

Ozempic’s sister drug, Wegovy, is identical to Ozempic except that it comes at a higher dose of 2.4 mg (Ozempic’s highest dose is 2 mg). While Ozempic has not been officially approved as a weight loss drug, Wegovy has been FDA-approved for weight loss in adults since 2021 and teens since 2022.

Ozempic and Wegovy are both delivered via once-weekly injection and come in prefilled single-patient-use pens. They must be refrigerated before being opened and injected in rotation under the skin of the thigh, abdomen, or upper arm.

What Is Contrave?

Contrave is a prescription weight loss medication that is indicated for patients with obesity (BMI over 30) or who are overweight (BMI over 27) with at least one weight-related health problem (high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, etc.). It’s a combination medication that blends 8 mg of naltrexone (an opioid antagonist used on its own to treat alcohol and opioid use disorders) with 90 mg of bupropion (an antidepressant and smoking cessation drug).

Contrave is taken orally twice daily (typically 2 extended-release tablets in the morning and 2 in the evening) and is only recommended for weight management in adults.

How Do They Work for Weight Loss?

Ozempic and Contrave function differently in the body and support weight loss through different mechanisms. Let’s take a closer look:

Semaglutide (Ozempic and Wegovy) is known as a GLP-1 receptor agonist. This class of drugs imitates a hormone found naturally in the gut (glucagon-like peptide 1 or GLP-1) and triggers physical responses in the body by selectively binding to GLP-1 receptor sites. It helps control blood sugar levels by stimulating insulin secretion and inhibiting glucagon production. It also slows down digestion (specifically, the rate at which food leaves the stomach) and promotes feelings of satiety (fullness). In turn, this reduces food cravings and makes it easier to take in smaller portions without feeling hungry.

Contrave’s exact mechanism of function is still being studied, but the drug is believed to impact the areas of the brain responsible for appetite and energy expenditure. Reward centers involving food intake, cravings, and mood are stimulated, making it easier to avoid overeating. Contrave may be particularly beneficial for patients who eat when they are stressed or whose weight gain is tied to mental health conditions like depression and anxiety.

Both Ozempic and Contrave are meant to support weight loss in combination with healthy lifestyle choices. A low-calorie diet and regular exercise are key components of losing weight on either drug.

Ozempic Vs. Contrave: Side Effects

As with any medications, Ozempic and Contrave both come with a list of potential side effects. While many are mild and may resolve over time, others are more serious. Below is an overview of the side effects to be aware of for each drug:

Ozempic Side Effects

Mild side effects may include:

  • Nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation
  • Headache, dizziness
  • Injection site reactions

More serious side effects may include:

  • Gallbladder, liver, kidney, or pancreas issues
  • Severe allergic reactions
  • Vision problems
  • Severe hypoglycemia
  • Thyroid tumors

Ozempic is not recommended for patients under 18 years of age, those with a personal or family history of certain types of thyroid cancer, those who are allergic to any of the ingredients in Ozempic, or those who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or trying to become pregnant. Speak with your doctor for more information.

Contrave Side Effects

Mild side effects may include:

  • Nausea, constipation, diarrhea, vomiting
  • Headache, dizziness
  • Insomnia
  • Dry mouth

More serious side effects may include:

  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Liver issues
  • Seizures
  • Mood changes
  • Suicidal ideation and behavior
  • Vision problems
  • Severe allergic reactions

Contrave is not recommended for patients under 18 years of age, those with liver disease, seizures, uncontrolled high blood pressure, or a history of eating disorders. Any mood changes, depression, or suicidal thoughts should be immediately reported to a healthcare professional. For more information, speak with your doctor.

Ozempic Interactions

Ozempic is often taken with other Diabetes medications, such as insulin, which in some instances, can lead to low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Your doctor will monitor your blood sugar levels and adjust the dosages of each medication accordingly. Ozempic can also interact with albuterol, furosemide, hydrochlorothiazide, levothyroxine, prednisone, and more. Ensure that your doctor is aware of all medications you are taking, including over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, and supplements, before you start weekly Ozempic injections.

