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Mounjaro vs Contrave for Weight Loss

Mounjaro vs Contrave

Mounjaro vs Contrave is a comparison of two common anti-obesity drugs: Tirzepatide and Naltrexone/Bupropion 

There is a long history of medications that have been used for obesity management. Back in the 18th century, vinegar was used as a treatment for obesity.

Nowadays, many serotonergic drugs and monoamine reuptake inhibitors are being used to treat obesity.

Obesity medications should be used in conjunction with a low-calorie diet in people with a BMI greater than 30kg/m2 or in patients with diabetes or CVD.

In this article, we will compare the weight loss effects of Mounjaro (Tirzepatide) and Contrave (naltrexone-bupropion).

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What is Contrave?

Contrave is a weight loss medication that is a combination of Naltrexone and bupropion. It is advised for adults with a BMI of 30 kg/m2 or higher.

It should be used in conjunction with a low-calorie diet to get the best weight loss results.

Contrave received FDA approval in September 2014.

What is Mounjaro?

Mounjaro is a medication prescribed for the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus. It is a dual receptor agonist (GLP-1 & GIP).

Although it is a treatment option for type 2 diabetes, Mounjaro is also known to cause significant weight loss. It has only been recently approved by the FDA for weight loss.

Ozempic is a GLP-1 agonist that has been approved in high doses for weight loss by the name Wegovy.

Another GLP-1 is Liraglutide which is also being used for the treatment of obesity and diabetes.

However, compared to both Ozempic and Saxenda, Mounjaro has been proven to be superior in terms of weight loss.

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Mounjaro vs Contrave for Weight Loss

Mounjaro for weight loss:

Tirzepatide (Mounjaro) mimics two hormones in the body:

  • GIP (glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide) and
  • GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1)

It is known as a “twincretin” because it acts on two different hunger hormone receptors.

The reported average weight loss caused by Tirzepatide is an amazing 22.5%, which is more than any other weight loss medication, and it continues to approach the numbers seen with bariatric surgery.

Tirzepatide functions similarly to Wegovy, an injectable medication that is currently approved for weight loss. However, the active ingredient in Wegovy (Semaglutide), only targets GLP-1 receptors and not GIP receptors.

Tirzepatide is the first medication to target both of these hormones’ receptors (chemical binding sites). This allows you to eat less while remaining satisfied for longer.

In a recent trial, the effect of Tirzepatide on obesity in people without diabetes was studied, it included adults over 18 years who were given Tirzepatide for 72- weeks along with lifestyle interventions that included a 500 deficit in daily calories and 150 minutes of daily physical activity.




Maximum Percentage weight loss22.5%6%

The results suggested that Tirzepatide 10 & 15 mg cause average weight loss of 19.5% and 20.9% respectively. This is reported to be the highest observed response to an anti-obesity medication as compared to other drugs. [Ref]

The same study also reported that Tirzepatide use was associated with changes in waist circumference and improvement in blood pressure and lipid profiles. The study participants with prediabetes reverted to normal glycemic levels.

According to one study, the average weight reduction caused by anti-obesity medications approved by the FDA ranges from 3.0% to 8.6%. [Ref]

Bariatric surgery causes approximately 25% to 30% weight loss. [Ref]

Tirzepatide causes an average weight loss of approximately 22%-25% which makes it the most significant medication for weight loss.


Contrave for weight loss:

Contrave is included in long-term weight loss management drugs. It is a combination of two drugs naltrexone and bupropion.

Contrave acts as an appetite suppressant. One of the two ingredients, Naltrexone is an opioid antagonist that suppresses appetite by interfering with the endorphin-mediated POMC auto-inhibition.

Whereas the other ingredient, Bupropion is an antidepressant, its anorectic mechanism of action involves dopamine inhibition and norepinephrine reuptake. As a result, appetite is suppressed and the intake of extra calories is avoided.

According to one study, Contrave was associated with 5% weight loss in 52 weeks. [Ref]

Another study reported that Naltrexone/Bupropion caused 4.2% weight loss but the study also suggests that this drug must not be used in hypertensive patients and its cardiovascular safety is also unclear. [Ref]

Combining the use of naltrexone and bupropion has a synergistic effect on appetite suppression and is involved in decreasing food carvings and an episode of binge eating in obese and overweight adults. [Ref]

A phase 3 study suggests that Naltrexone/Bupropion (360/32 mg per day) caused approximately 6% weight loss. [Ref]

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Dosage of Mounjaro Vs Contrave for weight loss:


Tirzepatide has recently been approved for weight loss. It is administered as a weekly injection starting from 2.5 mg for 4 weeks.

The dose is increased up to the maximum dose of 15 mg weekly.


Contrave treatment is initially started with a low dose which is escalated in the following weeks until dose maintenance.

  • The treatment is started with one tablet (8/90 mg) daily.
  • After that, it is increased to two tablets per day one in the morning and one tablet in the evening.
  • The dose can be further increased to two tablets in the morning and one tablet in the evening.
  • The maximum dose is four tablets per day.

Additionally, it is not recommended to start the medication without medical advice because the dosage might differ in people having liver or kidney problems.

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Mounjaro vs Contrave – Side Effects



More Common

  • Loss of appetite
  • Stomach aches
  • Bloating
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Heartburn
  • Upset stomach

Less common

  • Skin allergies
  • Low blood sugar
  • Anxiety and depression


More Common

  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Insomnia
  • Diarrhea

Less Common

  • Stomach aches
  • Fatigue
  • Frustration
  • Excessive sweating
  • High blood pressure
  • Ringing in ears
  • Anxiety
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In Conclusion

Mounjaro and Contrave, both medications cause weight loss but Mounjaro is associated with significantly greater weight loss as compared to Contrave.

However, Mounjaro has not been approved by the FDA as a weight loss medication therefore it must be used with caution in the non-diabetic population.

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What do you think?

Written by Dr. Ahmed

I am Dr. Ahmed (MBBS; FCPS Medicine), an Internist and a practicing physician. I am in the medical field for over fifteen years working in one of the busiest hospitals and writing medical posts for over 5 years.

I love my family, my profession, my blog, nature, hiking, and simple life. Read more about me, my family, and my qualifications

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