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When Will Your Wellbutrin Start Working for Weight Loss?

speciality medications

February 5, 2024
Wellbutrin for Weight Loss

Wellbutrin, or bupropion, is an effective antidepressant.

It’s been used for psychological treatment for years, but now, it’s known for a potential secondary treatment. When used properly and with medical oversight, Wellbutrin can help patients achieve their healthy weight loss goals.

This can be exciting, but Wellbutrin, like other weight loss remedies that are also good for overall patient health, is not a magic pill. It’s easy to start taking it and then wonder: Exactly when does Wellbutrin start working for weight loss?

Good question. In this article, we’ll provide the straightforward answers and practical tips you need to understand the best way to use Wellbutrin for weight loss in your specific situation.

What is Wellbutrin? Understanding the Basics

Wellbutrin (bupropion) is an antidepressant that can be used to treat many forms of depression—including major depressive disorder and seasonal affective disorder. While it wasn’t originally designed for weight management (or its other off-label uses, such as smoking cessation), over time, people began to notice that weight loss was an occasional side effect.

Now, in some cases, Wellbutrin may be able to help people work toward their goal weight when paired with healthy lifestyle changes.

How does it do this?

The Mechanism Behind Wellbutrin and Weight Loss

Wellbutrin works by changing the levels of specific types of brain neurotransmitters.

The particular ones it alters may ring a bell, if you’re well-versed in mental health mechanisms. Wellbutrin, for example, may be able to support healthy levels of norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain, with the result that a person’s physiology and behavior may be better able to support positive moods and behaviors.

That’s not all Wellbutrin does.

One of the side effects of Wellbutrin is appetite suppression. There are some people who believe that Wellbutrin can have an impact on metabolism, which could result in weight loss effects as well.

Importantly, these effects could vary from person to person—and will likely not take place at all if a patient takes Wellbutrin but does not seriously consider healthy lifestyle interventions like diet and exercise.

Timeline of Wellbutrin for Weight Loss

That said: Let’s say you are taking Wellbutrin for weight loss, and you and your doctor have discussed the best diet and exercise plan for you. You’re taking your medication and working out diligently.

What can you expect going forward?

Initial Phase – What to Expect in the First Few Weeks

As you just get started with Wellbutrin for weight loss, it’s comforting to know that you may be able to look out for subtle signs of progress. While not everyone will experience the same milestones as they work toward their weight loss goals, you may slowly recognize the following effects:

  • Wellbutrin can cause appetite changes. As Wellbutrin starts to affect your brain chemistry, you may realize that you’re just not as noticeably hungry. (While this can help with weight loss, make sure you’re eating enough to keep yourself healthy.)
  • Weight loss on Wellbutrin can take a few weeks to begin, and even then, your progress may not be linear. Don’t worry too much if you don’t see the number on the scale shift during your first month–and if you lose a few pounds and then, seemingly, gain a few back, just know that’s part of the process.
  • Watch for improvement in your other physical symptoms. Early signs of Wellbutrin doing its job include sleep improvements, higher energy levels, and overall physical well-being.

Although, for the most part, taking Wellbutrin for weight loss should be a positive experience, you should be aware that there can be side effects like anxiety, jitteriness, or even insomnia. If these side effects are severe, talk to your doctor to see if you have alternate options to pursue.

Wellbutrin for Weight Loss

The Progressive Phase – Observing Changes Over Months

Have you made it through the initial transition phase?

Found yourself settling into a groove with your medication?

Maybe seeing a benefit or two, but wondering what’s next?

As you continue your weight loss journey with Wellbutrin, you may notice:

  • An average of about 5-10 pounds of weight loss in the first 1-3 months
  • A continuation of your appetite suppression
  • An enhancement of your body’s metabolic rate, to help your body burn calories at a higher capacity
  • Changes in your body’s shape

That last point is important. If you’re working out and eating well alongside your treatment with Wellbutrin, you may be building muscle as you attempt to lose fat. That’s a good thing!

However, it can make the number on the scale a little hard to interpret, since muscle weighs more than fat. If it doesn’t seem like you’re making any progress, think about this: Do you have more energy? Do you feel stronger? Do your pants feel a little roomier?

These are all signals that you’re moving in the right direction, even if you’re still waiting to achieve your specific numeric weight loss goals.

Does Weight Loss with Wellbutrin Have a Maintenance Phase?

Wellbutrin is a long-term treatment for depression, but your doctor may have specific recommendations for how long you should take it to support weight loss goals.

After you’ve seen the initial weight loss with Wellbutrin or determined that you’ve reached a plateau or maintenance phase, your focus may turn to maintaining your weight, taking a break from weight loss, or pursuing other weight loss options.

Alternatively, if you and your doctor like how Wellbutrin is working for you, you may continue taking it—but make sure that, whatever you do, you talk with your doctor before making a decision.

Here’s what you might need to focus on as you continue treatment or consider alternatives:

  • Make sure you continue eating a balanced diet and incorporating exercise as a regular habit. Even if these changes don’t result in apparent weight loss, they’re healthy in other ways. And, if you shift to a different treatment, you’ll likely want to pair it with exercise and a strategic diet, too.

