• Addiction & recovery

Bupropion Naltrexone

Nzinga Harrison

May 26, 2021


Bupropion naltrexone, marketed as Contrave and Mysimba, is a fixed-dose combination drug used to treat chronic obesity in adults. It’s also used off-label as a treatment for meth addiction. Bupropion naltrexone is a prescription medication that is available as an extended-release tablet. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved naltrexone to treat alcohol and opioid dependence and bupropion as a treatment medication for depression and seasonal affective disorder and as an aid to smoking cessation. However, the combination of both compounds was never approved by the FDA for the treatment of meth addiction. 

Bupropion Naltrexone for Obesity Management

According to the  National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), obesity is a disease that is characterized by excess body fat that’s produced from an energy imbalance resulting from excess consumption of calories compared to the energy expenditure of the body. 

Obesity is closely linked to an increased risk of mortality and morbidity when combined with a number of other diseases, the most common of which are diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Obesity and its related disorders are becoming more common around the world, prompting the diagnosis of obesity as a disease rather than a natural human condition.

As a remedy to this ever-growing concern, the United States and Europe approved the bupropion-naltrexone combination pill for the treatment of obesity. Bupropion naltrexone is prescribed as a weight loss medication to help individuals with a higher body mass index (BMI) and have at least one weight-related medical condition like high blood pressure, reduce and maintain weight. 

If your BMI is higher than the recommended levels, your doctor can prescribe bupropion-naltrexone to help you manage weight. This medication is only effective when combined with a doctor-approved workout regimen, behavior modification, and a low-calorie diet plan to help people lose and manage weight. 

Hunger and cravings are two of the main weight loss obstacles that the brain controls. When you’re hungry, your brain reminds you that you need nutrients, and any food can fulfill this need. Cravings occur when the brain desires specific foods, even when you’re not hungry. And as such, our brains can be an obstacle in the battle to lose weight. Contrave is used to help suppress hunger and food cravings. Bupropion in Contrave assists in appetite control, and Naltrexone acts by inhibiting cravings by blocking specific receptors in the brain.

The combination of naltrexone and bupropion has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for weight loss and management. This medication can only be used for weight loss under the close supervision of a physician. 

Bupropion Naltrexone in Meth Addiction Treatment 

Methamphetamine was first used in nasal decongestants and bronchial inhalers in the early twentieth century after being synthesized from its parent drug, amphetamine. Methamphetamine induces a pleasurable feeling of well-being and euphoria and an increase in activity, talkativeness, and decrease in appetite. Since then, methamphetamine use disorder has reached epidemic levels in the U.S., particularly in rural and semi-rural areas. 

Methamphetamine misuse (amphetamine use disorder) can lead to various physical and psychological impairments. And some of these health issues can be fatal. Methamphetamine is so strong that it forms a habit almost immediately after its use. 


Methamphetamine causes damages to key brain receptors, making users unable to experience pleasure without the use of meth.  While there are some medications that may help with methamphetamine addiction, in-depth counseling and therapy are necessary for a full recovery. 


Methamphetamine withdrawal and detox can be very difficult and are often cited as the primary reason people cannot stop using meth on their own. Not only is withdrawal painful, but it can also be hazardous to one’s health and wellbeing. So if you wish to overcome methamphetamine addiction, seek immediate medical help from an addiction specialist to help with withdrawal and start your journey towards prolonged recovery.


The severity of methamphetamine withdrawal may vary depending on several factors, such as how long and how much methamphetamine the person has taken and how dependent they are on meth. As a rule of thumb, the longer a person was on methamphetamine, the worse the withdrawal symptoms tend to be. 

Although most symptoms go away within the first week of withdrawal, individuals can have severe problems trying to cope with certain symptoms like psychosis on their own. Thus, it is highly advisable to utilize a treatment program to address meth dependence.  

The combination of bupropion naltrexone is now one of many medications used for methamphetamine use disorders. The benefits of bupropion naltrexone are significant throughout the detox and withdrawal phases of meth addiction treatment. 


