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What Does Wellbutrin Cause: Weight Gain or Loss?

Wellbutrin is an antidepressant medication that is used to improve mood and treat depression. Depression affects people of all ages and backgrounds. According to the 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 8.4 percent of US adults suffer from depression annually, including 10.5 percent of adult women. Many depression medications cause weight gain as a side effect. Now the question is: Does Wellbutrin Xl 300 mg cause weight gain or loss? In this blog, we are going to discuss what it is, how it works, and its relation with weight management on the basis of clinical studies.

What Does Wellbutrin Do to You?

Wellbutrin is a brand name for an antidepressant medication, bupropion. Its primary application is in the treatment of major depressive disorder as well as seasonal affective disorder (SAD). It is a form of depression that manifests itself at a certain period of the year, typically during the winter months when there is relatively less exposure to natural sunlight. The active component bupropion is considered to be an atypical antidepressant. It is important to note that it does not fall within the category of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), as is the case with several other antidepressants.

[Note: Wellbutrin is available in extended-release (XL) and sustained-release (SR) formulations with various strengths like 70 mg, 100 mg, 150 mg, and 300 mg]. 

How Does Wellbutrin Work Efficiently Than Other Antidepressants?

The majority of antidepressants work by blocking the reuptake of serotonin, which increases its levels in the body and brain. Serotonin is an innate chemical called a neurotransmitter. It regulates your mood, happiness, and anxiety. Low levels of serotonin are believed to play a key role in depression symptoms. It does not target serotonin but rather increases levels of other neurotransmitters, such as norepinephrine and dopamine. This is how the process works:

Step 1. Inhibiting the Reuptake of Norepinephrine

It is a neurotransmitter that is involved in the regulation of mood, and bupropion is able to prevent its reuptake. The antidepressant effects of Wellbutrin 300 mg may be attributed, at least in part, to the fact that it raises the levels of norepinephrine throughout the brain.

Step 2. Inhibiting the Reuptake of Dopamine

It is another neurotransmitter that is related to mood, motivation, and enjoyment. Bupropion reduces the reuptake of dopamine through its mechanism of action. It is believed that this aspect plays a significant role in the effectiveness of Wellbutrin in the treatment of depression.

Step 3. Modulation of Nicotinic Receptors

Bupropion has some effects on nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. It may be one of the reasons why it is so helpful in helping people quit smoking and treat depression. As per the National Centre for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), it was approved in the United States as a pharmacotherapy for smoking cessation in 1997.

How Does Wellbutrin Make You Lose Weight?

The Food and Drug Administration authorizes this drug for the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD), the prevention of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), and smoking cessation. However, it is used off-label for conditions including weight management. The specific mechanisms by which it may contribute to weight loss are not fully understood, but several factors may play a role:

  • Appetite Suppression: It is believed to influence the levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, particularly norepinephrine and dopamine. They play a role in regulating appetite. Some people may experience a decrease in hunger when taking it, leading to reduced food intake and, consequently, weight reduction.
  • Metabolic Effects: It may also have a stimulating effect on metabolism. The raised levels of norepinephrine and dopamine may boost metabolic rate, potentially leading to increased calorie expenditure and reduced weight.
  • Energy Increase: It is known for its stimulating effects, which can lead to increased energy levels. This may result in individuals being more physically active, contributing to losing weight through increased calorie burning.

A Clinical Study That Proves Wellbutrin Causes Weight Loss

In a research published in the journal Obesity Research, a team of researchers looked at the effects of bupropion on the average body weight of obese people. A total of 327 people participated in the trial, with just under 200 finishing 48 weeks. One group was guided on energy-restricted food and exercise, while the other group also accepted counseling but was advised to take a dose of bupropion every day.

Over the course of 24 weeks, the researchers found that the people who used bupropion were more likely to achieve desired weight, with an average weight reduction of 7.2 percent and 10.1 percent in people who received Wellbutrin 300 mg or 400 mg per day. After 48 weeks, the individuals who used bupropion showed sustained weight loss, indicating that it may cause lasting differences in eating habits and body weight.

How Fast Is Weight Loss on Wellbutrin?

It causes weight loss at different rates for different individuals. A noticeable reduction in weight may be seen within as little as 1-2 weeks for some people, while for others, it may take up to 8 weeks. There is no guarantee that everyone will lose weight while taking it, and weight loss may vary from person to person. The following are some key considerations:

  1. It is important to keep in mind that it is not a magic weight reduction solution. The management of weight continues to be influenced significantly by lifestyle factors, such as diet and physical activity. Maintaining a well-balanced diet and exercising regularly are important if you want to lose weight.
  2. Weight loss occurs gradually, not quickly, even if the medicine does lead to reduction in weight. In order to observe noticeable changes in weight, it may take several weeks. Also a person’s journey to healthy weight will always be unique depending on his dietary and lifestyle habits.
  3. Different individuals react differently to Wellbutrin’s effects on weight. It is possible for some people to lose weight, while others may not experience significant changes in their weight. An individual’s weight is affected by genetics, metabolism, and lifestyle factors.

Will Everyone Lose Weight on Wellbutrin?

