Does Wellbutrin Cause Weight Loss

Does Wellbutrin Cause Weight Loss

Staff Writer
5 minute read

Does Wellbutrin Cause Weight Loss?

Weight changes are one of the most common side effects of medication. If you are trying to lose weight, you might wonder if you can take a drug for the sole effect of weight loss. In this article we are going to look at Wellbutrin as a weight loss option.  

What is Wellbutrin?

Wellbutrin, also known as bupropion, is a medication used to treat depression in adults. It is especially used to treat Seasonal Affective Depression (SAD) which affects some during the colder months. 

While Wellbutrin is intended to treat depression, it is sometimes used to treat other conditions including Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), symptoms of Bipolar Disorder (BPD), anxiety, smoking, and obesity. 

Does Wellbutrin Cause Weight Loss?

Yes, Wellbutrin causes weight loss in most people. Several studies have shown that taking Wellbutrin, even for other reasons, consistently can result in weight loss. One study found participants lost up to 10% of their weight after taking Wellbutrin for 48 weeks. 

It is important to note that Wellbutrin doesn’t cause weight loss in everyone. This is because everybody is unique and therefore different people will handle the drug differently. 

How Does Wellbutrin Work?

The exact mechanism through which Wellbutrin works against depression isn’t yet fully understood. Some scientists believe that the drug might cause changes in the brain’s noradrenaline and dopamine pathways, however, this hasn’t been confirmed. 

To cause weight loss, one study found that Wellbutrin may influence the reward centers in the brain causing you to reduce your calorie intake. However, the weight loss effect isn’t seen in other similar antidepressants that affect the body the same way. 

Can you take Wellbutrin for Weight Loss?

Yes, you can take Wellbutrin for weight loss. However, not everyone qualifies as a candidate for Wellbutrin. Before recommending Wellbutrin for weight loss, your doctor should try to identify what’s causing you to gain weight.

If you have underlying problems such as hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid) or menopause, Wellbutrin may not be the best option for you. This is not because Wellbutrin doesn’t work but rather because its work will be undone by whatever is causing you to gain unwanted weight. 

Those most likely to benefit from Wellbutrin as a weight loss aid include:

  • Patients with eating disorders

  • Those whose overeating is triggered by depression or anxiety

  • Emotional eaters

  • Those with severe food cravings

As you may have noticed most of these issues are psychological which explains why an antidepressant might work to remedy them. 

Wellbutrin Safety 

Wellbutrin is generally well-tolerated. However, about 10% of patients experience side effects such as:

  • Headaches

  • Dizziness

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Dry mouth

  • Constipation 

In more rare cases, more severe side effects might affect those taking Wellbutrin. These include:

  • Tachycardia

  • Arrhythmia 

  • Glaucoma 

  • Suicidal thoughts 

How to Take Wellbutrin

The recommended dosage for Wellbutrin is about 100-300 mg per day. In combination with Naltrexone, you may lower the dose to about 4.5-13.5 mg per day. 

Your doctor should be able to determine how much Wellbutrin is suitable for you depending on factors like your weight, medical history, and health status. 


What is the average weight loss on Wellbutrin?

You can expect to lose between 2 to 10% of your weight on Wellbutrin. This means that if you start at 150 pounds, you are likely to lose between 3 to 15 pounds while taking Wellbutrin. 

The drug works best in combination with other solutions, particularly a weight loss meal plan and an active lifestyle. In some cases, Wellbutrin will be paired with other medications such as Naltrexone to boost its potency. 

Naltrexone is a medication used to minimize the effects of alcohol and opiates. The drug is used in addicts to reduce the feeling of euphoria they get from consuming these substances. 

When you combine Wellbutrin and Naltrexone, you get a combination known as Contrave. This combination is much more effective than either of the drugs on their own. 

How fast is weight loss on Wellbutrin?

Weight loss on Wellbutrin is generally slow. One study found that the highest weight loss among participants was 10% after nearly a year on Wellbutrin. However, you can speed up your weight loss process on Wellbutrin by eating a healthy balanced diet and exercising. 

Is Wellbutrin an appetite suppressant?

It is not certain as to how Wellbutrin works to cause weight loss. However, appetite suppression is one of the mechanisms scientists believe to be Wellbutrin’s mode of action. 

There have been reports of patients who saw an increase in appetite after starting Wellbutrin therapy. If you notice an increase in food cravings after starting on the drug, stop if your sole reason for taking it is weight loss. 

What is the downside of Wellbutrin?

Some of the side effects of Wellbutrin include cardiac arrhythmia, agitation, insomnia, rash, headache, nausea/vomiting, constipation, dizziness, excessive sweating, dry mouth, tachycardia, blurred vision, confusion, hostility.

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