Bupropion is a stimulant-like antidepressant, and it acts through the dopamine and norepinephrine systems. It can relieve the dysphoria associated with methamphetamine withdrawal, which generally is the cause of most relapses. Naltrexone, an opioid receptor blocker, is beneficial for managing drug cravings. Naltrexone’s medicinal properties can greatly support a person in recovery by lowering their risk of relapse and help them concentrate on other facets of rehabilitation. 


The medication has shown promising results in the latest methamphetamine addiction treatment studies. According to a study published by the National Library of Medicine (NLM), bupropion naltrexone showed great promise as an effective treatment against methamphetamine use disorder. Furthermore, since each medication has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for other applications, clinicians are now utilizing this combination to treat people addicted to methamphetamines. 

Who Should Avoid Using Bupropion Naltrexone

You should not use this medicine if you are allergic to bupropion or naltrexone.  If you have any of the following, speak with your physician before taking Bupropion Naltrexone.

  • Untreated or uncontrolled high blood pressure
  • An eating disorder (anorexia or bulimia)
  • A history of seizures
  • If you’re pregnant
  • People experiencing opioid addiction or withdrawal (or if you take methadone or buprenorphine)
  • If you’re taking other forms of bupropion 
  • People in the early stages of cessation for substances such as alcohol, seizure medication, or sedatives


This medication should not be given to children or adolescents as they may raise blood pressure, heart rate and increase the risk of suicidal ideation.

Bupropion Naltrexone - Eleanor Health

Bupropion Naltrexone Side Effects

Some of the most common side effects of this combination medication include:

  • Blurred vision
  • discouragement
  • dizziness
  • fear or nervousness
  • feeling sad or empty
  • headache
  • irritability
  • lack of appetite
  • loss of interest or pleasure
  • pounding in the ears
  • slow or fast heartbeat
  • trouble concentrating
  • trouble sleeping
  • unusual tiredness or weakness


Most bupropion naltrexone side effects typically do not require medical attention. As your body adjusts to the drug, these side effects can fade away during treatment. 

In addition, your health care provider will be able to advise you on how to avoid or mitigate any of these side effects.

The more severe but less common side effects may include:

  • Bladder pain
  • bloody or cloudy urine
  • difficult, burning, or painful urination
  • fast or irregular  heartbeat or pulse
  • frequent urge to urinate
  • lower back or side pain
  • shakiness or trembling in the legs, arms, hands, or feet


Do not crush or chew this medication as it can release all of the drugs all at once and increase the risk of seizures. It’s also vital that you don’t increase your dose, take it more often, or stop taking it without your doctor’s approval.


What Should I Avoid While Taking Bupropion and Naltrexone?

When you combine bupropion with alcohol, you run the risk of having a seizure. If you drink alcohol on a daily basis, consult your doctor before reducing your intake. In a frequent drinker who unexpectedly stops drinking, bupropion can cause seizures.


Any limits on food, drinks, or exercise should be followed according to your doctor’s instructions. Do not use any other weight-loss aids or diet pills unless specified by your doctor.

When taking bupropion naltrexone, do not use narcotic medications, methadone, methamphetamine, or other street drugs. This may lead to adverse reactions such as coma and death.


When paired with dietary intervention and moderate calorie restriction, the bupropion-naltrexone combination appears to be very successful in the treatment of obesity. In the treatment of meth addiction, this combination drug has shown some promise when utilized with a comprehensive treatment program. However, more research is needed to better understand its efficacy and risks.

If you are seeking help with your loved one’s addiction, contact us today or complete our quick contact form below, to speak with an addiction treatment specialist.

If you need help with your substance use disorder, we are here to help you build your confidence and momentum towards the future you want. We provide treatment services for adults with alcohol, opioid, and other substance use disorders. We are currently located in LouisianaMassachusettsNew JerseyNorth CarolinaOhio, Texas, and Washington.

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