Does Wellbutrin Cause Hair Loss?

Wellbutrin Hair Loss: Can It Cause Problems With Hair?

Does Wellbutrin Cause Hair Loss?

Wellbutrin is the popular brand name for bupropion, a drug used to treat depression. It belongs to the SNRI class of antidepressants, which moderates the level and activity of the dopamine, neurotransmitters, and norepinephrine.

Except for its ability to treat the symptoms of MDD, Wellbutrin and ADHD treatment are also closely related to each other.  While it is a commonly used medication, several individuals have indicated Wellbutrin hair loss as an adverse reaction during the treatment process.

So, does Wellbutrin cause hair loss? What are the treatment options, and how bupropion hair loss can be prevented?

Does Bupropion Cause Telogen Effluvium?

According to a 2018 US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health study, bupropion comes with the highest risk of loss of hair known as Telogen Effluvium. It is usually caused due to a sudden change in hormone levels.

The hormone fluctuation causes hair follicles to go into a resting state, which leads to hair loss. People, mostly women, usually experience widespread thinning and loss of more and more hair every day.

This condition often comes up when an individual is dealing with stress or is adjusting to a new antidepressant.

Bupropion is also a Central Nervous Compound, which can make Telogen Effluvium even more intensive if Wellbutrin and alcohol are taken together.

What Should Patients Do If Wellbutrin Hair Loss Happens To Them?

Among Wellbutrin side effects, hair loss can happen to any individual who is dealing with stress, depression; and is consuming Wellbutrin, as a medication.

If one suggests that Wellbutrin hair loss happens to them, the first thing to do is to consult with a physician to find out that bupropion hydrochloride is the cause of this problem.

Sometimes Telogen Effluvium can be a result of Wellbutrin combinations with other medicines, or the reason can even be completely different.
If bupropion hair loss happens to one, here are some of the everyday things that an individual can take care of:

  • Address all the nutritional deficiencies: ensure that the diet of a patient includes eggs, nuts, beans, fish, grains, and meat.
  • Deficiency of iron also be the reason. So, the individual can make changes to diet and start to take iron-based foods.
  • Try to decrease the daily stress level. Go for counseling support for stress and depression management.
  • Consult a physician and get therapy or medical solution to stop Telogen Effluvium.
  • Avoid heat styling treatments to prevent further loss.
  • Massage scalp with essential oils.
  • Wash scalp with a mild shampoo and avoid brushing straight after the shower.
  • Keep the scalp free from sweat.
  • Consider going for hair replacement therapy.

As patients experience the first sign of Wellbutrin hair loss, they should report it to a healthcare provider. Health professional may consider changing the dose back to Wellbutrin 150 mg or completely change the patient’s medicine and schedule.

In What Time Does It Grow Back?

According to the 2015 Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research, it will grow back in 3-6 months on the removal of trigger, in the case of Wellbutrin hair loss. For professional advice on Wellbutrin hair growth, consult a trichologist.

How Wellbutrin Hair Loss Can Be Prevented or Disguised?

An individual can prevent bupropion hair loss by decreasing the regular administration of Wellbutrin or lowering the dose. Once done, check if Telogen Effluvium stops or not. Some others of ways preventing Telogen Effluvium include:

  • Schedule visits to the physician.
  • Take a healthy diet, which is loaded with proteins, vitamins, and other nutrients.
  • Check the amount of hair left on brush regularly.
  • The patient can also try to switch from Wellbutrin to it’s alternatives, but only after permission of health professional.

While Wellbutrin hair loss is preventable, some individuals also worried that does Wellbutrin cause weight gain or not? According to the U.S.

Food and Drug Administration, weight loss of 5lbs occurred in patients who were receiving Wellbutrin.

If someone is dealing with Wellbutrin xl hair loss issues, here is how they can disguise it.

The patient can start with using volume-based shampoos and follow the below-mentioned tips:

  •  Visit the hairdresser and get a good haircut such as front bangs or pixie cut, but with some strategic layers. Short haircut and layers will create more volume, and they are not weighed down by long strands.
  • Leverage a wide headband as it will help the patient disguise the damaged area.
  • The individual can go for a blowout.
  • Use shake on powders to fill in the visible patches of scalp.
  • Wigs, extensions, and toppers also serve as possible alternatives.

While an individual wait for new hairs and strands to grow back, the new hairstyle will help the patient feel better and reduce the stress level, despite Wellbutrin hair loss haven’t stopped. Patients should keep in mind that this side effect is temporary and can be reversed in half a year, as maximum.

Page Sources

  1. WELLBUTRIN® (bupropion hydrochloride) Tablets, Prescribing Information,


  2. Shashikant Malkud, Telogen Effluvium: A Review,
  3. Etminan M, Sodhi M, Procyshyn RM, Guo M, Carleton BC, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.


Published on: July 5th, 2019

Updated on: June 10th, 2020

Nena Messina is a specialist in drug-related domestic violence. She devoted her life to the study of the connection between crime, mental health, and substance abuse. Apart from her work as management at addiction center, Nena regularly takes part in the educational program as a lecturer.


Does Wellbutrin Cause Hair Loss?

Does Wellbutrin Cause Hair Loss?

