FDA approves new weight-loss drug Contrave, but who is it for?

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. regulators are greenlighting a new weight-loss drug called Contrave, the third in a string of approvals for anti-obesity treatments.

The drug is made by Orexigen Therapeutics Inc., based in La Jolla, California. The Food and Drug Administration said Thursday it is approved for use by people who have a body mass index of 30 or higher, which is the level at which people are considered to be obese. It is also approved for use by people with a BMI of 27 or higher who also have a weight-related medical condition such as diabetes.

In addition to Contrave, the FDA has approved Qsymia from Vivus Inc. and Belviq from Arena Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Sales of the drugs have been below expectations because of limited insurance coverage and high costs for patients.