Can wellbutrin cause hair loss
Does Wellbutrin Cause Hair Loss?
- Does Wellbutrin cause hair loss?
- What is Wellbutrin used for?
- Bupropion and hair loss: why does it happen?
- Is Wellbutrin hair loss permanent?
- How common is hair loss with Wellbutrin?
- How to stop hair loss from Wellbutrin
- How to cope with bupropion hair loss
If you have any medical questions or concerns, please talk to your healthcare provider. The articles on Health Guide are underpinned by peer-reviewed research and information drawn from medical societies and governmental agencies. However, they are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
If you’ve recently started taking Wellbutrin and have started to notice more hair than usual in your shower drain or brush, you might wonder if there’s a connection.
Losing a little hair every day is normal and expected, but more than that might make you concerned. Is it going to stop? Will it grow back?
Fortunately, this hair thinning is likely only temporary. Wellbutrin hair loss is an infrequent and typically short-lived occurrence. This is what we know about the cause and how you can cope with it.
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It is possible that Wellbutrin may sometimes cause hair loss.
While researchers did not find that Wellbutrin caused hair loss in the drug’s initial clinical trials, hair loss or alopecia was reported as an infrequent side effect—meaning it didn’t happen often—after healthcare providers started prescribing Wellbutrin to the public (GlaxoSmithKline, 2017).
People taking other types of antidepressants have also occasionally reported hair loss. Both selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as Prozac (fluoxetine; see Important Safety Information), Paxil (paroxetine, see Important Safety Information), and Zoloft (sertraline; see Important Safety Information), and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) such as Effexor (venlafaxine; see Important Safety Information) have been noted to have a risk of hair loss (Tirmazi, 2020).
Wellbutrin (bupropion; see Important Safety Information) is an antidepressant medication first approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1985.
The current FDA approved uses for Wellbutrin are (Huecker, 2021):
- Depression in adults
- Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
- Smoking cessation
It’s also frequently used “off-label” (used for conditions that haven’t been approved by the FDA) for other physical and mental health conditions such as (Huecker, 2021):
- Anti-depressant-induced sexual dysfunction
- Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Depression associated with bipolar disorder
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In clinical trials, several potentially serious common side effects have been associated with Wellbutrin. The most serious of these are a lowered seizure threshold (meaning you may be more likely to have a seizure) and having suicidal thoughts (Huecker, 2021).
Medical researchers don’t completely know why some people experience sudden Wellbutrin hair loss, but they have a theory.
The medical term for sudden hair shedding that doesn’t leave scarring on the skin is telogen effluvium. It results from the shifting of the hair cycle growth (anagen) phase to the shedding (telogen) phase. While some hair shedding is normal, in telogen effluvium, more hair than usual enters the resting and shedding phases (Hughes, 2021; Al Aboud, 2021).
Typically, your hair follicles grow hair for about four years, rest for about four months, and then a new hair pushes the old hair out. This accounts for the small number of hairs you normally find in your hairbrush or shower drain each day (Hughes, 2021).
If there is sudden stress on the body, up to 70% of the growing hairs can switch to the telogen phase earlier than usual. This results in more hair falling out at once (Hughes, 2021).
Researchers think that telogen effluvium is quite common.
Episodes can occur in people of any age, gender, or racial background. A large portion of adults will experience an episode of telogen effluvium at some point in their lives, though women are more likely to be distressed by it and tell a healthcare provider (Hughes, 2021).
There are several reasons you might go through an episode of telogen effluvium. They include (Hughes, 2021; Al Aboud, 2021):
- Medication side effects
- Thyroid problems
- Severe stress
- Major surgery
- Poor diet/ sudden weight loss
- Substance abuse
- Recent illness
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In most cases, Wellbutrin hair loss is not permanent.
Excessive hair shedding episodes usually last less than six months and are often much shorter. They are typically caused by acute stress on your body. This can be an illness, mental stress, or, in this case, a new medication (Hughes, 2021).
There also may be a delay between when the stress occurs (i.e., when you start taking a new medication) and when you first notice the hair loss.