Alcohol consumption should be limited (or avoided entirely) while taking Ozempic. Disease interactions include thyroid cancer, suicidal behavior and ideation, gastrointestinal conditions, hypoglycemia, pancreatitis, and retinopathy.

Contrave Interactions

Contrave is known to interact in potentially serious ways with a variety of other drugs including:

  • MAOIs (monoamine oxidase inhibitors)
  • CYP2B6 inhibitors and inducers
  • Drugs metabolized by CYP2D6 enzymes
  • Medications that contain opioids
  • Dopamine agonists
  • Medications that lower the seizure threshold

Disclose all your medications, supplements, and over-the-counter drugs to your doctor before you start taking Contrave, and consult a healthcare professional before you start any new medications (even natural supplements) while on Contrave.

Ozempic Cost

The cost of Ozempic is impacted by your insurance coverage. Out of pocket, the average price of one month’s supply of Ozempic in the U.S. is between $900-$1000.

Contrave Cost

The cost of Ozempic is also impacted by your insurance coverage, though many private insurance plans do not cover Contrave. Out of pocket, the average price of one month’s supply of Contrave in the U.S. is between $500-$700. Some patients may be eligible for the CurAccess Program, which can substantially reduce the price of Contrave.

Which One Is Right for You?

Determining which medication will be the right fit for your particular weight loss needs is a decision that must be made between you and your doctor. That being said, if blood sugar control is a goal for you, then Ozempic will almost certainly be the better option.

FAQ

Can You Take Contrave with Ozempic?

While there are no specific warnings against taking Ozempic and Contrave simultaneously, caution should always be exercised when combining two medications. Each drug comes with its own side effects and risks, which may be compounded by interactions with the other drug.

If your doctor believes that prescribing both Ozempic and Contrave may be beneficial to your health, they will carefully review the potential risks and benefits with you and monitor you closely as your body adjusts to the medications. You should never take Ozempic and Contrave (or any other medications) simultaneously without being advised to do so by your doctor.

When Will I Start Seeing Results?

With both Ozempic (or Wegovy) and Contrave, patients can expect to begin seeing results within a few weeks after starting to take the medication. Both medications have a low starting dose that is tapered up to a therapeutic dose over a period of weeks. Though patients may start to notice results even on the low starting dose, the most significant results will be noted once the therapeutic dose has been reached.

Does Insurance Cover Ozempic or Contrave?

The answer to this question depends on your insurance provider and plan, as well as the purpose of the drug prescription you have received. In the case of Ozempic, many insurance providers may offer coverage for the drug if it is prescribed to treat Type 2 Diabetes and related cardiovascular disease but not if it is prescribed off-label for weight loss management. Contact your insurance provider directly for more specifics.

Should I Stop Taking Ozempic or Contrave After I Reach My Weight Loss Goal?

Ozempic and Contrave are both long-term treatment options that are meant to complement healthy lifestyle choices. This means that, even if you achieve your weight loss goals, you will probably continue taking the drug you have been prescribed in order to maintain a healthy weight. Always speak with your doctor before discontinuing treatment with a prescription drug.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that Contrave and Ozempic (semaglutide) can both be effective weight loss drugs when taken as adjuncts to exercise and a healthy, reduced-calorie diet. Which medication will be the right choice for you will depend on a variety of factors, including your medical history, weight loss goals, and any other medications you may be taking.

If you suffer from Type 2 Diabetes and/or cardiovascular disease in addition to being obese or overweight, Ozempic may be the better drug option. Bear in mind that while Wegovy is approved for weight loss, Ozempic is not and must be prescribed off-label for this purpose.

Are you seeking high-quality Ozempic at an affordable price? Contact Bisonpharmacy.com today!

About the Author

Ida Edlweiss Gumpal is a licensed Pharmacist and medical writer. She took her internships at Mercury Drug Corporation, Inc., a Hospital internship at De Vera Medical Center, Inc., and a Manufacturing internship at Philmed Laboratories, Inc. She has plans on attending medical school with the goal of specializing in Neurosurgery or Cardiothoracic surgery.