Revia for weight loss, another misappropriated drug
As we all know, the process of losing weight is far from easy. It’s a long, arduous journey that’s hard to maintain, especially if results are slow in coming. It’s understandable that, faced with the despair resulting from this unbearable situation, some of us find ourselves tempted to divert a drug, initially prescribed for other disorders, to use it for weight loss. This is precisely the case with REVIA, a prescription-only drug sold in pharmacies.
What is Revia?
Revia, whose international non-proprietary name (INN) is Naltrexone, is a drug with the following ATC classification: nervous system/other nervous system drugs/drugs used in addiction/drugs used in alcohol dependence/naltrexone.
Revia is an opioid antagonist, presented as a scored film-coated tablet in a box of 28, which must be combined with psychological treatment.
Its mechanism of action consists in temporarily blocking the brain centers stimulated by opiate substances. Revia is mainly used in alcohol withdrawal, as the euphoric effects of alcohol are thought to be partly linked to stimulation of opiate receptors.
You may be thinking: “What does this have to do with weight loss?
Well, it turns out that Revia is also used and prescribed by some doctors to combat bulimia and anorexia, and could help treat overweight problems.
We’ll give you more details in the chapters that follow.
In fact, this isn’t the first case of misuse of a drug that we’ve recorded in the course of our research and testing. We’ve already reported on a similar product in one of our previous articles: baclofen, a drug used to combat alcohol dependence, was diverted from its initial use and used by several patients to help them lose weight (read our article on this subject).
Revia – the manufacturer
Bristol Myers Squibb pharmaceutical laboratories own the rights to Revia.
This renowned global biopharmaceutical company is dedicated to discovering, developing and marketing innovative medicines to combat serious diseases.
Bristol Myers Squibb Laboratories was founded in the USA in 1858, and established itself in France very early on, with its first subsidiary in the 1950s. The company is responsible for products such as Nifluril and Efferalgan Vitamine C.
Revia is manufactured by Bristol-Myers Squibb SRL in Italy and Aesica Queenborough Limited in the UK.
The ingredients in Revia
The active ingredient in Revia is NALTREXONE CHLORHYDRATE (50mg).
It is therefore a specific opiate antagonist, acting on both the central and peripheral nervous systems, by blocking access to exogenous (i.e. externally supplied) opiate receptors.
In fact, and this is where naltrexone hydrochloride becomes interesting for overweight people, the molecule acts on the area of the central nervous system involved in addiction. This is why the drug is used not only to stop alcohol dependency, but also to stop addictions of all kinds, including food addiction.
This substance has the ability to induce a feeling of disgust when faced with certain foods, giving it interesting properties in the fight against cravings, compulsive eating or overeating.
Other ingredients in Revia include Lactose monohydrate (FAST FLO), microcrystalline cellulose (AVICEL PH102), crospovidone (POLYPLASDONE XL), anhydrous colloidal silica (CAB-O-STL), magnesium stearate, pale yellow opadry (YS-1-6378-G).
Scientific studies on Revia
Given the drug’s classic prescription, aimed at combating alcohol relapse and withdrawal, it’s understandable that clinical studies on Revia have focused on alcoholics, not overweight subjects.
These studies have demonstrated Revia’s effectiveness in preventing relapse and alcohol withdrawal, particularly when the latter is already well underway.
It is thanks to the observations made in these clinical studies that Revia has proved interesting for overweight people. In fact, Revia has been associated with side effects such as weight loss and loss of appetite in patients using it. It is precisely for this reason that this drug has been given a new function, as some practitioners are beginning to prescribe it as a remedy for addictive disorders linked to food!
Returning to the studies carried out on Revia, you can consult the opinion of the HAS (haute sécurité de la santé), an independent public authority whose field of activity is the evaluation of health products, professional practices, the organization of care and public health; about Revia by here, which provides a complete assessment of the evaluation process.
