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New Weight Loss Pill Approved For Use In Australia

The listing of the drug, Contrave, on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods now lifts the number of obesity drugs available from three to four.

Those who are struggling to beat the battle of the bulge will now have a new weapon in their arsenal after the weight-loss drug Contrave was approved by the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods.

The pill works by affecting the central nervous system and manages to both suppress the patient's appetite and reduce their food cravings.

For patents to reap the full benefits of the medication, they will also need to adhere to a reduced calorie diet and increase their exercise.

It has been shown in clinical trials to help people lose on average five percent of their body weight.

READ MORE: Struggling To Lose Weight? You Should Go Take A Nap

Contrave has been approved by the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods. Source: Supplied

That may not sound like a lot, but it is enough to improve people's metabolic health and reduce rates of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and lipid disorders, according to the drug's Australian inventor, Michael Cowley.

Professor Cowley, who discovered the drug while he was working in the US, told AAP that he hopes the drug's listing on the TGA will help to break down the "stigma" surrounding obesity.

"There is a sector of the medical community and a sector of the Australian political community who regard obesity as a moral failing," he said.

Most of the rest of the world has acknowledged it as a disease and applies normally clinical judgement to treating diseases.

According to John Dixon, Head of Clinical Obesity Research at Melbourne's Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute, Contrave's listing on the TGA is only the lifts the number of obesity drugs available in Australia from three to four.

READ MORE: Scientists Find Gene That Lets You Pig Out Without Gaining Weight

The drug has been shown in clinical trials to help people lose on average five percent of their body weight. Source: Getty

"Some medications work for some people and not others, so increasing the available choices is important," Prof Dixon told AAP.

According to Prof Dixon, 28 percent of Australians are currently obese, with "hardly any of them" getting any effective weight loss therapy.

"For those who really need it, and that's a lot of them out there, we need to see doctors actually treating obesity actively, with medical treatments," he said.

We wouldn't treat heart disease or diabetes or cancer just with lifestyle interventions, and yet that's the prescription for managing weight.

But the drug won't come cheap.

As it's not yet listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme -- patients will be forced to fork out between $230 to $250 per month to fill their prescription.

It's something that has left Prof Dixon outraged.

READ MORE: We May As Well Sit On Our Arse All Day 'Cause Standing Desks Won't Make You Skinnier

28 percent of Australians are currently obese, with "hardly any of them" getting any effective weight loss therapy. Source: Getty

"No medications to treat obesity are listed on the PBS, despite plenty being listed to treat complications for the condition such as diabetes, hypertension, some cancers and sleep apnea," he said.

"It's abysmal. This is called the obesity stigma blame."

As with all medications, there are side-effects to using Contrave, they include headaches, constipation, dizziness, vomiting and dry mouth.

For more information visit your doctor.

Feature Image: Getty