By Irfana
B.Sc (Psychiatry Ward)
19 September 2021 -
Medically reviewed by
D. Pharm
Wellbutrin An Aid For Anxiety And Weight Loss
Table of Contents

While battling with anxiety and depression, individuals can tend to hyper-focus on their appearance and weight, resulting in increased anxiety and eating disorders.

Bupropion, also known under the brand names Wellbutrin XL, SR, and IR, is a medication prescribed for depression and to help with smoking cessation aid.

What is Wellbutrin?

Bupropion, sold under the brand name Wellbutrin is a prescribed drug for people experiencing depression. It is also an efficacious therapy for anxiety in some people.

Studies also show that the drug helps to quit smoking. While treating depression, some people have been seen to counter weight loss issues too. These problems are sometimes caused due to symptoms of depression that may influence an individual’s appetite.(Huecker MR, Smiley A, Saadabadi A)

Wellbutrin for anxiety, depression, and weight loss

Wellbutrin is an effective antidepressant, often combined with the drug naltrexone, also sold as the weight loss drug Contrave. All antidepressants seem to have side effects in most people, but at least patients are not worried about gaining weight while taking them.

Two studies on obesity, published in September 2001 and July 2002, showed that Bupropion was well tolerated in adults with obesity and successfully stimulated to lose weight like fluoxetine, however, it may not be suitable for patients who lose weight due to depression or eating disorders.

At the end of the study, non-smokers who took Bupropion achieved an average weight loss of 7.1 pounds. Nonetheless, smokers who used the drug gained 2.2 pounds during the study. Participants who received other antidepressants also increased weight. (Anderson, J.W., Greenway, F.L., Fujioka, K., Gadde, K.M., McKenney, J. and O'neil, P.M., 2002)

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Is Weight Loss a Wellbutrin Side Effect?

Studies show that while the drug is helpful in quitting smoking, weight loss is one of the side effects of this drug. Studies of Wellbutrin XL reveal that 23% of people using a dose of 150 to 300 mg per day lost 5 pounds or higher.

Authorities are not yet sure how the medication incites weight loss. It may operate on receptors and neurotransmitters in the brain that influence metabolism and appetite.

A study in 2016 observed that people using Wellbutrin had lost approximately 7 pounds. In 2019, 27 studies reviewed that the drug in children and adults tends to lose weight.  However, the drug may not be suitable for everyone and can induce several side effects.

Other Wellbutrin side effects include:

  1. Dry mouth
  2. Dizziness
  3. Headaches
  4. Tiredness
  5. Nausea and vomiting (Huecker MR, Smiley A, Saadabadi A)

How does Wellbutrin work to cause weight loss?

The sustainably releasing formula of Bupropion reduces appetite, which can contribute to weight loss. If you also eat regularly to manage depression, you may find that relieving depressive symptoms can help you eat when you’re hungry and not just in response to your feelings. If you drink regularly, there may be a calorie reduction if you stop drinking alcohol, which leads to weight loss.

Bupropion has been shown to cause a loss of body mass in some patients. Overall, there is no definitive answer as to how fast the loss can be in patients taking the drug or what specific dosages will follow for weight loss from Bupropion. There are no medical procedures or bariatric surgery solutions available, so you may need to try out traditional weight loss methods such as diet change and exercise to succeed.

2012 study found that obese adults who consumed the drug standard release in 300 mg or 400 mg doses lost up to 7.2% and 10% of their body weight over 24 weeks and maintained that weight at 48 weeks. Studies and research show that the drug was initially invested as an antidepressant which was then linked to weight loss.


Bupropion had a striking effect on weight loss in subjects who stopped an eight-week randomized, double-blind study before completion. Of those who completed the study, 67 percent lost to Bupropion more than 5 percent of their body weight, compared to 15 percent for the placebo recipients.

Women who took Bupropion lost four times more weight than those in the placebo group. If you are concerned about your weight and want to lose it with the help of Bupropion, talk to your physician about the risks and benefits of the drug.

Your practitioner will advise the most suitable medication for you. Follow your physician’s recommendation for the best outcomes.

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