Typically, looking at your medical history will reveal a cause that occurred between one and six months before the shedding was noticed. However, that delay can sometimes make it difficult to see the connection with your hair loss (Hughes, 2021).
The good news is that sudden hair loss will typically reverse in time, no matter what the cause. When your body recovers from that recent stress or change, your hair will start growing again.
Hair loss is a possible side effect of Wellbutrin, but it is not common.
In fact, it’s so uncommon that during its initial clinical trials, when compared to those taking the placebo, not even 1% of people taking Wellbutrin experienced alopecia (GlaxoSmithKline, 2017).
And once Wellbutrin was made available to the public, it was only reported as an “infrequent” side effect, meaning that fewer than 1 in 100 but more than 1 in 1000 people who take Wellbutrin will experience hair loss (GlaxoSmithKline, 2017).
If you think Wellbutrin is causing your hair loss, do not stop taking your antidepressant without talking to your healthcare provider first. Doing so means you might experience a return of your depression or, occasionally, withdrawal symptoms, so it’s important to follow your provider’s medical advice when weaning off of the drug.
Acute hair loss is usually temporary and will stop on its own. Your provider may want to check you for other causes of sudden hair loss, such as (Hughes, 2021):
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- Hormonal imbalance
- Vitamin deficiencies
- Metabolic problems
- Thyroid problems
If another medical reason besides Wellbutrin is at play, your hair loss will likely stop when that condition is treated (Hughes, 2021).
Medications aren’t usually needed for hair loss caused by Wellbutrin but can be considered a treatment option in severe cases. Topical minoxidil (Rogaine) hasn’t been proven to promote hair growth in telogen effluvium. However, it has helped with hair regrowth in other conditions (Hughes, 2021).
While Wellbutrin hair loss isn’t life-threatening, it can still stress you out. Remember that it’s usually temporary and is typically a subtle all-over hair loss that isn’t as visible to others as some other types of hair loss (Phillips, 2017).
Some ways to make thinning hair less noticeable include:
- Try different hairstyles
- Wear a headscarf or bandana
- Wear a hat
- Look into hairpieces or wigs
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If your Wellbutrin hair loss doesn’t seem to improve after a few months, you can talk to your healthcare provider about trying a different antidepressant medication. You might experience less hair loss with another class of antidepressant medication (Phillips, 2017).
- Al Aboud, A. M. & Zito, P. M. (2021). Alopecia. StatPearls. Retrieved Apr. 5, 2022 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK538178/
- GlaxoSmithKline. (2017). Wellbutrin: highlights of prescribing information. Retrieved from https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2017/018644s052lbl.pdf
- Huecker, M. R., Smiley, A., & Saadabadi, A. (2021). Bupropion. StatPearls. Retrieved Apr. 5, 2022 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK470212/
- Hughes, E. C. & Saleh, D. (2021). Telogen Effluvium. StatPearls. Retrieved Apr. 5, 2022 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK430848/
- Phillips, T. G., Slomiany, W. P., & Allison, R. (2017). Hair loss: common causes and treatment. American Family Physician, 96(6),371-378. Retrieved from https://www.aafp.org/pubs/afp/issues/2017/0915/p371. html
- Tirmazi, S. I., Imran, H., Rasheed, A., et al. (2020). Escitalopram-Induced Hair Loss. The Primary Care Companion for CNS Disorders, 22(4), 19l02496. doi:10.4088/PCC.19l02496. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32589827/
Does Wellbutrin Cause Hair Loss?
Medically reviewed by Kristin Hall, FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated 4/15/2021
Suffering from depression is like living in a well — it’s dark and feels very, very alone.
Antidepressant medication can help, but may come with side effects and adverse reactions. Understanding these risks before you begin antidepressant drugs can help you prepare for those potential results.
If you’re experiencing hair loss at the same time you’re taking Wellbutrin for depression, you may feel stuck between a rock and a hard place — like you have to choose between your hair or your mental health.
This isn’t the case. You can have both.
