Does Bupropion Cause Weight Loss – Wellbutrin Weight Loss Benefits

You’ve probably arrived on this page looking for the answer to a specific question: does Bupropion cause weight loss? The answer to that question is yes. However, that’s not what it’s designed to do. Weight loss is only of many possible Bupropion side effects.

Bupropion and weight loss

Regardless of whether or not Bupropion was developed for weight loss, the drug’s ability to cause it still interests a lot of people. That’s not surprising, worldwide obesity rates continue to climb. A lot of people are desperately seeking something to help them to lose weight.

Although its primary value lies in a different area, doctors sometimes prescribe Bupropion “off label” as an anti-obesity treatment. This seems quite odd when you consider that there have been specialist weight loss medications such as Phentermine and other alternatives available.

Unfortunately, as you will learn if you continue reading this article, Bupropion can cause a number of problems and, if even you can obtain a prescription, using the drug may not be the best way to lose weight.

Wellbutrin XL and SR are arguably the most common brand that is used for losing weight. It is also used to help quit smoking and help seasonal affective disorder.

Most anti-depressants cause weight gain – Wellbutrin, however has the opposite effect and helps users lose weight. There is a strong association with pills that address a major depressive disorder can also have an effect on body mass index.

can Bupropion help me to lose weight

Bupropion can help treat major depressive disorder and also make it hard to gain weight.

What Is Bupropion and How Does It Work?

Often sold under the brand name Wellbutrin, Bupropion is a prescription-only anti-depressant. Doctors also use it to help people to stop smoking and to treat the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Bupropion is a norepinephrine–dopamine reuptake inhibitor (NDRI). Drugs of this type disrupt the reuptake of the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and dopamine.

Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers. The human body uses them to carry messages throughout the central nervous system. Research suggests it can recycle spent neurotransmitters and use them more than once. This process is known as re-uptake. 

Some experts believe depression may sometimes be the result of neurotransmitter imbalances. Bupropion’s ability to inhibit the re-uptake of norepinephrine and dopamine may be the reason for its ability to keep depression at bay.

Norepinephrine isn’t just a chemical messenger. It’s also a stress hormone.

Dopamine is a feel-good hormone that has a positive influence on mood.

By influencing the activity of these two important neurotransmitter-hormones, Bupropion affects changes in mood and appetite. It may boost energy levels as well. This makes it useful for warding off diet-related fatigue.

However, it’s the drug’s ability to suppress appetite that offers the greatest value to people who are trying to lose weight.

Popular Bupropion Brands

Although Wellbutrin tends to be the brand most people have heard of, the medication is distributed under several other brand names as well.

Here are few additional Bupropion brand names:

  • Aplenzin
  • Buproban
  • Budeprion SR
  • Budeprion XL
  • Forfivo XL
  • Wellbutrin SR
  • Wellbutrin XL
  • Zyban

Bupropion SR is not the only prescription medication that is sometimes used for weight loss even though it’s designed for treating something else. However, it is the only antidepressant that doctors can use in this way.

Bupropion is also paired with Naltrexone and sold as a combination drug that’s distributed under the brand name Contrave. 

Should you use Bupropion as a diet pill?

Bupropion Weight Loss: What the Research Shows

Data taken from several studies and clinical trials is highly supportive of using Bupropion as a weight loss aid.

In fact, the researchers responsible for one long-term study found Bupropion’s abilities so impressive they suggested it should be the “first-line drug of choice for overweight and obese patients” unless there are existing contraindications.

The study ran for a little over 3 1/2 years (January 2006 – September 2009). Some of the volunteers were smokers, others were not. This may not seem relevant, but you need to remember Bupropion is often used as a smoking cessation aid.

The researchers compared the abilities of Bupropion to those of several other antidepressants including Fluoxetine.

Bupropion out-performed all of them, delivering an average weight loss of 7.1 pounds.

Although this may sound impressive, you need to remember the 7.1 pound weight loss took a very long time. Many natural supplements can produce similar results in 3-6 weeks.

Obesity Research published the results of another Bupropion study in September 2012. This one was shorter. It only lasted 24 weeks. 

Three hundred and twenty-seven obese people took part. The researchers split them into three groups.

  • Placebo
  • 300 mg Bupropion
  • 400 mg Bupropion

Data from the study shows Bupropion outperformed the placebo in both cases, with the higher dose producing the best results.

The average body weight reduction was 7.2% and 10.1% respectively.

Bupropion Side Effects When Used for Weight Loss

Weight loss is not the only Bupropion side effect. It has several more and some of them are serious. 

Common Bupropion side effects include:

  • Anxiety
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Sore throat
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation

Serious Bupropion side effects include:

  • Hallucinations
  • Chest pains
  • Palpitations
  • High blood pressure
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Mental confusion
  • Memory loss

Even the milder Bupropion side effects can be unpleasant. That’s why so many people choose to use natural alternatives instead. 

Bupropion for Losing Weight Pros

  • Proven to support weight loss
  • Helps reduce baseline body weight

Bupropion as a Weight Loss Pill Cons

  • Only available via prescription
  • Slow to deliver results
  • Has many known side effects

Using Bupropion as Weight Loss Pill Final Thoughts

Like a lot of prescription medications, Bupropion can cause side effects. One of them is weight loss. Unfortunately, although weight loss may be a desirable side effect to some people, the other side effects are not.

If you suffer from depression, your treatment options are likely to be limited to other prescription medications. The same is true for PTSD. 

However, that’s not the case if you need a diet pill to help you to lose weight. Many of the natural supplements you can buy over the counter can outperform Bupropion by offering faster results along with a greater level of weight loss support. More importantly, the best over-the-counter options can do these things without causing side effects.

In addition to working faster and offering greater support, over-the-counter diet pills are available to all. Bupropion and similar options are only available legally with a prescription. A lot of men and women who want to get slimmer are not overweight enough to obtain them.

Bupropion is an option that’s only available to certain people who want to lose weight. But it’s only one of the options. For rapid results without side effects, a lot of people may have greater success if they chose to go with a natural Bupropion alternative instead.

Alternatives to Bupropion and Wellbutrin for Losing Weight

There are several dedicated weight loss pills that can be used instead. Some of the brands are:

Top FAQ’s on Bupropion / Wellbutrin for Fat Loss

Is Bupropion a Diet Pill?

No, it is primarily uses as an antidepressant and via prescription. However, it has been discovered that some patients have been found to lose weight while on Wellbutrin – the commercial brand name of the drug.

Is Bupropion for Weight Loss Safe?

There is always a chances of side effects. This would be true of any pharmaceutical product. For this reason it highly advised to only used after doctor consultation and only for a short period of time.

Can I Get Bupropion Diet Pills Over the Counter?

No, Wellbutrin is only available by prescription. Bupropion is not a diet pill primarily – weight loss it is a side effect and used only used under controlled conditions.

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about the author

Henry Washington BSc, BSc, MA, PhD. Fascinated with the study of human behavior, and how this affects our day-to-day lives. Has read more books on the subject than he can count and has an extensive collection of academic papers to match. Published in the following journals: Nature, Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, Trends in Neurosciences, Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, Brain research reviews and Cerebral Cortex.