Wellbutrin Hair Loss: Causes, Treatment and Prevention

Last Updated: June 10, 2020

Authored by Nena Messina, Ph.D.

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.

brush with long black hair loss

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.

Woman with hair loss problem receiving injection

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.
Middle-aged man concerned with hair loss
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, https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2011/018644s043lbl.pdf
  2. Shashikant Malkud, Telogen Effluvium: A Review, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4606321/pdf/jcdr-9-WE01.pdf
  3. Etminan M, Sodhi M, Procyshyn RM, Guo M, Carleton BC, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28763345

Published on: July 5th, 2019

Updated on: June 10th, 2020

About Author

Nena Messina, Ph.D.

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.


Leave a comment

  • Suzanne
    Can you please tell me if I could still experience hair loss or thinning if I’m only on 100 mg Sr? Also how do you know if you’re really having depression or if you’re just having Zaidi I mean I feel good on the Wellview trend but I definitely don’t want to experience any hair loss for filling but I mostly have a racing heartbeat and a lot of anxiety and very little depression but I do better with BuSpar? Also how do you know if you’re really having depression or if you’re just having Zaidi I mean I feel good on the Wellview trend but I definitely don’t want to experience any hair loss or fitting but I mostly have a racing heartbeat and a lot of anxiety and very little depression but I do better with BuSpar How would I wean myself off of this med -would I do a 50 mg for a few days and then stop? i’ve only been on it five days . Thank you
  • Jen
    Wellbutrin caused major hair loss, I’d rather be depressed than lose my hair. It s**ks my hairline looks this way, I thought I could get over losing hair, but today I said heck no!
    • D.D.S.
      Good for you. I have had physicians and pharmacists deny that hair loss is a side effect. I take hair growth supplements but the hair loss, despite aging is real.
  • Deirdre Spencer
    What causes Wellbutrin to result in hair loss?
  • Douglas
    It’s definitely a thing, I’m shocked how fast and furiously it arrived. You know what s**ks? Googling “hair loss Welbutrin?” while looking at your newly enormous shiny forehead. I had no forewarning dramatic hair loss was a possible side effect. An anti-depressant that makes you bald is the definition of irony.
  • Elizabeth C Williams
    My hair started coming out about 6 months ago very much in my brush. Later each time I wash it strains come out. If I run my fingers through it I get a hand full. It is so thin you can see through it. I have always had very thick hair.