Talking with a healthcare provider before you make any changes to your medication doses will help ensure you make choices that stand to have the best outcomes.
In other words, there’s no sense in giving up your antidepressant if it’s not causing your hair loss.
There may be a way to halt your thinning hair while preventing a depression relapse.
What Is Wellbutrin?
Wellbutrin is an antidepressant drug also sold under the generic name bupropion. Other forms of bupropion include Zyban®, Forfivo®, and Aplenzin®.
Unlike other popular antidepressants, often in the class of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, Wellbutrin actually works by inhibiting the update (or reabsorption) of noradrenaline and dopamine, leaving more of these chemicals to circulate in the body.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved Wellbutrin for the treatment of psychiatric disorders including depression, though Zyban, another form of bupropion, is approved for use in helping people quit smoking.
Wellbutrin has been available since the late 1990s, and in 2007, an extended formula became available.
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Do Wellbutrin Side Effects Include Hair Loss?
As with any prescription drug, there are potential side effects when using Wellbutrin.
The most common side effects include agitation, headaches, dry mouth, insomnia, nausea and vomiting, tremors, and constipation.
During drug development, the adverse effects of the medication were troublesome enough to cause discontinuation in 10% of the 2,400 trial participants, meaning they opted to stop treatment.
The FDA’s information on this drug classifies effects as “frequent” if they occur in at least 1/100 patients, and “infrequent” if they occur in 1/100 to 1/1,000 patients.
“Rare” effects are seen in less than 1/1,000 patients.
There are a few potential dermatological effects, but only one that is cited as “frequent”: nonspecific skin rash.
Alopecia, or hair loss, is cited as an “infrequent” effect of Wellbutrin. This means that during clinical trials, hair loss was seen in somewhere between 1/100 to 1/1,000 participants.
That said, it’s difficult to find additional scientific literature or studies on the connection between Wellbutrin and hair loss.
But this information from the Food and Drug Administration does indicate Wellbutrin could cause hair loss, though it’s not a common side effect.
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“I’m a 34 year old father of two and have been using Hims for over a year now. My hair is back to what it was in my mid twenties.”
Hair Loss Causes
If you’re experiencing hair loss while taking Wellbutrin, don’t rush to blame your medication.
There are many potential causes for hair loss, and stopping your medical treatment could cause your depression symptoms to resurface. And, if it turns out your hair loss is caused by something else, you won’t be any better for it.
Androgenetic alopecia is the most common form of hair loss, caused by genetics. Also known as male pattern hair loss, it’s characterized by thinning of the hair around the temples and the crown of the head.
Other types of hair loss may be caused by: fungal and bacterial infections, immune dysfunction, cancer treatment, stress or traumatic events, hair care products, hormonal imbalances, allergic reactions, inflammation, thyroid disease, nutritional deficiencies, and even sexually transmitted infections.
Hair Loss Treatments
The first step in determining the best course of treatment for your hair thinning is determining the cause. And the best way to do this is to talk with a healthcare provider or dermatologist.
You may suspect Wellbutrin is the culprit, but do not stop taking an antidepressant without consulting with your healthcare provider.
The FDA warns that stopping Wellbutrin suddenly can cause you to develop other symptoms. Seek medical advice before making any changes to how you take your prescription antidepressant medications.
Obviously, if a medication is to blame for your hair loss, stopping that medication may end this side effect.
However, if it’s determined that your hair loss is genetic — as in androgenetic alopecia — or caused by some other factor, other treatments may be necessary.
For example, if it’s determined your hair loss is caused by an infection, treating that underlying infection could heal the hair loss.
In the case of male pattern baldness, a healthcare provider may prescribe oral finasteride or topical minoxidil, the two treatments approved by the FDA in the treatment of androgenic alopecia.
These two products require consistency, and time. If you stop taking them, the hair loss will once again resume and progress.
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Finasteride & Minoxidil
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The Bottom Line on Hair Loss and Wellbutrin
Wellbutrin may cause some hair loss in a small number of patients, but before you stop your treatment, talk about your concerns with a healthcare provider.
