Does Wellbutrin Work for Weight Loss?

Wellbutrin is a prescription antidepressant. Although it is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration for weight loss, some people believe that Wellbutrin may help you to lose weight. Educating yourself about weight loss and Wellbutrin will enable you to determine if Wellbutrin is likely to aid in your weight loss. Consult your physician prior to taking Wellbutrin or starting a weight loss diet.


Wellbutrin, the trade name for bupropion, is used to treat major depressive disorder by preventing the reuptake of dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine. Unlike Wellbutrin SR and Wellbutrin XL, Wellbutrin has a short half life and is typically administered three to four times per day. Common side effects of Wellbutrin include dry mouth, loss of appetite, headache, nausea, weight loss, dizziness, constipation and sweating. Wellbutrin must be administered every day for four to six weeks before the full therapeutic effect is present.

Weight Loss

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Fat contains 3,500 calories per pound. Therefore, to lose 1 lb. of fat per week you must burn 500 calories more per day than you consume. This can be achieved by reducing your caloric consumption by 250 calories, which is equivalent to approximately one can of cola and one candy bar per day, and burning 250 calories through exercise, which a 160-lb. person can accomplish by walking 2 miles. According to "Handbook of Obesity Treatment," gradual weight loss is best for long-term weight loss success.

Wellbutrin and Weight Loss

One belief is that because a common side effect of Wellbutrin is loss of appetite, Wellbutrin is effective in assisting you to reduce your caloric intake and lose weight, according to "Nutrition: Concepts and Controversies." On the other hand, another belief is that Wellbutrin has a common side of effect of weight loss because it is effective in treating depression. Some people who suffer from depression self-medicate with food and become overweight. According to "Focus on Nursing Pharmacology," weight loss occurs when people with depression who self-medicate with food are properly medicated with an antidepressant, such as Wellbutrin, because the depression, which caused the overeating, is treated.


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Wellbutrin is not FDA approved for weight loss and does not cause appetite loss in everyone. Wellbutrin is unlikely to be beneficial in assisting you to lose weight if you do not suffer from depression. However, if you do suffer from depression, you should speak with your doctor about your treatment options. As you treat your depression you will likely find that it is easier to exercise and you're more motivated to care for your body by consuming a balanced, healthy diet.