How to Use Wellbutrin For Weight Loss & Who Should Use it

How to Use Wellbutrin For Weight Loss & Who Should Use it

No doubt most of you have at least heard about Wellbutrin. 

Most of you are probably familiar with its use as an anti-depressant, but did you know that it can also help with weight loss?

Or that it is actually compounded with another medication (naltrexone) and is part of one of the most popular weight loss medications currently available? 

The answer to that is probably not, which is why we are going to discuss using Wellbutrin for weight loss here. 

Let’s dig into how Wellbutrin helps with weight loss and determine if it’s right for you (because it certainly doesn’t work for everyone)… 

Does Wellbutrin Help with Weight Loss?

Just because a medication may help with weight loss doesn’t mean it actually does a good job. 

When we talk about weight loss medications we always need to be asking the following questions:

1. How effective is the medication at causing weight loss? 


2. Will the medication work for me or does it only work for certain people?

a supposed example of how wellbutrin works to help with weight loss in nerve cells by blocking the reuptake of norepinephrine.

These questions are VERY important. 

We could have a medication that works 100% of the time, but only causes 1-2 pounds of weight loss. 

Or we could have a medication that helps people lose 20-40 pounds but only works in 20% of the population. 

But why do we have such high variability between medications?

This has to do with HOW weight gain occurs, and it’s different for each person. 

Hopefully, you understand that weight gain has more to do with your metabolic and hormone function than it does with how many calories you are consuming. 

Yes, calories do matter – but they take a backseat to the influence that powerful weight-altering hormones such as leptin and insulin

Before we jump into how Wellbutrin helps with weight loss we need to discuss the basics:

First off, Wellbutrin is a medication most commonly prescribed to treat depression, anxiety, and certain eating disorders. 

It’s also known as Bupropion (which is the generic version of Wellbutrin). 

Wellbutrin exerts its influence on mood and weight by altering specific neurotransmitters and by acting as a norepinephrine and dopamine uptake inhibitor (1).

Wellbutrin basically acts to increase the amount of adrenaline (norepinephrine) at the neurotransmitter synapse and it is likely through this influence that it helps modulate appetite and increase metabolism leading to weight loss. 

With that in mind let’s answer the basic questions we mentioned previously:

How effective is Wellbutrin at helping with weight loss?

Most studies have shown that Wellbutrin is superior to a placebo in helping with weight loss. 

I’ve included a graph that outlines the relative effectiveness of various studies as they compare to placebo below: 

forest plot of various studies and their impact on weight loss compared to controls.

You can see that in the studies listed, 4 of the 5 led to weight loss which was superior to placebo indicating that most of the time it is effective. 

Individual studies (2) also tend to agree with this assessment…

This study showed that various doses of Wellbutrin were very well tolerated and were associated with a 24-week weight loss of 7.2% and 10.1% based on dose. 

What’s also important is that this weight loss was sustained for up to 48 weeks! 

Another study (3) shows similar results:

This study showed that Bupropion (Wellbutrin) was more effective than placebo in achieving weight loss at 8 weeks in obese and overweight adult women. 

What’s interesting in this study is that certain patients were referred to as “initial responders” and these patients had more success long-term than those who did not respond as quickly. 

This concept brings us to our next question:

Will Wellbutrin help ME lose weight?

Not everyone will achieve weight loss by using Wellbutrin, in fact, there is a chance it simply won’t help you at all. 


You should do your best to identify WHY you have gained weight, to begin with. 

Is your thyroid functioning properly?

Do you have leptin resistance or insulin resistance?

Is your metabolism functioning optimally?

Are you peri-menopausal or post-menopausal?

If you’ve answered YES to any of the questions listed above then Wellbutrin is probably NOT the best weight loss medication for you. 

It doesn’t mean it won’t work at all, it just means that Wellbutrin is not targeting the root cause of your weight gain and isn’t likely to lead to significant weight loss over time. 

With that in mind let’s talk about who SHOULD use weight loss and who will benefit the most from using this medication. 

Who should use Wellbutrin for Weight Loss?

If you have any of the following conditions then Wellbutrin may help you: 

  • Current eating disorder or a history of an eating disorder (Anorexia/bulimia/food addiction/etc.)
  • Patients with severe food cravings or the inability to resist food
  • Patients with Body set point malfunction (meaning you have difficulty losing weight and keeping it off) 
  • Patients with obesity who also suffer from depression or anxiety
  • Patients who struggle with emotional eating

You’ll notice that many of the conditions listed above have a psychological component.

graph and chart showing that patients taking bupropion had fewer binge eating episodes compared to placebo over 8 weeks.

This is primarily because Wellbutrin acts to influence neurotransmitter levels which are how nerves communicate with one another. 

Does this mean that it won’t work for you unless you fit all of the criteria above?

Not necessarily, it just means that those who fall into those categories are more likely to respond to it. 

It’s important to realize that this list is for those who use Wellbutrin by itself (which I recommend against). 

You can expand the list of people who would potentially benefit from using Wellbutrin by combining Wellbutrin with other specific medications. 

How much weight will you use using Wellbutrin by itself?

If Wellbutrin is going to work for you, studies indicate that you will probably lose about 2-10% of your initial body weight (4).

That means if you are 200 pounds the best-case scenario is that Wellbutrin helps you lose 20 pounds. 

If you are only 150 pounds, it’s possible that Wellbutrin may only help you lose a couple of pounds. 

These numbers may not sound great at first but you have to realize that this data stems from the use of Wellbutrin as monotherapy (meaning using Wellbutrin by itself). 

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As with any other weight loss medication (or weight loss therapy) I highly recommend against this strategy. 

It’s far better to use MULTIPLE therapies at once or to combine medications to get a synergistic effect. 

