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Takeda and Orexigen Announce FDA Approval of Contrave® (naltrexone HCI and bupropion HCI) Extended-release Tablets for Chronic Weight Management

DEERFIELD, Ill., and LA JOLLA, Calif., Sept. 11, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Takeda Pharmaceuticals U.S.A., Inc. and Orexigen® Therapeutics, Inc. (Nasdaq: OREX) jointly announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Contrave® (naltrexone HCI and bupropion HCI) extended-release tablets as an adjunct to a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity for chronic weight management in adults with an initial body mass index (BMI) of 30 kg/m2 or greater (obese), or 27 kg/m2 or greater (overweight) in the presence of at least one weight-related comorbid condition.

"Some individuals seeking to manage their weight may require a treatment plan that includes more than lifestyle modification with diet and exercise," said Dr. Ken Fujioka, director, Center for Weight Management, Division of Diabetes and Endocrinology at Scripps Clinic. "Clinical trial data for Contrave demonstrates that this new treatment, when used as an adjunct to a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity, is a therapeutic option for some adults who are either overweight with a comorbidity, or obese. In my clinic, I often treat patients who fit these criteria, and now, with the approval of Contrave, I am excited to have a new treatment option to consider for my patients."

Contrave is an important addition to Takeda's portfolio of cardiometabolic products. Takeda is committed to providing patients with obesity with treatment options that help address their needs, and the company is planning to commercially launch Contrave in the fall of 2014.

The effect of Contrave on cardiovascular morbidity and mortality has not been established. In addition, the safety and effectiveness of Contrave in combination with other medications intended for weight loss, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, and herbal preparations, have not been established.

The exact neurochemical effects of Contrave leading to weight loss are not fully understood. Contrave has two components: naltrexone, an opioid antagonist, and bupropion, a relatively weak inhibitor of the neuronal reuptake of dopamine and norepinephrine. Nonclinical studies suggest that naltrexone and bupropion have effects on two separate areas of the brain involved in the regulation of food intake: the hypothalamus (appetite regulatory center) and the mesolimbic dopamine circuit (reward system).

"The FDA approval of Contrave is a significant milestone in Takeda's and Orexigen's commitment to leading innovation in medicine for patients and physicians dealing with chronic conditions and diseases, such as obesity," said Douglas Cole, president, Takeda Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. "It's important that physicians and appropriate patients have options when discussing weight management, especially when you look at the prevalence of obesity in today's society. We're excited about the addition of Contrave to our Cardiovascular and Metabolic Disease Portfolio."

"We are extremely proud of our team's work and commitment to the research and development efforts that have charted our path to Contrave approval," said Michael Narachi, CEO of Orexigen. "Takeda has been a great, contributing partner throughout this endeavor, and we at Orexigen now look forward to doing everything possible to support them as they bring Contrave to the U.S. market."

According to National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2012 estimates, approximately 35 percent, or one out of three, adults age 20 years or older were classified as obese based on a BMI of 30 kg/m2 or greater. Obesity has been recognized by the American Medical Association, as well as other medical and government organizations, as a chronic disease.

Contrave Clinical Trials Program

Four 56-week multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled obesity trials (CONTRAVE Obesity Research, or COR-I, COR-II, COR-BMOD, and COR-Diabetes) were conducted to evaluate the effect of Contrave in conjunction with lifestyle modification in 4,536 patients randomized to Contrave or placebo. The COR-I, COR-II, and COR-BMOD trials enrolled patients with obesity (BMI 30 kg/m2 or greater) or overweight (BMI 27 kg/m2 or greater) and at least one comorbidity (hypertension or dyslipidemia). The COR-Diabetes trial enrolled patients with BMI greater than 27 kg/m2 with type 2 diabetes with or without hypertension and/or dyslipidemia.

COR I and COR II included a program consisting of a reduced-calorie diet resulting in an approximate 500 kcal/day decrease in caloric intake, behavioral counseling, and increased physical activity. COR-BMOD included an intensive behavioral modification program consisting of 28 group counseling sessions over 56 weeks as well as a prescribed diet and exercise regimen. COR-Diabetes evaluated patients with type 2 diabetes not achieving glycemic goal of a HbA1c less than 7 percent either with oral antidiabetic agents or with diet and exercise alone. Co-primary efficacy endpoints were percent change from baseline in body weight and proportion of participants who achieved a decrease in body weight of 5 percent or more. In these studies, the most common adverse reactions (≥5 percent) seen in patients taking Contrave included nausea, constipation, headache, vomiting, dizziness, insomnia, dry mouth, and diarrhea.

The clinical trial program also includes an ongoing, double-blind, placebo-controlled cardiovascular outcomes trial known as the LIGHT study. The primary objective of this study is to evaluate the occurrence of major adverse cardiovascular events in overweight and obese adults with cardiovascular risk factors receiving Contrave.

