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Wellbutrin Weight Loss: Is It Safe?

  • Fact Checked

Fact checked by Mark Johnson

You’ve probably heard about Wellbutrin before. It’s a widely used antidepressant, but did you know that it may help in weight loss?

So, you’re probably wondering, can you take Wellbutrin to lose weight? Is it a safe way to lose weight?

Look no further for the answers. In today’s article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about Wellbutrin weight loss. Let’s dive in.

Table of Contents

What Is Wellbutrin?

Wellbutrin, Wellbutrin SR, and Wellbutrin XL are brand names for a drug called bupropion. Other brand names for the same drug include:

  • Zyban
  • Forfivo XL
  • Aplenzin
  • Bupropion Hydrochloride

What Is Wellbutrin Used For?

Wellbutrin is approved for treating depression, major depressive disorder (MDD), seasonal affective disorder (SAD), and smoking cessation. Any other use, including weight loss, is an off-label use.

Wellbutrin is used off-label to treat some diseases, including:

Does Wellbutrin Cause Weight Loss?

The simple answer is yes. Wellbutrin causes weight loss. However, this is a side effect, not an approved use.

Many antidepressants affect the weight of the person taking them. Some of them cause weight loss, while others cause weight gain. Additionally, each person responds differently to each drug.

Wellbutrin XL and SR may cause either weight loss or weight gain. While they should cause weight loss, you can never be sure of the result.

In other words, Wellbutrin will not necessarily cause weight loss. In fact, it might cause weight gain in some cases.

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Side Effects of Wellbutrin

Wellbutrin has many side effects. Typically, your body adjusts to the medication after a while.

So, if you notice new side effects or old side effects getting worse, contact your healthcare provider as soon as possible.

It’s essential to consult your doctor before taking any medication, especially if you’re already taking other medications. Don’t attempt to take any medicines without your doctor’s approval.

The most common side effects of Wellbutrin include:

  • Sore throat
  • Dry mouth
  • Constipation
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Headache

How Does Wellbutrin Work?

Simply put, Wellbutrin increases the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. Dopamine plays a crucial role in providing your brain with pleasure and motivation. On the other hand, norepinephrine, also known as noradrenaline, is a hormone and a neurotransmitter.

Depression and some mental disorders were found to be associated with low levels of dopamine and norepinephrine. So, when Wellbutrin increases their levels in your brain, it improves your general mood and helps with depression.

However, it may take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months for the difference to be noticeable.

How Does Wellbutrin Cause Weight Loss?

Wellbutrin doesn’t necessarily cause weight loss, and the exact mechanism by which Wellbutrin achieves this is still unknown.

However, it may be because Wellbutrin increases norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain. They’re responsible for the feeling of satiety and some eating behaviors. Additionally, both play a role in controlling your appetite.

When it comes to weight loss medications, you need to understand that weight loss isn’t just about calories. Metabolic and hormonal factors play a massive role in the weight change of any person. So, that’s why there isn’t a 100% effective weight loss medication, and it’s also why Welbutrin’s weight loss effects don’t have a clear explanation.

Should You Take Wellbutrin to Help You Lose Weight?

The answer is no. You can’t take Wellbutrin for the sole purpose of losing weight. It’s not approved for this use, so you might end up not losing any weight or, worse, gaining more weight.

To lose weight in a healthy way, you need to follow a diet suitable for your body type, weight, and health condition. The best way to lose weight is to decrease your daily caloric intake.

If you’re unable to lose weight or if you’re gaining weight more than usual, you should contact your healthcare provider. Weight gain may be a symptom of a disease that you don’t know about. Additionally, it can be a side effect of a particular medication you’re taking.

Here’s a list of the most common reasons for unexplained weight gain:

However, some people can benefit from the off-label weight loss use of Wellbutrin. This includes:

  • People with eating disorders, for example, uncontrolled eating and anorexia.
  • Overweight and obese patients who also suffer from depression or stress.
  • People who struggle with emotional eating.
  • Overweight and obese people who are failing to quit smoking (see also ‘Is Juul Vaping Vegan?‘).

This doesn’t necessarily mean that these people will respond better than others. This means that if they respond to Wellbutrin, they will benefit greatly from its off-label uses.