For instance:

By adding a medication known as naltrexone (more information below) you can increase weight loss (5) and expand the number of people that will benefit from taking these medications. 

Combining Wellbutrin with Naltrexone (LDN)

Scientists have found that many medications lead to weight loss by themselves, but they have also found that combining medications often lead to even better results. 

This holds true for the combination of Wellbutrin plus naltrexone. 

This combination is known as Contrave

We already know how Wellbutrin works, so how does Naltrexone work?

Naltrexone increases the effectiveness of Wellbutrin by targeting fat-storing hormones such as insulin. 

Naltrexone also helps reduce chronic pain, reduce inflammation (6), and improve thyroid function (7).

 When you start adding these benefits to Wellbutrin you can see now that MANY more people may benefit from using it. 

If you have any of the following conditions then you may benefit more from the combination of Wellbutrin plus Naltrexone over just Wellbutrin alone:

  • ALL of the conditions listed above for Wellbutrin PLUS:
  • Patients who suffer from thyroid problems (Hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Thyroid resistance, etc.)
  • Patients with chronic inflammation or chronic pain syndromes (these often lead to weight gain through the use of narcotics)
  • Patients with blood sugar issues, type II diabetes, or insulin resistance
  • Patients suffering from autoimmune diseases
  • Patients who fall on the PCOS spectrum or who have a known diagnosis of PCOS

By adding a low dose of naltrexone the list of conditions and people that benefit from Wellbutrin increases dramatically. 

I discuss how to add Naltrexone to Wellbutrin in a separate post. 

*Please note that I have no affiliation or interest in the makers of Contrave or Wellbutrin. I only discuss the methods that I have used that have worked for patients and share this knowledge with you. 

Other Anti-Depressants vs Wellbutrin

Will other anti-depressants work just like Wellbutrin?

Actually, not really. 

Wellbutrin is considered unique among anti-depressants in that it is at LEAST weight neutral and at best usually helps with weight loss somewhat. 

Other anti-depressants, especially the class of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs for short) are actually well known to cause weight gain (8) to the tune of 5-10 pounds (or more depending on the person). 

It’s worth pointing this out because so many people take anti-depressants (usually of the SSRI class) which may be making weight loss very difficult. 

For this reason, I generally recommend against the regular use of SSRIs in obese patients and instead would recommend a trial of Wellbutrin instead. 

Wellbutrin & Weight Gain

It’s also worth pointing out that Wellbutrin may actually cause weight gain in some individuals. 

While most people do experience weight loss by taking Wellbutrin, some unlucky people will experience weight gain. 

The exact mechanism behind why this occurs is not well understood (nor is it likely the subject of future studies) however it probably relates to several factors. 


Wellbutrin has an impact on appetite and eating behavior (9).

Generally, this benefit extends to help reduce binge eating and promote normal caloric intake but it can go haywire in some individuals and increase food cravings and food intake dramatically. 

If you notice an INCREASE in food cravings while taking Wellbutrin then it may not be worth continuing (if your sole purpose for using it is weight loss). 


We know Wellbutrin generally promotes hormone balance but it is possible that it may promote the excessive production of a stress hormone known as cortisol. 

This effect may be mediated through excessive adrenaline (norepinephrine) levels, but it’s not clear. 

If you find that taking Wellbutrin is making you feel more jittery or anxious then this may be happening to you. 


Wellbutrin may influence sleeping behavior and promote insomnia (10).

Lack of sleep (11) is a known cause of weight gain and you should not take this medication if it interferes with your ability to sleep. 

Wellbutrin Dosage for Weight Loss

Is there a specific dose necessary for weight loss if you are using Wellbutrin?

I have found that IF Wellbutrin is going to help you lose weight you usually need to be taking around 100 to 300mg per day. 

If you want to combine this with Naltrexone then that dosage ranges from 4.5 to 13.5mg per day (used in conjunction with Wellbutrin). 

What about the difference between Wellbutrin IR, Wellbutrin SR, and Wellbutrin XL?

All of these are names for the same medication, but differ in how they administer the medication to your body throughout the day. 

3 graphs which compare serum levels of bupropion, IR vs SR vs XL,  over a 24 hour period to highlight the impact of their dosing schedule.

I find the most benefit for patients when using Wellbutrin or Bupropion SR or IR. 

By taking the medication several times throughout the day you will allow for a more stable dose and higher concentration in your serum.

The only reason to reduce the dose or to switch to XL is if you are having issues with sleep. 

In this case, you would benefit from using the XL first thing in the morning or using the IR twice per day (but skipping the final dose). 

Determining the dose you need is based on how you respond to Wellbutrin and if you experience any negative reactions while taking it. 

For example:

Extremely sensitive patients may only need 100mg per day. 

Should you use it?

Does this mean that you should run out and ask your doctor to prescribe you Wellbutrin?

Not necessarily. 

While Wellbutrin MAY lead to weight loss it doesn’t mean that everyone should use it. 

Whenever you take medication (or undergo any therapy or treatment) you always need to think about the benefits and compare them to the potential consequences or side effects. 

While Wellbutrin does provide potentially significant benefits – up to 10% weight loss over several months, it doesn’t come without any side effects. 

Also, Wellbutrin tends to work the best in a select subset of patients known as “responders”. 

These “responders” tend to fit the criteria listed above (those with eating disorders, body set point malfunction, and/or depression). 

If you aren’t an “initial responder” then you may have better luck with other medications. 

My recommendation is to always target your therapies and treatments to your body and that means trying to find the root cause of your weight gain.

Side Effects to Watch out for

If you do decide to use Wellbutrin you should be aware of the potential side effects associated with this medication. 

I’ve listed the most common side effects below (12):

  • Weight Gain
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Jittery sensation or feeling restless
  • Dry mouth
  • Shaking sensation

If your goal is to use Wellbutrin for weight loss then you should stop the medication immediately if you experience weight gain or insomnia as both of these side effects may blunt your progress. 

