Does Wellbutrin Cause Weight Gain? What You Wanted To Know!

Depression is a silent killer that affects a major share of the world’s population. It is becoming one of the most life-threatening conditions that persist in the contemporary world. Realizing the graveness of this matter, many people have started to treat this mental illness by giving it due importance. One of the common methods of treating this lethal mental condition is by administering antidepressants. Antidepressants, if consumed in the right and prescribed manner can relieve the symptoms of depression. 

Wellbutrin is one of the most popular antidepressants that is usually prescribed to treat Major Depressive Disorder. In this article, we will be analyzing whether Wellbutrin can cause weight gain in patients. In the following paragraphs, you can find a detailed overview of the medication, its various uses, side effects, and whether it causes weight gain or weight loss. Before concluding, the article also informs you on certain measures to deal with the weight gain caused by medications. So dive right into the article and find out whether Wellbutrin causes weight gain or weight loss.

Wellbutrin: An Overview

Wellbutrin is the brand name for Bupropion Hydrochloride which is a prescription medicine used to treat Major Depressive Disorder and Seasonal Affective Disorder. It is also known in the brand variations of Zyban, Aplenzin, Wellbutrin SR, Wellbutrin XL, etc. The commercial variation of Bupropion, that is Zyban is also prescribed to treat symptoms associated with smoking cessation.

Wellbutrin is an atypical antidepressant which means it functions differently from the commonly used antidepressants. Unlike other antidepressants, Wellbutrin doesn’t reduce the libido in patients. Also, side effects such as fatigue and sleepiness which are usually associated with antidepressants are less common with Wellbutrin. This medication was invented by Nariman Mehta in 1969, who is a renowned pharmacologist of Indo-American origin. In 1985, Bupropion was medically approved in the United States.  This medication is also prescribed as adjuvant therapy for ineffective responses to patients who were under Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) treatment.

What are the uses of Wellbutrin?

As an atypical antidepressant, Wellbutrin is usually consumed for treating depression. Still, it is used to treat other medical conditions also. Some of the uses of Wellbutrin are listed below:

  • Treating Major Depressive Disorder or Depression:  A study published in Therapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacology in 2016 elucidated the effectiveness of Bupropion as an antidepressant. This study supported the effectiveness of using Bupropion for treating depression. Many researchers have concluded that the consistent intake of Wellbutrin can alleviate symptoms of depression in patients affected with recurring seasonal affective disorder. Compared to SSRIs, Wellbutrin is more effective as an antidepressant. This is because it doesn’t cause the usual side effects associated with typical antidepressants.
  • Helps to quit smoking: Many studies have been made on the effectiveness of aiding in smoking cessation by Wellbutrin. The variation of Wellbutrin, which is bupropion SR is normally suggested to alleviate the symptoms associated with smoking cessation. A study published in the International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease in 2008 made a detailed analysis of the uses of bupropion SR in helping to quit smoking. As per this study, Bupropion is a safe and cost-effective strategy to lead to smoking cessation. When you consume bupropion to quit smoking, you experience fewer cravings to smoke. A considerable decrease in nicotine withdrawal symptoms can also be experienced.
  • Treating Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder( ADHD):  Wellbutrin or bupropion is usually prescribed as an off-label treatment for people suffering from ADHD along with symptoms of depression. It is known as ‘off-label’ because the FDA hasn’t approved the efficacy of using Wellbutrin to treat ADHD yet. Still, some doctors prescribe it as a second-line treatment for ADHD. Consuming Wellbutrin can cause some alterations in the neurotransmitters and it can prevent the reabsorption of hormones such as dopamine and norepinephrine.  This medication is effective for ADHD patients who experience negative side effects to stimulant medications which are the usual medicines prescribed to treat ADHD.
  • To treat sexual dysfunction associated with depression: One of the common side effects of antidepressants is that they can affect the libido of the patient and have a considerable role in reducing their sexual functions. But unlike these antidepressants, Wellbutrin doesn’t cause any kind of sexual dysfunction. Instead, it can enhance the libido and improve sexual function in patients. For this reason, the medication is even prescribed to treat Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD).

Other uses of Wellbutrin include: treating obesity, cocaine dependence, psoriasis, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, etc.

Side effects of Wellbutrin

Like any other medication, Wellbutrin can also posit some side effects. These side effects can either be common, or serious and rare. In case, if you are experiencing serious side effects consult your doctor immediately. Some of the side effects caused by Wellbutrin are listed below:

Most common side effects:

  • Anxiety and agitation
  • Insomnia and sleep issues
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea and headache
  • Stomach pain and constipation
  • Muscle pain and sore throat

Serious side effects:

  • A condition of seizures
  • Mood swings
  • Vision blur
  • Swelling in eyes
  • Energy spike
  • Severe sleep issues
Side effects of Wellbutrin

In case you are experiencing serious side effects, contact your doctor immediately.

Wellbutrin And Weight Gain

Many antidepressants have gained notoriety for accelerating weight gain in patients as one of the major side effects. A study published in the British Medical Journal in 2018 validated this claim. The research was conducted on a selected population and they, in turn, found out that antidepressant utilization could lead to weight gain in these people.

But, this is not the case for all antidepressants. There are a special group of antidepressants known as atypical antidepressants, which do not cause weight gain. Such antidepressants work differently from normal ones. Some of the medications in this section include iprindole, mirtazapine, bupropion, etc. Wellbutrin aka bupropion is not an SSRI antidepressant and doesn’t cause weight gain. Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors reuptake serotonin molecules after the process of neurotransmission. But unlike them,  Wellbutrin doesn’t cause this and thereby the levels of serotonin in your brain are enhanced. 

Wellbutrin also targets norepinephrine and dopamine more than serotonin. Norepinephrine and Dopamine are necessary hormones for your body that can regulate blood pressure and sugar levels. A balanced level of these hormones is necessary for your brain and body. Wellbutrin maintains this level and thereby balances the basic functions of your body. So in conclusion, you can ensure that Wellbutrin doesn’t cause any weight gain but in fact, might promote weight loss in your body.

Get more information: Weight Loss With Bupropion – An Investigation

Ways to lose weight gained from medications

Weight gain can be a serious side effect caused by certain medications such as antidepressants. There are certain measures you can adapt to deal with this issue. Some of them are provided below:

  • Consult your doctor regarding changing the medication
  • Ask your doctor to reduce the dosage
  • Incorporate more physical movements into your daily routine
  • Practice a healthy sleeping habit
  • Eat regular and small size meals
  • Increase your water intake
  • Limit salt in your food
  • Stop smoking and consuming alcohol

The Bottom Line

From the above-mentioned points, one can understand that Wellbutrin doesn’t cause much weight gain in patients. Antidepressants are usually known to create weight gain as one of their major side effects. But unlike most of these antidepressants, Wellbutrin doesn’t cause weight gain.

This is because it is included in a different group of antidepressants known as atypical antidepressants. These groups of antidepressants don’t cause weight gain. They also don’t result in lowering the libido and causing fatigue like most of the medications used for depression. So as the final word for this article, one can ensure that Wellbutrin doesn’t cause weight gain.

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