Wellbutrin is a prescription medication used for treating depression, smoking cessation, and seasonal affective disorder. However, it may cause certain adverse effects, including hair loss. It is believed that certain medicated drugs can impact the scalp and interfere with hair growth. Here, we discuss how Wellbutrin impacts hair health and what you can do about it.

Can Wellbutrin Cause Hair Loss

Research indicates that bupropion used in Wellbutrin may cause alopecia (1). Wellbutrin contains dopamine agonists (compounds that imitate dopamine action). These dopamine agonists tend to affect the receptors in hair follicles and eventually lead to hair loss (1).

Wellbutrin and other antidepressants may cause drug-induced hair loss. To better understand drug-induced hair loss, we need to look into the hair growth cycle.

The hair growth cycle has three main phases – anagen, catagen, and telogen (2). The anagen phase is where hair follicles begin to grow. Catagen is the regression phase, and telogen is the resting phase. At any given point in time, 90% of hair is in the anagen phase (1). Hair disorders usually involve changes to the anagen and telogen phases in the hair growth cycle (3).

Drug-induced hair loss can lead to effluvium (or hair shedding) in the anagen or telogen phases. While anagen effluvium occurs a few days or weeks from taking the drug, telogen effluvium typically occurs two to four months after you start taking the drug. This can eventually lead to patterned or diffused hair loss that can be acute or chronic.

Research shows that bupropion poses the highest risk for hair loss compared to other antidepressants (4). Studies show that there are 13 notable cases of drug-induced alopecia caused by bupropion (1). Women are more frequently affected by drug-induced hair loss than men (5).

There are ways you can reverse this hair loss. While some have been proven by research, some are believed to work from anecdotal evidence. Take a look at the following section.

What Can You Do To Help Your Hair Grow Back

  • Hair loss due to antidepressants (drug-induced hair loss) is reversible. Hair tends to grow back in a month or two after you stop taking the drug (5). Ensure you consult a doctor before discontinuing any medication.
  • Certain drugs may cause nutrient deficiencies, leading to hair loss.

    Taking the right nutrient supplements can help.

  • You may also try hair masks made with natural ingredients eggs, milk, oils, yogurt, or fenugreek seeds that can help stimulate hair growth and reduce hair loss.
  • Massaging your scalp with warm oil can improve blood circulation and stimulate hair growth.

    This can also improve hair thickness and length (6).

  • Topical minoxidil can be used to treat hair loss and stimulate hair growth (7).
  • One major cause of hair loss is stress. Improving your lifestyle to reduce stress may also help reduce hair loss.

There are no shampoos or conditioners that can help treat drug-induced hair loss. If the hair loss you experience is worrying you, visit a doctor.

Drug-Induced Hair Loss Diagnosis: When To See A Doctor

It is normal for a person to lose 100 hair strands a day. But if you notice excessive hair loss, consult a doctor. The hair loss may not always be caused by the bupropion you could be taking. There could also be a nutrient deficiency.

Your doctor may perform a gentle pull test to confirm active hair loss (8). You may be asked to stop washing hair for five days before the test.

After five days, a lock of hair is gently pulled at the end to note the amount of hair loss occurring. If more than 10% of hair loss occurs, it could be treated as alopecia.

The doctor may perform other tests to confirm drug-induced hair loss (this also can include stopping drug usage temporarily to observe its impact on hair loss).

Discontinuation Of Medication To Stop Hair Loss

Your hair loss should reduce once you discontinue your medications. But if you need to continue taking the medication for your health condition, you can check for other options to treat drug-induced hair loss. Your doctor might prescribe a lower dosage of bupropion or even offer other treatment options.

Although bupropion has been shown to cause hair loss in some cases, it also can help treat a rather severe condition of hair loss.

Bupropion For Treating Trichotillomania

Trichotillomania is a disorder where the patient has a compulsive desire to pull out their own hair. Fluoxetine is one medication normally used to treat this condition. However, a study showed that bupropion could treat non-responsive trichotillomania if the condition shows no improvement with fluoxetine (9).


While Wellbutrin does cause hair loss, it is usually temporary, reversible, and treatable. A regular hair care regimen and a proper lifestyle can help reduce your hair loss. But should your hair loss persist, make sure you visit your doctor and consider the treatment options suggested.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the other side effects of Wellbutrin?

Wellbutrin (bupropion) may cause other side effects too. These include dry mouth, insomnia, headache, nausea, weight loss, restlessness, anxiety, dizziness, constipation, and fatigue (10).

What medications can cause hair loss?

Chemotherapy radiation and medication, antineoplastic medication, psychotropic medication, antidepressant medication, oral contraceptives, anticoagulant medication, retinoids, antimicrobial medication, cardiovascular medication, and androgens may cause hair loss (5).

Is hair loss from antidepressants permanent?

Usually, hair loss caused by antidepressants is temporary. The hair loss reduces a couple of months after the discontinuation of the medication.

The following two tabs change content below.Dr. Shruti Chavan is a consulting dermatologist at Dr.Sheth's Skin and Hair Clinic since 6 years. She is a co-committee member of CDSI (Cosmetic dermatologist Society of India). She is highly skilled in non-surgical facial skin rejuvenation and face lift by the use of injection treatments and lasers. Dr. Chavan is well-versed with dermatological and aesthetic procedures. Her special interests… more


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