Lastly, you can generally prevent many of these side effects by starting off with a low dose and titrating only when necessary. 

Having said that, some people will simply not tolerate the medication and should not use it. 

Back to you

Wellbutrin is an atypical anti-depressant in that it tends to help with not only depression but weight loss as well. 

It is unique among anti-depressants in that almost all other anti-depressant medications tend to cause weight GAIN. 

Wellbutrin works to help with weight loss by modulating appetite and by altering specific neurotransmitter levels. 

Wellbutrin generally helps people lose anywhere from 2-10% of their body weight over several months. 

This benefit can be increased by intelligently combining Wellbutrin with other medications such as Naltrexone. 

Now it’s your turn: 

Are you using Wellbutrin?

Is it working for you? 

Why or why not?

Leave your comments below! 













using wellbutrin for weight loss pinterest image.

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About Dr. Westin Childs

Hey! I'm Westin Childs D.O. (former Osteopathic Physician). I don't practice medicine anymore and instead specialize in helping people like YOU who have thyroid problems, hormone imbalances, and weight loss resistance. I love to write and share what I've learned over the years. I also happen to formulate the best supplements on the market (well, at least in my opinion!) and I'm proud to say that over 80,000+ people have used them over the last 6 years. You can read more about my own personal health journey and why I am so passionate about what I do.

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106 thoughts on “How to Use Wellbutrin For Weight Loss & Who Should Use it”

  1. Hi, my doctor has had me on Wellbutrin 300 for 9 months. She just prescribed Naltrexone 25 mg (1/2 dose of the 50 mg pill). Is this too high for weight loss? I’m also trying to overcome Binge Eating Disorder at the same time. Thanks

  2. It’s been informative for me I’m struggling with these things. I take a strong pain Medicine & Muscle Relaxer. I do have a question could Wellbutrin XL & Lamictal cause low blood?

  3. Great article. I have switched to bupropion 100mg, twice a day starting yesterday (I have been on Zoloft for the last month and gaining weight), along with naltrexone 50mg to stop alcohol cravings. Are these dosages going to be comparable to Contrave and help me lose weight?

    • Hi Kelly,

      Unfortunately those dosages are not really comparable to Contrave, but they may be necessary for your individual situation.

      • I was put on Wellbutrin about a month ago, my Dr started me out on 150mg once a day for seven days and the 2 tables after that once a day, I’m not really seeing much change, I feel the same way I did before taking it. I have depression and anxiety I take 20mg of escetelopram once a day for my depression and anxiety, how do I know if the Wellbutrin is really working if I see no changes in appitite

        • Hi Cherlyn,

          Do you mean working for your weight? If so, you will see a change in how your clothes fit and on the scale.

        • I am on the same doses of both medications. I am a week in as well. Does Wellbutrin still work well for weight loss when paired with Escitalipram? Thanks!

  4. I didn’t see any mention that Wellbutrin is known to cause seizures and is not recommended for people with epilepsy. Seems like an important detail you may want to include in the list of possible side effects.

    • Hi Emily,

      This isn’t a comprehensive list of Wellbutrin related information as it focuses more on using Wellbutrin for weight loss purposes but you are certainly correct that it can potentially cause seizures in some susceptible individuals.

  5. It’s been a few years since I was on Wellbutrin and I was on it for a couple years. It worked so well for my depression and I enjoyed the side effect of losing a few pounds. It really helped me control cravings for unhealthy foods and alcohol. I also have a chronic illness – so the contrave, or the combination of Wellbutrin and the naltrexone sounds like it would be great for getting on top of the discomfort of rheumatoid arthritis. If I had insurance I would go ask my doctor to put me on a new prescription. Thanks for sharing your insight into these medications.

  6. Is it true that when you discontinue Welbutrin you will gain the weight back? I take it for binge eating disorder & depression. I have lost 20 pounds in 5 months. I’m afraid when I get off of it, the weight will all come back. I’m on 450mg of Bupropion XL.

    • Hi Lynne,

      Not usually unless it was dramatically suppressing your appetite or if you go back to binge eating once it stops.

      • Dr Childs,
        I have noticed hair loss over the past fee months that i have been on Bupropion XL 450mg. I addressed with my Dr & she said it was not a side effect. However i have found several forums online of others that have experienced hair loss as well. What are your thoughts & do you think if I lower my dose to 300mg that will help. I have already discussed my with Dr about lowering my dose. Thanks.

        • Wellbutrin (brand name) did cause hair loss for me. It made my hair come out in hand fulls. I stopped taking it and within a couple weeks the hair loss stopped. Was prescribed Wellbutrin about 3 yrs later but ended up getting generic and had no hair loss.

  7. Hello I’ve been on Wellbutrin XL 300 mg for anxiety for 10 years. I am going to get the Naltrexone seen separately. Considering I’ve been on the Wellbutrin for so long would it be OK to jump to the top Dose?

  8. I’m on day three of 150mg daily and my appetite has decreased. I have no other side effects. It too soon for it to work and my decreased appetite is just a coincidence?

    • I started the same dose on January 2nd and immediately noticed a loss of appetite and cravings. I haven’t weighed since I started, so I don’t know if I have lost weight.

  9. Westin, Thanks for the article it was very informative. I’ve been on Wellbutrin SR 150 mg 2 x a day for 3 months. The first 2 months I had great energy and lost a few pounds. I mentioned to my Dr that I wish I could just take it one a day, so he change me to Wellbutrin XL 300 mg once a day. I’m not having the energy (in fact I feel extra sleepy) or the appetite control I did the first 2 months of the SR.
    My question is does the appetite control and energy only last a couple of months? Will my results be the same on the XL vs the SR? My main reason for taking is for PPMD, I’m not having the results I wished so I’ve been enjoying the energy and few pounds gone. I’m thinking maybe I should switch to a SSRI, but I fear weight gain. Any suggestions? Thanks!!

