Foods To Avoid on Contrave
Contrave, a combination of bupropion and naltrexone, is an FDA-approved medication prescribed for treating obesity. Contrave is most often recommended to assist emotional eaters who experience intense food cravings to resist these cravings and lose weight.
Obesity is a chronic disease that is associated with over 200 other chronic diseases. Using an effective weight-loss medication, like Contrave, can help people with obesity shed excess pounds and improve their body composition.
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All medications have side effects and potential interactions with other medicines and foods. When taking Contrave, avoid consuming fatty foods, as they can increase Contrave drug levels and increase your risk of seizures. If you have questions about the interaction between Contrave and fatty foods, talk to your doctor or pharmacist before filling your Contrave prescription.
Examples of Fatty Foods To Avoid On Contrave
Contrave combines naltrexone, an opioid antagonist, and bupropion, an aminoketone antidepressant. Contrave is prescribed, along with a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity, to induce weight loss in people with obesity or who are overweight and have at least one weight-related medical condition.
Bupropion can cause seizures, and the risk increases as the dose increases. The incidence of seizures in patients taking Contrave during clinical trials was 0.1%. Contrave should not be prescribed to people with an increased risk of seizures.
Fatty foods can increase the absorption and concentration of Contrave in the body. More Contrave is released into the bloodstream too quickly, increasing the seizure risk. When Contrave was given with a high-fat meal in clinical trials, the highest concentration of bupropion rose by 1.8 times and the highest concentration of naltrexone rose by 3.7 times.
Contrave is an extended-release oral tablet that is dosed every 12 hours. According to Drugs.com, waiting at least two hours after taking your Contrave dose before consuming a high-fat meal is advisable.
When taking Contrave, follow the dosage instructions carefully. According to the manufacturer, Contrave is dosed:
|Morning Dose||Evening dose||Total daily dose|
|Week 1||one tablet||none||8 mg naltrexone/90 mg bupropion|
|Week 2||one tablet||one tablet||16 mg naltrexone/180 mg bupropion|
|Week 3||two tablets||one tablet||24 mg naltrexone/270 mg bupropion|
|Week 4 and after||two tablets||two tablets||32 mg naltrexone/360 mg bupropion|
Avocado is considered a high-fat fruit. It contains approximately 22 grams of fat. Of these, 15 grams are monounsaturated fat, 4 grams are polyunsaturated fat, and 3 grams are saturated fat. Since most of the fat in avocados is monounsaturated, avocados are considered a source of healthy fat.
While avocados contain nutrients such as carotenoids, monounsaturated fats, potassium, and fiber, they should be avoided while taking Contrave.
Butter is a dairy product containing approximately 11.52 grams of fat per 100 grams. Of this, about 7.29 grams are saturated fat, the fat associated with an increased risk of heart disease.
It is best to minimize butter use while taking Contrave, and when consuming a reduced-calorie diet, try substituting olive oil or reduced-fat plant spreads. Keep in mind that while these provide healthier sources of fat, they still contain 5 to 6 grams of fat per serving.
Different cheeses have varying levels of fat. However, soft cheeses are the highest in fat. Low-fat cheeses like cottage cheese and part-skim mozzarella typically contain about 3 grams of fat per serving. Reduced-fat cheeses weigh in with 5-6 grams of fat. Regular cheeses have 10 grams or more of fat. Blue cheese and full-fat cream cheese can have 13 grams or more fat per serving.
Eggs contain about 5 grams of fat per large egg. The fat content is primarily in the egg yolk. Eggs are a great source of healthy fats and proteins, but they can be problematic when taken with Contrave.
Unlike some of the other fats on this list, fried foods are unhealthy fat sources. They should be minimized when planning a reduced-calorie diet.
Fried foods to avoid include:
- French fries
- Fried chicken
- Mozzarella sticks
- Fried vegetables
In addition to concerns about seizure risk, Contrave can cause side effects such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomachaches. Consuming fried foods while taking Contrave can worsen these symptoms.
Avoid fatty cuts of meat, such as pork chops, sausage, pepperoni, skirt steak, ribs, poultry skin, and processed meat products.
Other higher-fat foods to avoid
Avoid consuming these other high-fat foods:
- Sour cream
- Ice cream
- Whole milk
- Bakery products
In addition to avoiding fatty foods, avoid alcohol use when taking Contrave. Rarely, people consuming alcohol while taking Contrave experience serious neuropsychiatric events. Excessive use or abrupt discontinuation of alcohol can also precipitate a seizure.
What To Do If You Eat Fatty Foods While on Contrave
Dieting is hard; everyone consumes foods they wish they didn’t when trying to lose excess weight. Whether you are bored, stressed, or dealing with mood swings from dieting, it is easy to reach for high-calorie, high-fat comfort food to feel better.
Always talk to your doctor or pharmacist before making any changes to your medication dosing schedule. If you have recently consumed a high-fat meal, they may suggest delaying or decreasing the dose.
To prevent food-medication interactions, ask your doctor for a referral to a dietician. They can help you plan a reduced-calorie diet that is low in fat and incorporates some of your favorite foods.
What to Eat On Contrave
Contrave is meant to be taken with a reduced-calorie, nutritionally balanced diet. Choose a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, lean sources of proteins, low-fat dairy products, and high in fiber.
Skinless poultry, lean cuts of meat, and fish are great alternatives to fatty meats.
Low-fat or light margarine can frequently be used in place of butter or shortening.
Choose low-fat cottage cheese or tofu instead of cream cheese.
Look for ways to substitute egg whites in recipes instead of using whole eggs.
Whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, and whole wheat pasta are high in fiber and keep you feeling full longer.
If you are at increased risk of seizures or have side effects from taking Contrave, your doctor may prescribe a weight-loss medication in a different class.
Contrave alternatives include:
- Phentermine/topiramate: Combines an adrenergic agonist or stimulant (phentermine) and anti-seizure medication (topiramate) to promote weight loss.
- Liraglutide: This GLP-1 receptor mimetic is used to treat type 2 diabetes, support weight loss, and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. It slows stomach emptying and helps you feel full longer.
- Semaglutide: This GLP-1 receptor mimetic is used to treat type 2 diabetes and promote weight loss. It increases insulin release, modulates appetite, and helps you feel full longer.
- Tirzepatide: Tirzepatide is a GIP and GLP-1 receptor agonist that decreases blood sugar, lowers HbA1C, reduces hunger, and helps you feel full longer.
- LipoB12: Combines three lipotropics (methionine, inositol, and choline) with vitamin B12 to support your weight-loss efforts.
- LDN Boost: Combines naltrexone, oxytocin, and vitamin B12 to support weight loss and reduce cravings.
While we strive to always provide accurate, current, and safe advice in all of our articles and guides, it’s important to stress that they are no substitute for medical advice from a doctor or healthcare provider. You should always consult a practicing professional who can diagnose your specific case. The content we’ve included in this guide is merely meant to be informational and does not constitute medical advice.
1. Sherman MM, Ungureanu S, Rey JA. Naltrexone/Bupropion ER (Contrave): Newly Approved Treatment Option for Chronic Weight Management in Obese Adults. P T. 2016 Mar;41(3):164-72. PMID: 26957883; PMCID: PMC4771085.