FDA Approves New Obesity Drug; Takeda Staffs Up Reps

Sept. 16, 2014

Last Wednesday, the FDA approved the new obesity drug, Contrave, developed by Orexigen Therapeutics and marketed by Takeda Pharmaceuticals.

Contrave is the third new obesity prescription drug approved since 2012. Sales for the other two drugs, Vivus' Qsymia and Arena Pharmaceuticals' Belviq, have been disappointing. When Contrave hits the market this fall, Takeda's push will include samples, speakers and 900 Takeda sales representatives, some making only Contrave-focused visits, while others will be pushing Contrave as well as Takeda's diabetes medications.

Contrave is a combination of two existing generic drugs -- naltrexone, used to treat alcohol and opioid dependence and bupropion, approved under the name Wellbutrin to treat depression and Zyban to help people quit smoking.

The FDA denied Contrave approval in 2011 because there were signs that it raised pulse rates and blood pressure. But new studies have demonstrated that the drug does not raise the risk of heart attack.

Read the MM&M article