  10. Morning dr.

    I’m on Willbutrin 150mg xl ones a day.
    Can I take 150mg x2 in the morning around 05:60? (300mg then)
    I use it for depression and weight loss. (about 20 pounds)
    It doesn’t seems to help very much for me (for depression and weight loss) 🙁
    I’m almost 2 months on it.
    My dr would not describe me Naltrexone….. 🙁



  11. I started Wellbutrin xl about 7 months ago for depression/anxiety. Having been overweight due to mostly emotional eating and depression I was extremely happy to see an almost instant reduction in my food intake ! I have completely lost my desire to overeat . My Dr. didn’t even mention the weight loss part of this drug till my follow up visit when I had lost weight.
    I have now been on it almost 7 months and have lost 47 pounds….Going from 190 to 147! Yes once I saw that I was losing I did restrict my diet by calorie counting and the results have been truly amazing.
    Two months ago at 150lbs I stopped dieting and my only goal was to maintain . I have not gained one pound back but in fact I have lost three more! This drug changed my life for the better!
    ( but then again I was the perfect candidate for it as fit the above description to a T.)

  12. I have been on Bupropion Xl 150 for 1 month. I also started using the MyPlate app to track my calorie intake.

    The first day I started counting my calories I was very surprised to find out I was consuming over 6000 calories a day.

    By the first week I found it easier and easier to get my calories under 2800 which is what the app suggests. Now one month later I consistently beat my calorie goal. I have lost 16lbs in 30 days.

    I have not experienced any of the negative side effects (jittery etc..).

    My question is should I consider upping my dose or adding Contrave.

    I may qualify for Contrave because my A1C is 5.9 and my doctor described me as “prediabetic” on my last Dr visit.

    • I started Zyban one week ago but I’m taking it to treat my depression. I haven’t noticed yet any improvements. Still craving for a certain food and having withdrawals.

  13. On 75mg Effexor, 300mg Wellbutrin XL, 25mg Naltrexone, Testosterone gel. Cut the Wellbutrin from 450mg. Not noticing much yet. Beer tastes better and the buzz is better but I quit after 3 beers. Just seem to lose interest. I started on Naltrexone at 4.5 slowly up to 18mg. Had the first bottle compounded and for the new 50mg 30 count bottle I cut the pills in half and use 25mg. My doctor wants me on 50mg per day but I’m going to try 25mg for awhile. No side affects at lower doses but can feel some at 25mg. It seems to help my tinnitus.

  14. Ive been taking wellbutrin for 10 months.(150mg SR twice a day) I’ve lost 40 lbs with diet and exercise (20mins daily exercise bike) (low Carb diet) I am a type 2 diabetic. With this medication I was able to stop the insulin, and only take a med of Prandin with meals for diabetes. Lower blood sugar, and lower weight helped me feel better about myself. My blood sugar A1c was 11.9 now is 7.9 . It only took six months to get to that A1c. I am happy with this med, but worry alittle about taking it long term. I’ve tried tapering dose and watched that scale rise up 5 lbs in one week! I do not want to stop this med. I am 64 yrs old. Can i continue this med? I also have CKD stage 4 and CHF Stage 3/C.

  15. I take armour is it safe to take Contrave? My endo prescribed it but at the time I was taking Synthroid. He had me wait to take the Contrave until I went to my heart doctor to make sure I had no heart-related issues. My other question is does the Contrave make your thyroid issues worse in the long run?

  16. I just started naltrexone 1/4 of 50mg and bupropion 1, 100mg I am hoping to get results with weight loss and appetite control. I a week we are increasing doses.
    Any thoughts.
    And thank you for the information most helpful.

  17. I’m on 300 mg of Bupropion, I gained weight like mad, binge eating is terrible and out of control. I don’t know what to do anymore. Think 450mg instead might help? My psychiatrist wasn’t interested in my binge eating problem, told me to diet. 🙁 Gained 40 lbs after my father died 🙁

  18. I was put on contract for weight loss. I used the pharmacy card for 90 days free and I really loved it and lost 15 pounds during that time however my insurance would not cover the meds so my doctor prescribed the combination of bupropion xl 300mg & naltrexone 25mg Once a day. I went on to lose 40lbs in the year. I have now noticed that for the past 4 months I have not gained or lost weight. I’m wondering if I can up the dose of both or one medication? Has this been shown to work? Are there studies on upping the dosage? Your guidance is appreciated. Thanks in advance!

  19. I’ve been taking Wellbutrin since November 30th, 2016 — it was the best health decision I have made for myself in a long time. I have struggled with major depression since high school, and it became much worse after I was in a bad car accident in June 2014. I also have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome Type III, but did not know this at the time (and was not diagnosed until last July, in fact), so after the car accident, I experienced more musculoskeletal pain that is normal. I had bad whiplash that also cussed TMJ and many other issues (which is not surprising for someone with EDS3). I became even more depressed, especially because I couldn’t enjoy outdoor activities like I use to (and that lasted for almost two years). I decided to try an antidepressant, but of course, I started out on SSRIs. First I was on Prozac, but experienced weird heart palpitations (probably related to one of the POTS symptoms via EDS that I’m aware of now), so I stopped taking that despite it helping because I got scared. Then I started Lexapro… Within 4 months, I had gained 45 lbs. Within 7 months, I gained 70 lbs. I was overrating constantly. Mentally,you I was a zombie. When I stopped taking Lexapro, it was like waking up from a coma. I looked in the mirror after I stopped Lexapro and saw that I was fat as hell. Obviously, I became more depressed. So my next attempt at taking an anti-depression was not until November 2016, when I went to my doctor and specifically asked for Wellbutrin. He put me on 100 mg of the SR, and within a few days, I could tell that I was going to respond well to it. The next month, he increased the dosage, then he increased it again a month later to 300 mg XL pills, which is what I’m still taking. I decided that I was going to try to eat healthier and cut my calories significantly. Under his supervision, I cut my calories to 800 to 1000 per day, cut out sugar, caffeine, alcohol, etc, only ate soups, salads, and meal shake replacements from Advantage Edge. I was able to sustain that routine for 6 months and lost a total of 70 lbs. Being on Wellbutrin significantly corrected the eating habits I developed while taking Lexapro. My appetite was so much lower and I got full easier. Over the past 6 months, I’ve noticed that my appetite I’m has become more normal. This is because I changed the way I take Wellbutrin. Before, my morning meal was only the replacement shake, which I took Wellbutrin with. Now I take it with normal meals. A few days ago, I changed it back to taking it without a meal, and yet again, my appetite has decreased, which is great because I have a few pounds of winter weight to lose, and I feel confident that I can manage that. I’m around 147 at the moment. I started off at 210, and the lowest I went was 137.

