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Contrave dosage: A detailed guide

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Doctors prescribe Contrave for weight loss. It should be taken with regular exercise and a balanced diet. You take it by mouth twice per day.
Medically reviewed by Joshana K. Goga PharmD MBA BCPP
Updated on

This article describes Contrave’s dosages and strengths and gives details on how to take it. You’ll also find information on cost savings and coupon options for Contrave. If you want to know more about Contrave, see this overview article. It covers details about the drug’s uses and side effects, ways to save on cost, and more.

Contrave is a brand-name medication that comes as extended-release tablets that you swallow. It isn’t available in a generic version. This article describes dosages of Contrave.

Note: “Extended release” means the drug is slowly released into your body over a long period of time.

Boxed warning: Risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors

Contrave has a boxed warning for the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

See the end of this article for more information about this warning.

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Form and strength of Contrave

Contrave comes as follows:

  • Form: extended-release tablets that you swallow
  • Strength: 8 milligrams (mg) naltrexone/90 mg bupropion

Dosage of Contrave

This article describes the recommended dosage for Contrave. The drugmaker provides these dosages.

If your doctor prescribes this medication, you should follow the dosage they prescribe. Your doctor will determine the dosage that best meets your needs. Do not change your dosage of Contrave without your doctor’s recommendation.

Usual recommended dosage of Contrave in adults

Usually, doctors start by prescribing a low dosage of Contrave. Then, they’ll increase your dosage over time until the recommended dosage is reached.

Dosage for weight loss and weight management

The following table shows the recommended dosage schedule of Contrave for weight loss.

WeekMorning doseEvening dose
1one tabletnone
2one tabletone tablet
3two tabletsone tablet
4 and ontwo tabletstwo tablets

Dosage adjustments for Contrave

Your doctor will prescribe a dosage of Contrave based on several factors. These include:

  • the specific condition being treated and how severe it is
  • your age
  • other health conditions you may have
  • other medications you take

Missed dose of Contrave

Talk with your doctor or pharmacist right away if you realize you forgot to take a dose of Contrave. They may advise you to skip it and take your next dose as scheduled.

For tips on how to plan your doses of Contrave and avoid missing a dose, read this article. You could also try:

  • downloading a reminder app on your phone
  • setting an alarm
  • putting a note where you’ll see it, such as on your calendar, bathroom mirror, or bedside table

Frequently asked questions

Below are answers to some commonly asked questions about Contrave and its dosage.

How long does it take Contrave to start working?

Every person responds differently to Contrave. But in studies, most participants experienced significant weight loss after 4 weeks of starting Contrave.

If you have more questions about this, talk with your doctor.

When is the best time to take the evening dose of Contrave?

The drugmaker hasn’t specified the best time to take the evening dose of Contrave. Take your evening dose of Contrave at a time that works for you. But keep in mind that your morning and evening dose of Contrave should be taken 12 hours apart.

If you have more questions about when to take Contrave, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

How many hours should there be between my doses of Contrave?

You should take your morning and evening doses of Contrave 12 hours apart.

If you have more questions about this, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Is Contrave taken long term?

Yes, doctors typically prescribe Contrave as a long-term treatment. If you and your doctor determine that it’s safe and effective for your condition, you’ll likely take it long term. But if Contrave doesn’t work for you within 12 weeks, your doctor may have you stop taking the drug.

If you have questions about how long you should take Contrave, talk with your doctor.

How Contrave is taken

You’ll swallow Contrave twice per day, once in the morning and once in the evening. You can take it with or without food. But avoid taking it with a high fat meal. Doing so can affect the absorption of Contrave and increase your risk of side effects.

Your doctor may advise that you take this medication around the same time each day. This helps keep a consistent amount of the drug in your body. And that can help the drug work more effectively.

Swallow Contrave tablets whole. You should not cut, chew, or crush them. If it’s hard for you to swallow tablets, view this article. It provides suggestions on how to swallow medications that come in pill form.

Also, be sure to talk with your doctor or pharmacist if you’re having difficulty taking your medication. They can offer recommendations about taking it.

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Overdose of Contrave

It’s important that you do not take more Contrave than your doctor prescribes. Doing so can lead to harmful effects.

Symptoms of Contrave overdose

Symptoms of an overdose can include:

  • seizures
  • hallucinations
  • loss of consciousness
  • changes in your mental state
  • fast heart rate
  • irregular heart rhythms
  • muscle jerking or twitching

What to do if you take too much Contrave

If you think you’ve taken too much Contrave, call your doctor or pharmacist right away. Or you could call 800-222-1222 to speak with someone at America’s Poison Centers. You can also use its online resource. If you have severe symptoms, call 911 or a local emergency number immediately. You can also go to the closest emergency room.

What to ask your doctor

This article describes the usual recommended dosage for Contrave. If your doctor prescribes this medication, they’ll determine the dosage that’s best for you.

Do not change your dosage of Contrave without your doctor’s recommendation. You should take Contrave exactly as your doctor prescribes it. Let your doctor know if you have concerns or questions about your treatment plan.

Here’s a list of some possible questions you may want to ask your doctor:

  • Will a higher dosage of Contrave increase my risk of side effects?
  • How long will I take Contrave?
  • Can I stay on a lower dosage of Contrave if it’s working well for me?

Boxed warning for Contrave

Contrave has a boxed warning for the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the FDA.

If you’re age 24 years or younger, taking Contrave can raise your risk of having suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Due to this risk, it’s important that you and your loved ones watch closely for any changes in your mood, behaviors, and thoughts.

If you have thoughts of suicide during Contrave treatment, call the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988. Or tell your doctor right away. You can also refer to this article for ways to seek support.

Doctors typically won’t prescribe Contrave for children younger than age 18 years.

You can talk with your doctor to learn more about this warning.

Disclaimer: Optum Perks 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.

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