Still on the subject of revia’s scientific and clinical studies, we would like to mention this study, which compared naltrexone with acamprosate (calcium acetylhomotaurinate) in the treatment of alcohol dependence over a one-year period.
The study consisted in treating 157 alcohol-dependent men, recently detoxified with moderate dependence, by randomly administering 50mg of naltrexone or 1665-1998mg of acamprosate per day. Follow-up was provided by a psychiatrist.
The result of this experiment was that the naltrexone group accumulated a higher number of days of abstinence and a lower number of drinks consumed than the acamprosate group. It should also be noted that adverse effects were more frequent in the case of the naltrexone group.
Side effects of Revia
We know that the side effects of Revia include loss of appetite and weight loss, since this is precisely what overweight people are looking for.
But the truth is, Revia has other side effects, as well as interactions, that really need to be taken very seriously.
Very frequent side effects :
- Insomnia, anxiety, nervousness;
- Cramps, abdominal pain;
- Nausea, vomiting;
- Fatigue, joint or muscle pain;
- Headache, feeling of weakness.
Common side effects :
- Affective disorders, irritability, dizziness;
- Increased lacrimal secretions;
- Palpitations, rapid heartbeat;
- Chest pain;
- Diarrhea or constipation, skin rash;
- Delayed ejaculation, erectile dysfunction;
- Decreased appetite;
- Sensation of thirst, increased energy, chills, excessive sweating.
Infrequent adverse reactions:
- Lymph node disorders;
- Hallucinations, confusional state, paranoia, depression, disorientation, agitation, nightmare, libido disorder, abnormal dreams;
- Tremor, drowsiness;
- Eye irritation, pain or swelling, blurred vision, increased sensitivity to light;
- Hot flushes, changes in blood pressure;
- Nasal congestion, nasal discomfort, runny nose, sneezing, oropharyngeal pain, increased expectoration, sinus disorder, difficulty breathing, voice disorder, coughing, yawning;
- Flatulence, hemorrhoids, ulcers, dry mouth;
- Liver disorders;
- Oily skin, itching, acne, hair loss;
- Groin pain;
- Increased frequency of micturition, micturition disorder;
- Pain or abnormal sensation in the ear, tinnitus, dizziness;
- Oral herpes, fungal infection of the foot;
- Increased appetite, weight loss or gain, fever, pain, cold extremities, sensation of heat.
Rare adverse reactions:
- Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (severe skin disease);
- Suicidal ideation, suicide attempt.
Very rare adverse reactions:
- Rhabdomyolysis (severe muscle damage).
- Severe hepatic insufficiency or acute hepatitis, severe liver disease;
- Severe renal insufficiency;
- Opiate addiction and dependence;
- In association with morphine-containing analgesics and related substances (fentanyl, hydromorphone, oxycodone, methadone, buprenorphine).
Interactions with other drugs :
- Substitution treatments containing methadone or buprenorphine: risk of withdrawal syndrome;
- Analgesics containing morphine or a related substance (fentanyl, hydromorphone, oxycodone, pethidine, nalbuphine): risk of cancelling their effect;
- It may interact with analgesics containing codeine, dihydrocodeine or tramadol;
- Tell your doctor if you are taking a benzodiazepine or other sedative medication.
Testimonials from Revia users
Those who have tested Revia are unanimous in saying that it does indeed provoke a distaste for certain foods, at certain times. Revia also seems to help stop food cravings.
On the other hand, it would seem that Revia is only effective for certain people. In some people, the drug reduces compulsive eating, but does not stop it completely, and causes a number of troublesome side-effects such as those mentioned above.
Price and guarantee
As Revia is a prescription drug sold in pharmacies, it is partially reimbursed by the French health insurance system (up to 65%).
Of course, with this type of medication, there is no guarantee.
Our opinion on Revia
We have always been opposed to the misuse of any drug.
Revia is a drug that affects the nervous system, and can cause a number of undesirable effects, some of them serious.
Using it to lose weight is too risky a venture.