  20. It is very alarming that you recommend Wellbutrin for anorexia and bulimia. It is widely known in medical circles that Wellbutrin raises the seizure threshold, as do these eating disorders. Research has shown a high risk of seizure in bulimic anorexic patients due to electrolyte imbalance, and this risk is further increased by Wellbutrin. It is commonly known that Wellbutrin should NOT be prescribed to those with eating disorders. These seizures can be life threatening – please correct the information you have in this article.

      • While I agree about seizure precautions due to electrolyte abnormalities with people with bulimic anorexia, the original studies of Wellbutrin noted that the seizure risk increased when dose was above higher, eg 400 mg taken all at once. And this may have been in a population of people who had alcohol use or other factors predisposing them to seizures. We can’t assume that the Wellbutrin will have an additive risk. I have had patients with TBI that were able to tolerate and benefit from Wellbutrin. Individualized pharmacotherapeutics with good monitoring, trust, and communication.

        However, I do have a curiosity about Wellbutrin in people with bipolar spectrum disorders. I have one patient who is morbidly obese and doing very well on mood stabilizers (Latuda and Lamictal) and losing weight (after stopping Invega -which she came to me on). I also tapered her OFF of the Zoloft (also came to me on this) that was causing mood cycling and she’s been MUCH more stable. I have left her on the 150 mg of Wellbutrin XL because 1) it helped with focus and energy in the morning, 2) might have some weight loss benefits -she has PCOS and newly diagnosed Type 2 DM. In my clinical experience (and the anecdotal info out there) Wellbutrin seems much less likely to induce mania/activation and mood cycling compared to other traditional antidepressants like the SSRIs. So… do I maximize her mood stability by removing the Wellbutrin (in theory… she’s doing great on it still), or leave her on this dose of Wellbutrin and add a small amount of Naltrexone? And how would this fit with use of Orlistat and Ozempic? Drug interaction check shows some Latuda+Wellbutrin concern, but she’s done well for almost a year on the two. I’ve kept both doses low (Latuda is 40 mg). Did notice Vraylar has no interaction effects. Patient’s A1c is already improved and she continues to lose weight. We’re looking to a BMI of < 71 goal to be eligible bariatric surgery as well.

        • Hi Dessye,

          I would stick to ozempic and naltrexone for weight loss and I would try T3 to treat bipolar disorder. It actually works quite well and there are a handful of studies showing near complete resolution in bipolar symptoms with the isolated use of T3 (T3 as in Cytomel or liothyronine). The studies also have info on dosing, safety, and so on.

          I have some of the info on T3 dosing in this blog post:

          And you can find further info on titrating here:

          Close monitoring of thyroid lab tests INCLUDING TSH, Free T3, and Free T4
          Slow titration of T3 starting at 25mcg and increasing based on tolerance and over a period of weeks
          Set the goal TSH at the lower limit of normal
          Maintaining Free T3 in the upper limit of the reference range
          Close monitoring of bone density with DEXA scanning in patients who are post-menopausal
          *Note: Observational studies have shown that using 50mcg to 150mcg of T3 per day does not result in negative effects on cardiac (heart) or skeletal (bone) tissues, but these studies are limited to 2 years in length.

          Link to the study here:

          It’s for depression but you can use the same guidelines for bipolar disorder.

  21. Started the generic 4 days ago. 150 xl once per day for seven days, then, will go to 300 xl once per day.

    I’ve lost 2 pounds so far. I’m 143 today and am used to being about 130-135 and I’m 5’3″. I look thin at 130-135. Hoping this helps me.

  22. Hello,

    I unfortunately gained 40 pounds on Prozac and Lexapro following a traumatic life event. I CANNOT seem to lose weight no matter what I do and I was recently put on Wellbutrin XL 150mg once daily and I am also on Vyvanse 50mg for ADD. I was wondering if I could possibly be lucky enough to lose this weight based on my combination of medications and would like your professional input on the likely outcome of this medication combination. Thank you.

  23. I have been taking Wellbutrin SR 200 mg once per day in the morning for the past 3 1/2 months. I have lost 10% of my bodyweight. But I need to lose more like 30%, and the weight loss has slowed down over the past few weeks.
    Another person commented above that he experienced difference between taking the medicine with food versus without food. I’m curious if anyone else has had a similar or different experience? Do you feel that the medicine works better if it’s taken with food? Or if you take it alone and then wait a certain amount of time to eat? Or does this not matter at all?

    • Hi Steff,

      Wellbutrin probably won’t help you completely normalize your weight, so it may be time to look into other therapies or other causes of weight loss resistance.