Other causes of hair loss may be to blame, and stopping your Wellbutrin could cause more problems than it solves.
To reiterate: discontinuation of treatment for depression can be risky without input from your healthcare provider.
They can help determine what’s causing you hair loss and identify the best route forward.
Hims & Hers has strict sourcing guidelines to ensure our content is accurate and current. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references.
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2009). Wellbutrin (bupropion hydrochloride) Retrieved from https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2009/018644s039s040.pdf
- American Academy of Dermatology. (n.d.) Hair Loss: Who Gets and Causes. Retrieved from https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/hair-loss/causes/18-causes
- National Alliance on Mental Illness (2020, Dec.) Bupropion (Wellbutrin). Retrieved from https://www.nami.org/About-Mental-Illness/Treatments/Mental-Health-Medications/Types-of-Medication/Bupropion-(Wellbutrin)
- Patel, K. et. al. (2016, Apr.) Bupropion: A systematic review and meta-analysis of effectiveness as an antidepressant. Therapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacology. 6(2): 99-144. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4837968/
- U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2020) Androgenetic alopecia. Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/genetics/condition/androgenetic-alopecia/
- Chin, E. (2013, May) Androgenetic alopecia (male pattern hair loss) in the United States: What treatments should primary care providers recommend? Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. 25(8): 395-401. Retrieved from https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/1745-7599.12030
This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Learn more about our editorial standards here.
🎖▷ Why you don't need to worry about weight gain with Lamictal
6,803 2 min read
If you're worried that taking Lamictal (lamotrigine) might cause weight gain, there's good news. It probably won't affect your weight much. If anything, you're more likely to lose weight due to Lamictal than gain weight, but either way, the changes are likely to be pretty small.
The effect of Lamictal on weight has been little studied and various clinical trials have found minimal effect. In fact, some researchers even considered the drug as a possible remedy for obesity and as a remedy for overeating. This information should be reassuring for people with bipolar disorder, as many of the medications used to treat this condition can cause weight gain. nine0003
Lamictal findings and weight gain or loss
Lamictal is an anticonvulsant that can be used to treat seizures such as epilepsy. It is also used as a mood stabilizer for bipolar disorder.
In the first clinical trials with the drug, 5 percent of adults with epilepsy lost weight while taking Lamictal, while 1 to 5 percent of patients with bipolar I disorder gained weight while taking the drug. The researchers do not disclose how much weight patients have gained or lost. nine0007 Meanwhile, a 2006 study comparing the effects on weight of Lamictal, lithium, and placebo found that some Lamictal-treated patients gained weight, some lost weight, and most remained about the same weight. Weight changes are usually not many pounds anyway. Obese patients taking Lamictal lost an average of four pounds, while the weight of non-obese patients remained virtually unchanged.
Relationship between weight gain and other bipolar drugs
Weight gain from medications used to treat bipolar disorder is unfortunately quite common. Some mood stabilizers commonly used for bipolar disorder, especially lithium and Depakote (valproate), carry a high risk of weight gain.
In addition, the atypical antipsychotics Clozaril (clozapine) and Zyprexa (olanzapine) tend to cause significant weight gain in people who take them. Finally, some antidepressants, notably Paxil (paroxetine) and Remeron (mirtazapine), have been associated with weight gain. nine0007 Therefore, if you are already overweight, you and your psychiatrist may want to consider additional weight gain when determining your bipolar medication regimen. Based on this, Lamictal may be a good choice.
Lamictal as a possible treatment for obesity
Lamictal has also been studied as a possible treatment for obesity in people without epilepsy or bipolar disorder.
In a small clinical study of 40 people conducted in 2006, researchers randomly assigned participants to receive either lamiktal or placebo for up to 26 weeks. Each participant in the study had a body mass index (BMI) between 30 and 40, placing them in the obese group to the level of severe obesity. Those who took Lamictal lost an average of just over 10 pounds. Those who took the placebo lost about 7 pounds in the meantime, so while those who took Lamictal lost more weight, they didn't lose all that much more. nine0007 Another study in 2009 looked at Lamictal as a remedy for overeating. This study involved 51 people with the condition that 26 of them received Lamictal, and 25 - placebo.