Even though it has shown promising results in some groups of people, such as overweight or obese women. It might not be a solution for everyone struggling with chronic weight management issues. Those who eat when stressed may benefit from the medicine, which decreases stress and improves mood. In contrast, someone who has poor eating habits might not benefit from the drug in weight loss as an “emotional eater.”

[Note: It is imperative to remember that Wellbutrin should be used for its intended purpose – treating depression or other mental health conditions – and not for weight loss alone].

Is It Safe to Use Wellbutrin for Weight Loss?

When taken as directed by your healthcare provider, it is generally safe. Taking Wellbutrin for weight loss may also improve mood and reduce stress. Its labeling was updated in 2005 to warn that it can cause depression and come with a risk of suicidal thoughts, especially in young adults. It is generally well tolerated and safe, despite some adverse effects. The following are some of the most common side effects of Wellbutrin: 

  • You may experience headache or dizziness
  • You may feel shaky
  • You my feel nervous and excited
  • Sleeping problems (insomnia or sleep apnea)

The drug can cause more serious side effects, such as seizures, hallucinations, skin irritation, high blood pressure, a fast heart rate, and suicidal thoughts. Contact your healthcare provider immediately if you experience any of these adverse effects.

How to Maximize Wellbutrin’s Benefits in Losing Weight?

If you want to lose those extra pounds with this medicine, it is important to know some critical points. If it is only taken once a day, it should be taken in the morning because it can be stimulating at that time. Combine it with caffeine cautiously until you know how they both impact you. In the case of a formulation prescribed more than once daily, the last dose should be taken in the mid-afternoon, or else insomnia may result. In any case, it can be taken with or without food. The tablets should be swallowed whole, not chewed, broken, or crushed. Alcohol consumption should be avoided while taking Wellbutrin, as the main ingredient may cause decreased tolerance. 

[Note: Weight loss is dose-dependent, with more reduction in weight seen at higher doses, so never take more than the recommended dose without consulting a doctor, since it can result in an increased risk of side effects].

How to Manage Weight While Using Antidepressants?

The impact an antidepressant can have on your weight and body composition can be reduced even if you’re prescribed one that’s associated with weight gain. Consider these suggestions:

  1. Keep Yourself Physically Active: The benefits of regular physical activity are that it burns calories, reducing the effects of overeating on your weight. In addition, it releases feel-good chemicals called endorphins, which may enhance your mood. Whether you walk or bike around your neighborhood, aim to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity every week.
  2. Limit Your Total Calorie Intake: When you’re recovering from depression, it’s easy to overeat. You should take in just enough calories to replace those you burn throughout the day to maintain your normal body weight. Based on your normal activity level, you can calculate your maintenance calorie intake by calculating your basal metabolic rate (BMR).
  3. Practice Mindful Eating: By paying close attention to your food without judgment, mindful eating teaches you to become aware of your meals and eating habits. Overeating may be prevented by living intentionally. Take time to enjoy your food during each meal. When you are eating, avoid watching TV, talking to other people, or doing other things that might distract you.
  4. Avoid Weighing Daily: Weight fluctuations are normal, and minor variations shouldn’t be interpreted as an indication that you’re gaining weight as a result of your antidepressant. Instead of weighing yourself every day, try weighing yourself weekly or monthly if you are concerned about your weight. 

Who Should Not Use Wellbutrin for Weight Loss?

It is beneficial for weight management in some cases, but certain individuals should avoid using it for this purpose because of possible safety issues such as:

  1. Individuals diagnosed with eating disorders, particularly anorexia nervosa, should avoid using it for losing weight. The medication may not be suitable for those with conditions that can impact eating behaviors.
  2. People with a history of seizure disorders are advised to steer clear of Wellbutrin for managing weight. Bupropion can lower the seizure threshold, potentially increasing the risk of seizures in susceptible individuals.
  3. It should not be used by individuals taking monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) or those who have recently discontinued their use. Concurrent use can lead to dangerous interactions, impacting serotonin levels and increasing the risk of serotonin syndrome.
  4. Individuals with uncontrolled high blood pressure should avoid using it to prevent potential cardiovascular complications.
  5. It should not be used by individuals on chronic opioids (powerful pain relief drugs). This is due to potential interactions and risks, especially in the context of opioid withdrawal.
  6. It may not be suitable for weight loss in children and adolescents, and its use in this population should be carefully evaluated by a healthcare professional. 

Keeping all safety considerations in mind, you can evaluate if you are suitable for using the drug to lose weight. You can buy Wellbutrin from Canada at the best Canadian online pharmacy at discounted prices.

Final Thoughts

Wellbutrin can help you lose weight by changing hormones like dopamine and norepinephrine. In contrast to some antidepressants, it doesn’t generally make people gain weight. According to studies, the medicine may help people lose weight by making them feel less hungry and giving them more energy. Nevertheless, each person’s reaction is different. While pregnant, people with eating disorders, seizures, or certain medicines should not take it. Healthcare professionals should be consulted for specific advice. To effectively control weight, healthy habits like mindful eating and regular exercise work well with the medicine.

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