  24. Good article! I have had success losing weight with Wellbutrin and a small dose of phentermine. I’ve lost ten pounds so far. Looking to lose ten more. The Wellbutrin has licked my cravings and put a stop to binges.

  25. Wellbutrin has been a life-changing medication. First of all, I will admit that I am a former sugar addict. I loved (past-tense) sweets, candy and anything that anyone trying to lose weight enjoys. Sugar WAS my weakness.
    In mid-October of 2017, I started taking 150mg of Wellbutrin for weight loss. My doctor had suggested it and what a difference it made!! Total life changer! By Christmas, I had lost 21 pounds. The doctor was surprised given the holidays that the weight loss was so significant. He increased the dose to 300mg once a day. I can proudly say that as of August 2018 I am down 55 pounds! I went from 205 to 150 (I am 5’9).
    Wellbutrin decreased the craving for sugary high carbohydrate foods for me. My addiction for Sugar is no more.

  26. Thanks for the article and willingness to respond!
    I’ve been taking Wellbutrin xl 450 with Topomax 100mg for about 2 years. Ive struggled with weight since I was 10 years old “yo-yo-ing” 30 pounds every couple years and then 60 with each of my 3 kids over the past 6 years. My psychiatrist prescribed Wellbutrin for life long depression then added topomax after 3rd baby cause of my binge eating. It has worked amazingly for weight loss (about 60 lbs). But in the last few months my appetite has been becoming less controllable and I realized I’ve recently gained about 10 pounds. Do I need to up my Topomax? Unfortunately I already feel pretty ‘dumb’ ie: confused, forget words etc. (I also feel I’ve become more anxious/easily angered…Wellbutrin?)
    Why wouldn’t the combo be working the same anymore?
    Thank you for your help!

    • Hi AC,

      No problem! Medications only take you so far when it comes to weight loss. Most patients usually hit a “cap” or “wall” and they need to look at other causes of weight gain and address lifestyle factors such as diet, exercise, stress, hormone imbalances, etc. You may be at this point.

  27. I had taken Wellbutrin back when I was younger and it really helped with my depression and anxiety and I literally lost half my body weight, It helped me not eat or have cravings and it was a total lifesaver. Now I’m going to try and start it again for all the reasons as before not just weight loss, but it is a big plus! I was on it for a couple years and throughout that time the weight just came off.

  28. Hello I’m talking bupropion sr 200 twice a day. I was taking the bupropion xl 300 once a day. Which is better for weight loss the sr or xl?

  29. I’ve been on Burpropion SR(generic wellbutrin) for two yrs. I lost 28 lbs that first yr! Plus my blood sugar dropped from an A1c of 11.9 to 7.9 in six months! Awesome. I had mild depression due to not being able to lose that weight. Totally in 3 yrs i lost 42 lbs. Bad side effect : higher blood pressure. Ive been tapering this year. From the 150mg twice a day to 100 mg twice a day and now only 100mg once a day. Sadness…the weight is steadily rising. My BS is going up as well, and last A1c was up to 9.6….I think i should just go back to the 100mg twice a day. I tried Naltrexone, made from a compound pharmacy ,(Ins wouldnt cover Contrave) all that did was made me crave sugary foods and gave me terrible bad breath. (Does it matter? I am 65 yrs old)

  30. II’ve been on Wellbutrin 150 XL for 2yrs. I suffered from a really bad case of anorexia/bulimia(eating disorders)when I was a teen. Im now in my 50’s and going thru menopause.
    I find that the medicine helps with how much I eat. I believe Ive lost a few pounds after gaining about ten due to menopause. The medicine helps a lot with depression and helps a little with my ADHD.
    Im suffering from hair loss and don’t want to have to stop taking it. I don’t know what to do about it.

    • Hi Ronda,

      The hair loss could be from menopause or it could be from thyroid damage from your history of eating disorders, it’s hard to say for sure without lab testing.

  31. Bupropion 100mg HCL tabs once per day. Can I take this for a short period of time to lose weight (let’s say 6 months just for the sake of this conversation) then stop abruptly? Or will I have problems such as seizures, etc. I do take other meds…Topamax 75mg twice a day, Xanax once per day. Thank you.

    • Hi Basia,

      It can be taken for a short period of time, but it’s generally not a good idea to stop taking it abruptly.

  32. I was taking Wellbutrin 300xl for about 3 years. Lost weight about 30lbs to start and kept it off. Then in the last 6 months seemed like it wasn’t working for depression and I gained my weight back. I stopped taking it about a month ago and I have gained even more weight. I was hoping that if I wait and restart it I will lose weight and feel better again. What are your thoughts?

    • Hi Dawn,

      My thoughts are that your strategy is not likely to work but you are welcome to give it a try as it probably won’t hurt.

  33. The part that said “norepinephrine (adrenaline)” scared me for a second. It should say “noradrenaline”, shouldn’t it? I’m taking Wellbutrin for anxiety; the last thing I want is more adrenaline.

    • Hi Kara,

      Sorry for the confusion, while adrenaline and noradrenaline have different names they still have very similar functions as they are both catecholamines. So it should read “noradrenaline” but it does basically the same thing that adrenaline does in your body. Hope that clarifies things!

  34. Hi Dr. Westin:

    Your article was VERY informative and well written (easy to understand and enjoyable to read). I am 5’5″ and weigh 145. I was 130 until menopause hit 3 years ago and while my appetite went way down, my weight went up??!! Saw my doc today for my annual and told him I am depressed about weight gain/inability to lose weight. He agreed to let me try Wellbutrin (BUPROPION SR 100 MG TABS – 1 tab twice a day) to see if it would help. Can I please get your opinion on whether you think Wellbutrin will help me lose the 15 pounds I can’t seem to lose on my own? Look forward to hearing from you.