As part of the approval of Contrave, Takeda and Orexigen agreed to several post-marketing requirements, including studies to assess the safety and efficacy of Contrave for weight management in obese pediatric patients. There will also be a new randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study to evaluate the effects of long-term treatment with Contrave on the incidence of major adverse cardiovascular (CV) events in overweight and obese subjects with CV disease or multiple CV risk factors.

Important Safety Information

is not approved for use in the treatment of major depressive disorder or other psychiatric disorders. CONTRAVE contains bupropion, the same active ingredient as some other antidepressant medications (including, but not limited to, WELLBUTRIN, WELLBUTRIN SR, WELLBUTRIN XL and APLENZIN). Antidepressants increased the risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior in children, adolescents, and young adults in short-term trials. These trials did not show an increase in the risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior with antidepressant use in subjects over age 24; there was a reduction in risk with antidepressant use in subjects aged 65 and older. In patients of all ages who are started on CONTRAVE, monitor closely for worsening, and for the emergence of suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Advise families and caregivers of the need for close observation and communication with the prescriber. CONTRAVE is not approved for use in pediatric patients.

Serious neuropsychiatric reactions have occurred in patients taking bupropion for smoking cessation. The majority of these reactions occurred during bupropion treatment, but some occurred in the context of discontinuing treatment. In many cases, a causal relationship to bupropion treatment is not certain, because depressed mood may be a symptom of nicotine withdrawal. However, some of the cases occurred in patients taking bupropion who continued to smoke. Although CONTRAVE is not approved for smoking cessation, observe all patients for neuropsychiatric reactions. Instruct the patient to contact a healthcare provider if such reactions occur.

Contraindications: CONTRAVE is contraindicated in patients with uncontrolled hypertension, seizure disorder, or current or prior diagnosis of anorexia nervosa or bulimia; in patients undergoing abrupt discontinuation of alcohol, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, and antiepileptic drugs; with use of other bupropion-containing products; for use with chronic opioids or opiate agonists (eg, methadone) or partial agonists (eg, buprenorphine) or acute opiate withdrawal; during/within 14 days following treatment with monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs); in patients with known allergy to any other component of CONTRAVE—anaphylactoid/anaphylactic reactions and Stevens-Johnson syndrome have been reported; in pregnancy.

Warnings and Precautions
Suicidal Behavior and Ideation: All patients being treated with antidepressants for any indication should be monitored appropriately and observed closely for clinical worsening, suicidality, and unusual changes in behavior, especially during the initial few months of a course of drug therapy or at times of dose changes, either increases or decreases. Consider changing the therapeutic regimen or discontinuing in patients whose depression is persistently worse, or who are experiencing emergent suicidality or symptoms of anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, aggressiveness, impulsivity, akathisia (psychomotor restlessness), hypomania, or mania, especially if these symptoms are severe, abrupt in onset, or were not part of the patient's presenting symptoms. Alert families and caregivers of patients being treated with antidepressants about the need to monitor patients for the emergence of above mentioned symptoms, as well as the emergence of suicidality, daily and to report such symptoms immediately. Prescriptions for CONTRAVE should be written for the smallest quantity of tablets consistent with good patient management in order to reduce the risk of overdose.

Neuropsychiatric Symptoms and Suicide Risk in Smoking Cessation Treatment: CONTRAVE is not approved for smoking cessation treatment, but serious neuropsychiatric symptoms have been reported in patients taking bupropion for smoking cessation, including changes in mood (including depression and mania), psychosis, hallucinations, paranoia, delusions, homicidal ideation, hostility, agitation, aggression, anxiety and panic, as well as suicidal ideation, suicide attempt, and completed suicide. Observe patients for the occurrence of neuropsychiatric reactions. Instruct patients to contact a healthcare professional if such reactions occur.

Seizures: CONTRAVE can cause seizures. The risk of seizure is dose-related. Discontinue treatment and do not restart CONTRAVE in patients who experience a seizure. Use caution and consider the risk when prescribing CONTRAVE to patients with predisposing factors, clinical situations, and concomitant medications that may lower seizure threshold. Risk of seizure may be minimized by adhering to the recommended dosing schedule and avoiding co-administration with a high-fat meal.

Patients Receiving Opioid Analgesics: CONTRAVE should not be administered to patients receiving chronic opioids. Patients may be vulnerable to opioid overdose and/or precipitated opioid withdrawal.

Increase in Blood Pressure (BP) and Heart Rate (HR): CONTRAVE can cause an increase in systolic BP, diastolic BP, and/or resting HR. Monitor BP and HR especially in patients with cardiac or cerebrovascular disease and/or with controlled hypertension.

Allergic Reactions: Anaphylactoid/anaphylactic reactions and symptoms suggestive of delayed hypersensitivity have been reported in clinical trials with bupropion, as well as rare spontaneous reports of erythema multiforme, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, and anaphylactic shock.

Hepatotoxicity: Cases of hepatitis, clinically significant liver dysfunction, and transient asymptomatic hepatic transaminase elevations have been observed with naltrexone exposure. Use of CONTRAVE should be discontinued in the event of symptoms/signs of acute hepatitis.