  • If you and your doctor decide that it’s appropriate for you to continue taking Wellbutrin for weight loss, continue to talk to your provider about what the most effective dosage for you is. You may need to adjust your dosage over time to ensure the effectiveness of your treatment and the minimization of unwanted side effects.

  • Try not to compare yourself to others! This is incredibly difficult, but an important part of your journey to better health is taking the time that you uniquely need to get to your ideal weight. Wellbutrin will work better for some people than others.

    Your genetics, baseline weight, and overall health will play a significant role in the way the next weeks and months pan out. If you see that you’re having difficulty losing weight compared to others, try to give yourself some grace and reduce comparison as much as possible.

Wellbutrin Dosage and Weight Loss

What dose of Wellbutrin will you take to support healthy weight loss?

It’ll vary from person to person, but, generally speaking, your doctor’s recommendation may start with about 75-150 milligrams of the medication per day. This may be 1-2 pills, depending on where you buy your medication.

If your doctor thinks a higher dose might be a good strategy for you, over time, you might increase to 300 mg or even 450 mg per day—but that is only something you should do under expert supervision.

Wellbutrin XL Dosage for Weight Loss

Wellbutrin XL is the extended-release form of the drug. Instead of releasing the full strength of the active ingredient into your bloodstream at once, Wellbutrin XL is formulated to trickle the dose into your system over the course of a full day.

This can help mitigate side effects, and can be a helpful option for some patients.

If you opt for Wellbutrin XL, your doctor may recommend the same low dosage of medication to start. If you had a tough experience with side effects taking regular Wellbutrin, the XL version should be a little easier to manage.

Cautions for Taking Wellbutrin for Weight Loss

As you’re taking Wellbutrin for weight loss, remember that you’re taking a strong medication that could have side effects, and may require specific lifestyle changes. For example:

  • While Wellbutrin has been observed to assist with healthy weight loss goals for some people, that’s not Wellbutrin’s primary approved use. Weight loss is an “off-label” use for Wellbutrin, which is just something to be aware of.
  • If you have a history of eating disorders or severe weight-related health issues, you may need to exercise caution before using Wellbutrin for weight loss (or at least make sure your doctor is extremely aware of your previous challenges).
  • You need to be aware that after you discontinue taking Wellbutrin for weight loss, you may have a difficult time maintaining that weight loss. Talk to your doctor about long-term strategies to help you achieve and maintain your ideal weight.
  • You’re likely going to need to commit to a series of follow-up appointments with your doctor to ensure that Wellbutrin is working as intended and isn’t having any surprising effects on you or your overall health.

Wellbutrin Cost for Weight Loss

If you’ve decided that taking Wellbutrin for weight loss is in your future, your next obstacle is a big one.

Wellbutrin can cost a lot (a lot) of money.

In America, a 30-tablet supply of regular Wellbutrin can cost around $280.00.

A 30-tablet supply of Wellbutrin XL can cost well over $1,700.00.

Clearly, that’s not a sustainable amount of money to be spending on Wellbutrin over the long term.

Fortunately, you have options. For example, you can buy 100 pills of generic bupropion through for around $100.00. Or, if you’re looking for the extended-release version, you can buy 30 tabs of Wellbutrin XL through for about $56.00—savings of about 95% when compared to the exorbitant sticker price in America!

Comparing Wellbutrin with Other Weight Loss Methods

Wondering why you would take Wellbutrin when you have other weight loss methods available to you?

Here’s a quick look at how Wellbutrin (and Wellbutrin XL) stack up to other methods you might consider.

Wellbutrin vs. Traditional Weight Loss Methods

“Traditional” weight loss methods might include lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise. As we mentioned above, these aren’t necessarily actions to pit against Wellbutrin, as to have a good experience with this weight loss treatment, you’ll likely need to pair them together.

However, it might help to know how much more effective Wellbutrin and these methods may have together than traditional diet and exercise alone. While your results may vary, treating with bupropion has resulted in a 2-3% increase in weight loss when compared to traditional methods alone in clinical trials.

Wellbutrin for Weight Loss

Wellbutrin and Other Weight Loss Medications

Wellbutrin isn’t the only prescription medication that can assist with healthy weight loss initiatives.

In fact, there are prescription medications whose primary, or on-label, use is entirely for weight loss (as opposed to Wellbutrin, which is used off-label for this purpose).

Some medications to consider that might also help with strategic weight loss, when approved by your doctor, may include:

  • Contrave, a medication that mixes bupropion with naltrexone, that also targets your brain to help reduce your feelings of hunger and lead to weight loss. You can buy 120 pills of Contrave through for around $300.00.
  • Xenical, a prescription gastrointestinal lipase inhibitor. Its job is to stop lipase, an enzyme that breaks down fat, from doing its job. This can help stop fat from being absorbed, instead allowing it to pass directly through your body. You can buy 84 pills of Xenical for around $96.00 through our Canadian internet pharmacy and international drugstore and the generic is even less.

Want to learn more about how can support you? Or, alternatively, are you ready to place your order? Contact our customer service team, browse our neatly organized online “aisles,” or call 1-866-539-5330, and we’ll be delighted to assist. We look forward to supporting you as you pursue your required treatment.

The information provided on the website is intended to facilitate awareness about healthcare products and medical conditions generally but it is not a substitute for professional medical attention or advice. You should always speak with a qualified healthcare practitioner before taking any prescription or non-prescription drug.
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