In other words, Wellbutrin isn’t a weight-loss drug on its own, but it can be used in cases where weight loss is required.

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Wellbutrin Weight Loss Trials and Research

Research on Wellbutrin has shown promise. Clinical trials had shown good outcomes when Wellbutrin was combined with a change in diet and exercise. However, most studies were focused on the short-term usage of the drug.

In 2016, a study was published regarding the effect of long-term usage of antidepressants, including Wellbutrin. The study found that non-smokers who took bupropion lost 7.1 pounds on average after two years of administering the drug.

Moreover, a 2019 review of 29 studies on various antidepressants and their effect on weight showed a promising result. Most antidepressants in the study increased body weight by around 5%. The only exception was bupropion, which was associated with weight loss.

Approved Weight-Loss Drugs

First and foremost, you need to understand that weight-loss drugs need to be combined with diet and exercise to get the best results. Weight-loss drugs on their own won’t help you lose a lot of weight.

Second, you shouldn’t take weight-loss drugs without consulting your healthcare provider.

Finally, weight-loss drugs are prescribed for people with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater or if they have a health issue related to obesity. This includes diabetes, high blood pressure, and sleep apnea.

Approved weight-loss drugs include:

  • Orlistat (Xenical)
  • Bupropion/naltrexone (Contrave)
  • Liraglutide (Saxenda)

How Much Weight Will Wellbutrin Make You Lose?

As we’ve previously mentioned, each person responds differently to the drug; some will experience better results than others.

However, the studies showed that you’d probably lose around 2% to 10% of your initial body weight. While the numbers are slightly low, you can get better results if you combine Wellbutrin with diet and exercise.

Weight Loss Tips For Vegans

How to Lose Weight Without Taking Wellbutrin?

Why risk having unsatisfying results or side effects from medication while you can lose weight in a healthy way? This time, weight loss is guaranteed.

Drink Plenty of Water

Most of us only drink when we feel thirsty. The truth is that men should drink around 3.7 liters per day, and women should drink around 2.7 liters per day.

Water will not only help you lose weight, but it’ll also make you feel less hungry.

Don’t Skip Breakfast

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day; skipping it won’t help you lose weight. You’ll also tend to snack more around the day, as you’ll feel hungry.

Physical Activities

Try aiming for some challenges to spice things up. Running challenges are a simple and a great way to boost your motivation and exercise more.

Eat Less Fat and More Fibers

Try to reduce the amount of fat in your food as much as you can. Fats are extremely high in calories and cause countless health problems.

On the other hand, fibers are perfect for weight loss. They make you feel full and satisfied while being incredibly beneficial to your body. Additionally, most fiber foods don’t contain high amounts of calories.

Foods that contain high amounts of fiber include:

  • Apples
  • Broccoli
  • Avocados
  • Whole grain bread
  • Bananas
  • Carrots
  • Beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Oats
  • Almonds
  • Chia seeds

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Do you still have a question in mind? Here’s a list of the most common questions regarding Wellbutrin weight loss.

How quickly does Wellbutrin work for weight loss?

Wellbutrin takes anywhere from weeks to months until it starts showing results. Typically, most people notice weight changes after about two months of use. However, Wellbutrin isn’t essentially a weight-loss drug.

Can you lose weight on 150 mg of Wellbutrin?

While Wellbutrin shouldn’t be used for weight loss solely, you can lose weight on 150 mg of Wellbutrin after a while. Studies of Wellbutrin XL showed that around 23% of the people taking 150 to 300 mg of Wellbutrin per day lost around 5 pounds or more.

How can I tell if Wellbutrin is working?

Every person responds differently to the medication. On average, it takes around two weeks to notice some physical improvements. On the other hand, it might take up to 12 weeks until you notice psychological improvements.

In Short

Wellbutrin is an antidepressant and a smoking-cessation drug. As a side effect, it can cause weight changes. Typically, Wellbutrin causes weight loss.

However, that doesn’t make it a weight-loss drug. You shouldn’t take Wellbutrin just to lose weight. You may end up having annoying side effects or, even worse, gaining more weight.

The best way to lose weight is by following a diet suitable for your weight, body type, and health condition. Doing more physical activities can also significantly help you lose more weight.

Finally, don’t take any medication without consulting your healthcare provider.

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