Those who took Lamictal lost more weight than those who took placebo (about 2. 5 pounds vs. about one third of a pound) and did have significant improvements in blood sugar and cholesterol lab test results. However, Lamictal did not appear to affect other aspects of the eating disorder when compared to placebo. nine0003
LamictalworryYou don't need a reason to increase
Hair loss depression - Dr. Acar
The Cosmedica Team
We are an international team committed to providing the best hair transplant services on the market and to informing and educating people around the world about hair loss and its treatments.
A threat called hair loss
Thinning hair , thinning hair and baldness are very common human scalp problems. These conditions are associated with hair loss , otherwise known as alopecia. Hair loss is a condition in which excessive hair loss occurs. Hair loss can be observed in men and women, as well as in representatives of different age groups.
For many years, hair loss experts have associated this threat with hormonal problems , symptoms of old age or other physical illnesses. However, there is new evidence that mental health problems can not only cause hair loss, but also be the result of people losing their hair.
Cosmedica-Dr. Acar , a leading hair clinic, is committed to helping people overcome the symptoms of hair loss and factors such as depression that lead to hair loss . Here are important details about how depression causes hair loss and treatments to follow when treating depression from hair loss.
Common types of hair loss in men and women
Hair loss can have different effects on individuals. This is because different types of hair loss can affect different people. These types of hair loss can be either permanent or temporary. nine0003
In general, The American Academy of Dermatology recognizes the following most common types of hair loss.
Alopecia areata: This type of hair loss is most common in young people. Alopecia areata usually causes people with this condition to lose their hair in clumps.
Androgenetic alopecia: This type of hair loss is also called male pattern baldness. This condition causes the hair to fall out in the middle in an "M" shape. nine0003
Telogen effluvium: Telogen effluvium occurs mainly due to stress and is characterized by large amounts of hair loss. Hair loss in this disease begins at the resting stage of the hair growth cycle.
Trichotillomania: this condition is known as hair-pulling disorder and usually results in a constant and irresistible impulse to pull hair from different parts of the body.
Trichorrhexis nodosa: Unlike other conditions that cause hair to fall off the scalp, trichorrhexis nodosa simply breaks off at weak points. nine0003
Relationship between depression and hair loss
Patients with mental illnesses always experience far-reaching consequences from the conditions they suffer from. But more recently, hair loss has been linked to suffering from anxiety and depression. Although there are no direct studies that prove that depression causes hair loss, there are several types of studies that show how depression can cause the conditions that lead to hair loss. nine0003
One of these preconditions is stress . With increased levels of stress, the likelihood of thinning hair and hair loss can increase. Hair loss can also be the result of stress associated with childbirth or depression caused by unwanted life events or problems such as death, deterioration in health, or problems at work.
Chronic use of birth control pills can also lead to some level of depression. This, in turn, leads to hormonal imbalance - a strong factor responsible for hair loss. Similarly, people who use antidepressants usually experience hair loss as a side effect of taking them.
Hair loss depression treatment
If you are suffering from depression associated with hair loss, it is important to take steps to restore healthy hair. One of the best methods is to take care of the health issues that usually lead to depression. nine0003 If the hair does not grow back, a hair transplant can be considered. Hair transplantation involves taking hair from a donor area of the body and transplanting it to areas of the scalp where the hair has fallen out. Hair transplant is a common procedure at Cosmedica and is recommended as a permanent solution to hair loss, especially caused by depression or hereditary factors.
Final Thoughts on Depression in Hair Loss nine0040
If the hair does not grow back, a hair transplant can be considered. Hair transplantation involves taking hair from a donor area of the body and transplanting it to areas of the scalp where the hair has fallen out.
Hair transplant is a common procedure at Cosmedica and is recommended as a permanent solution to hair loss, especially caused by depression or hereditary factors.
Although there are several drug treatment options for hair loss depression , not all forms of treatment are appropriate due to side effects.