Activation of Mania: Prior to initiating CONTRAVE, screen patients for history of bipolar disorder and the presence of risk factors for bipolar disorder (eg, family history of bipolar disorder, suicide, or depression).

Angle-Closure Glaucoma: The pupillary dilation that occurs following use of many antidepressant drugs, including bupropion, a component of CONTRAVE, may trigger an angle-closure attack in a patient with anatomically narrow angles who does not have a patent iridectomy.

Use of Antidiabetic Medications: Weight loss may increase the risk of hypoglycemia in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus treated with insulin and/or insulin secretagogues (eg, sulfonylureas). Monitor blood glucose levels.

Adverse Reactions: Most common adverse reactions (≥5%) include: nausea (32.5%), constipation (19.2%), headache (17.6%), vomiting (10.7%), dizziness (9.9%), insomnia (9.2%), dry mouth (8.1%), and diarrhea (7.1%).

Drug Interactions: Increased risk of hypertensive reactions can occur when CONTRAVE is used concomitantly with MAOIs. Use caution and consider dose reduction of drugs metabolized by CYP2D6 when using with CONTRAVE. Avoid concomitant use with CYP2B6 inducers. Reduce CONTRAVE dose when taken with CYP2B6 inhibitors. Dose CONTRAVE with caution when used with drugs that lower seizure threshold. Use caution and monitor for CNS toxicity when using CONTRAVE concomitantly with dopaminergic drugs (levodopa and amantadine). CONTRAVE can cause false positive urine test results for amphetamines.

CONTRAVE is indicated as an adjunct to a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity for chronic weight management in adults with an initial body mass index (BMI) of:

  • 30 kg/m2 or greater (obese) or
  • 27 kg/m2 or greater (overweight) in the presence of at least one weight-related comorbid condition (eg, hypertension, type 2 diabetes mellitus, or dyslipidemia)

Limitations of Use
The effect of CONTRAVE on cardiovascular morbidity and mortality has not been established. The safety and effectiveness of CONTRAVE in combination with other products intended for weight loss, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, and herbal preparations, have not been established.

Please see accompanying full Prescribing Information, including Medication Guide, for Contrave.

More information will also be available soon at and

Contrave® is a trademark of Orexigen Therapeutics, Inc. registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and used under license by Takeda Pharmaceuticals America, Inc.

About Takeda Pharmaceuticals U.S.A., Inc.
Based in Deerfield, Ill., Takeda Pharmaceuticals U.S.A., Inc. is a subsidiary of Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited, the largest pharmaceutical company in Japan. TPUSA markets oral diabetes, CNS, rheumatology and gastroenterology treatments. Its pipeline includes compounds for metabolic and cardiovascular disease, gastroenterology, neurology and other conditions. To learn more, visit

About Orexigen Therapeutics
Orexigen Therapeutics, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the treatment of obesity. Orexigen developed Contrave® (naltrexone HCI and bupropion HCI extended-release), which is approved in the United States. Orexigen's strategy for Contrave is to pursue marketing authorizations worldwide and pharmaceutical partnerships for global commercialization. Orexigen's partner for North America, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, will commercialize Contrave in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Orexigen has submitted an application for marketing authorization for Contrave in Europe, with potential approval later in 2014. Further information about the Company can be found at

Forward‐Looking Statements
Statements included in this press release that are not a description of historical facts are forward-looking statements. Words such as "believes," "anticipates," "plans," "expects," "indicates," "will," "should," "intends," "potential," "suggests," "assuming," "designed" and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. These statements are based on the Companies' current beliefs and expectations. These forward-looking statements include statements regarding: the timing of Takeda's commercial launch of Contrave in the fall; and the potential for Contrave to achieve commercial success in the obesity market. Inclusion of forward‐looking statements should not be regarded as a representation by either company that any of its plans will be achieved. Actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied in this release due to the risk and uncertainties inherent in the business, including, without limitation: Orexigen's dependence on Takeda to carry out the commercial launch of Contrave, and the potential for delays in the timing of commercial launch; competition in the obesity market, particularly from existing therapies; the ability to obtain and maintain intellectual property protection for Contrave; additional analysis of the interim results of the LIGHT study or new data from the continuing LIGHT study and the additional cardiovascular outcomes trial, including safety-related data, may produce negative or inconclusive results; the therapeutic and commercial value of Contrave; and other risks described in Orexigen's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. You are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward‐looking statements, which speak only as of the date hereof, and neither Takeda nor Orexigen undertake any obligation to revise or update this news release to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof. Further information regarding these and other risks is included under the heading "Risk Factors" in Orexigen's Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission August 8, 2014 and its other reports, which are available from the SEC's website ( and on Orexigen's website ( under the heading "Investor Relations." All forward‐looking statements are qualified in their entirety by this cautionary statement. This caution is made under the safe harbor provisions of Section 21E of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.

SOURCE Takeda Pharmaceuticals U.S.A., Inc.