    • Hi LeeLee,

      I would say that out of all the weight loss medications available that Wellbutrin is probably not the most effective for weight loss after menopause. It tends to work better for people with metabolic dysfunction and for those who have trouble controlling their appetite. Weight gain after menopause is typically induced by hormone imbalances and that’s the best way to help with weight loss. You can read more here:

      • Thank you for taking the time to respond to my comment. I SINCERELY appreciate it. I am going to read the articles you provided to me. I am going to be more informed before starting any med. Again, thank you!


  35. Hi Dr. Westin:

    I forgot to add one other thing. Is there any chance you will be doing an article on “Patients with chronic inflammation or chronic pain syndromes (these often lead to weight gain through the use of narcotics)”? I have chronic pain syndrome and take opioids daily. I think there are a LOT of people out there with this problem/issue – myself included. Please, please consider writing an article on this issue. Thank you.

    • Hi LeeLee,

      Sure, I will add it to the list of future topics (I have a long list already but I will put it there).

  36. Dr. Westin:

    I don’t know if my reply went through or not – so sending it again. Thank you VERY much for taking the time to respond to my e-mail. You wrote the above article 2 years ago and people are still reading it today! I don’t think there are many doctors out there who would take the time to reply to comments, or to write articles to help people. All of the articles I read are from national websites and from companies that want your business (so their opinions seem skewed). Kudos to you for helping others – we appreciate it.

    Take care.


  37. Hi Dr. Westin!

    I would love your help/advice! I started taking Wellbutrin in April 2018 and from April 2018 to January 2019 I had lost a little over 30 pounds! I was so excited because I was struggling with my weight, depression and binge eating and this finally gave me some relief.

    I haven’t changed much about what I’m eating, but in February or May of this year, I started gaining back all of the weight. 6 months later, I have gained back all 30+ pounds and am more depressed than ever…. I am still taking Wellbutrin (300mg), but I started taking it at night rather than the morning so I could sleep through the bad side effects I felt throughout the day when I did take it in the morning (migraines, shakiness and nausea). Do you think taking it at night could play a part in why I’ve gained all of the weight back? Should I switch to another SSRI or could that just potentially make me gain even more weight? Any advice is much appreciated!


  38. I was taking XL 150mg but continued to suffer from depression. My doctor changed the dose to 300mg and it helped immensely for 3 months. When I mentioned to my therapist that I was falling into depression again, she related that many of her clients on Wellbutrin XL were feeling likewise. She said that the manufacturer had recently changed and she suspected that was the cause. I had doubts. But when I ran out of 300mg, I began taking 150mg 2x a day. A week later, I feel great. Can a change in manufacturer really make such a dramatic difference? How do I find out how to address this?

    • Hi Judy,

      Yes, of course. Small changes to inactive ingredients can seriously impact how well a medication is absorbed or assimilated. This happens with thyroid medications fairly frequently. It doesn’t intuitively make sense which is probably why most pharmacists/doctors don’t believe it, but everytime it happens there are always people who experience the same issues you did.

  39. Started Bupropion 200mg a week ago and have gained two pounds so far. Hungry all the time. I thought the opposite was supposed to happen!

  40. I was taking Contrave for 2 months and lost 20lbs and loved it. Unfortunately I have a history of diverticulitis and was hospitalized while on the Contrave. Well I found out the hard way that I would have to suffer through the pain until the Contrave left my system because of the pain medication blocking affects of Naltrexone.

    I loved the way the Contrave worked in particular the attributes of the bupropion but not willing to take the chance of suffering through the pain again if I have an episode.

    Do you have a recommendation of what can be combined with the Wellbutrin other then naltrexone that would work without the pain medicine blocking effects of naltrexone?

  41. Is there a difference between the Wellbutrin and the genetic form ? I had taken Wellbutrin years ago and had weight loss of 30 plus lbs . I now have hypothyroidism , 15 years older and started taking the generic brand 150. I have only been taking it for 4 weeks but not noticed any weight loss although some improvements in my behaviours . I’m just curious if there is a difference or approximate time when people start noticing weight loss .

  42. I really want to talk to my doctor about this. I’ve been doing a lot of research and I think this is my answer. I work out, I’ve tried every diet under the sun, many o’ blood draw and labs- but I cannot lose weight. Its really started to weight me down (pun intended>?) but I think coming to the realization that I’ve always struggled with depression is freeing. Insurance won’t cover Contrave (let a doctor slice you up and take out half your stomach, SURE- they’ll do that, but no pill for weight loss) SO I would like to talk to the doctor about prescribing both drugs separate. My compounding pharmacy typically makes LDN in 1.5, 3, and 4.5mg. Are these doses too small>? Do I really need 32mg a day of Naltrexone or can I take less for the same effect?

  43. I was interest in your opinion about taking Adderall XR 20mg, Lamotrigine 300mg and Bupropion XL 150mg. I took the first two with Lexapro, which was moderately effective mentally but seemed connected to significant weight gain. I just tapered off and started the Bupropion and wondering if any weight loss would be expected with that combination. Thank you.

  44. Dr Westin Child

    I have an appointment coming up next with with my PCP. I plan to discuss with hiM options for antidepressants. I have had weight gain and read your article I thought it may be nice to take care of weight loss and depression in one pill. I’m S/P thyroid economy 5 years ago and 46 years of age. I take Vynnase 70 mg for ADD and nature thyroid 137mg qd . I haven’t lost weight with my ADD meds . Do you think I could be lucky enough to have weight loss with the bupropion and if so what mg?

    • Hi Karen,

      If you are post thyroidectomy (I assume that’s what you meant by “s/p thyroid economy”) then probably not. There’s always a possibility but I think it’s unlikely. You will most likely have to be much more aggressive if weight loss is your primary goal.

  45. Hi dr,
    I’ve been taking prozac 10 mg once a day for about 2 months for depression now an I’ve gained 10+ pounds I read your article an I’m very curious to start trying the Wellbutrin for weight loss and depression I’m 5’9 an 190 i was about 180 before I started the Prozac please help !!!!!

  46. Quite concerning that your article states someone with a “current eating disorder or history of an eating disorder (anorexia/bulimia)” is listed under “Who should use Wellbutrin for weight loss.” …are you not aware that those struggling with anorexia & bulimia are attempting to lose weight in an unhealthy manner? and this is merely promoting it. I can understand this medication possibly helping with food addiction, emotional eating, etc. , but anorexia? or bulimia? quite disgusting to promote this.

    • Hi May,

      It’s actually quite the opposite. I would recommend that you read the research on how Wellbutrin can help in eating disorders.

  47. Hi Dr and thank you for this article.I would really appriciate if you could give me your opinion.I am taking 30 mg a day of Paxil for panic disorder with agoraphobia and was also prescribed clonazepan and xanax to take as needed( which I almost never need to take).I gained a lot of weight,have no evergy,and no libido since then.
    Do you think Bupropio. would work for weight loss and can it be taken together with Paxila and clonazem or Paxil and xanax?
    Maybe I would need clonazepam or xanax with it because it will
    Increase adrenalin which I really don’t need as someone with
    Panic dissorder?
    Thank you a lot in advance.

  48. Thanks for the article! I appreciate how knowledgeable you are about Wellbutrin.

    I seem to have a side effect that I haven’t seen anyone mention which is an almost constant stomachache. Not a bad one, just irritating. Wellbutrin completely curbs my appetite but the stomachache may not be worth it. Could it be the stomachache has a different root cause or have you heard of this as a side effect? Thank you!

  49. Hello! I am currently on 150mg Wellbutrin and 25mg Zoloft. I feel like I’m having no motivation and I’m just blah. Could that be from the Zoloft? Only been on that for 2 weeks. have PCOS, OCD and high testosterone. Also I get random episodes of alopecia areata due to adrenal stress/autoimmune disorder. Does the Wellbutrin trigger alopecia? And should I stop taking the Zoloft?

    • Hi Tiffany,

      Since starting Wellbutrin? I wouldn’t stop it without physician approval but I would definitely discuss that with your doctor!

  50. Hello,
    I have heard some negative interactions with both meds in Contrave and Amitriptyline. I take 10mg Amitriptyline to keep my Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome in remission. I hear that Wellbutrin increases Amitriptyline in the blood but the other drug in Contrave actually blocks Amitriptyline.
    Can you point me to any studies for these interactions.
    Thank you,

    • Hi Erin,

      It’s been a while since I’ve brushed up on amitriptyline metabolism but it’s plausible that both amitriptyline and Contrave use the same liver enzymes for elimination which means they may impact serum levels of each other. Many drugs are metabolized through the cytochrome p450 family of enzymes but I don’t remember off-hand if these medications fall into that category.

  51. Whoa, why the hell are you recommending this for people with a history of eating disorders? That’s very dangerous and a high risk for misuse, not to mention it typically comes with clear instructions to not prescribe to a patient with a history of ED. Shame on you.

    • Hi Sav,

      This topic has been addressed in the comment section here. Please refer to those for the answer to why it is recommended in this population 🙂

  52. I have quit taking Wellbutrin after being on it for several years. I have gained about 8 pounds since quitting. I still have my prescription but it is 300xl. Can I start back on this dose? It’s been about 4 months. Thanks

    • Hi Melissa,

      Unfortunately, I am not able to give you medical advice regarding how you should or shouldn’t take your medications. I would recommend touching base with your current doctor to get their opinion as they are more familiar with your case and history!

  53. I have to leave a comment….
    bupropion saved me BIG. Ive been through a lot but never thought i could get depressed as i am so happy all the time. i started bupropion about November 2020. the pandemic did not help. one of the hardest debilitating condition is sever RLS (Restless leg syndrome)
    When i started bupropion it not only made me feel better mentally but i lost 70lb AND this was huge it curved my RLS affects. So i had two knees to be replaced May of 2021. So i went into the knee replacement 70lb less and 75% of my RLS was gone. Just before my first knee the RLS came back and so did the food cravings. RLS was Kicking my ass and with RLS you must be walking you cant sit or laydown. Now its a year later. My RLS is back with a vengeance. There is a drug that helps with the RLS now. But my cravings to eat are crazy. Messing with my head. (Now for my question) it worked so well for 6 months then stopped. im still on 300mg of bupropion. what can i do to reset it? I just ordered Concave it will be here soon. Why did it quit working and what can i do to get it back…………..
    Everyday you wake up is a beautiful day…
    There are good days and there are better days. No bad days.
    Today is a gift not promised to us. we must find good in this day

    • Hi Joe,

      It’s usually pretty uncommon for a medication to just stop working. Instead, it’s much more likely that something else changed which renders the medication that was working less effective. In other words, instead of focusing on your medication, look for that other thing that changed in your life.

  54. I am 50 yrs old and have been recently diagnosed with hypothyroidism. I have been taking 150mg of Bupriopion for over a few years for my anxiety. I just started taking Levothyroxine so I’m wondering if there are any contraindications and/or if I should be taking them at different times of the day? I have been taking the Bupropion first thing in the morning but now this new med must also be taken first thing in the morning. I just don’t want to decrease the efficacy of the thyroid med if at all possible.

    Thank you!

  55. I was on Wellbutrin and did lose about 20 lbs. however for personal reasons I stopped taking the medication three months ago and am back to the same weight. If I started taking it now is it likely that I will experience the same weight loss or will I have a tolerance now that I’ve taken it before?

  56. You mentioned that you discuss adding naltrexone to Wellbutrin in a different article, but I couldn’t find it. Did you mean the article on Contrave? Thanks!


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