If you’re considering Wellbutrin (bupropion) or already on it, you may be alarmed by discussions hinting at its link with hair loss and thinning hair. In this article, we’ll answer the question, “Does Wellbutrin cause hair loss?” We’ll also cover what Wellbutrin is, other side effects of this prescription medication, and what to do if hair loss occurs.
Licensed providers on Klarity are experienced in mental health care treatment and ready to discuss any prescription medication concerns you may have, including side effects like hair loss.
With Klarity, you have the ability to hand-pick your own licensed provider and get the mental health care treatment you need. Find a provider on Klarity today to learn more about whether Wellbutrin is right for you.
Licensed providers on Klarity provide personalized mental health treatment. Find a provider that matches your needs and preferences.
Wellbutrin Side Effects
When it comes to prescription medications like Wellbutrin, understanding the complete profile of potential side effects is crucial for informed decision-making. Wellbutrin is generally prescribed for depression and smoking cessation, in addition to off-label uses to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
But like all medications, Wellbutrin comes with its own set of side effects. Some are common and relatively mild, while others are more severe or rare, but still very important to know. Here’s more about Wellbutrin’s side effects:
Common Side Effects
- Dry Mouth: One of the most commonly reported side effects, dry mouth, can often be relieved by drinking water or chewing sugarless gum.
- Insomnia: Difficulty in sleeping is another frequent complaint and may require adjustments in the timing of medication or additional medications to counteract it.
- Nausea: Feeling nauseous is a potential initial reaction to Wellbutrin, usually dissipating after the body acclimates to the medication.
- Increased Heart Rate: This side effect is generally rare but should be immediately reported to a healthcare provider.
- Dizziness: Especially when standing up from a sitting or lying position, some people report feeling dizzy.
- Weight Loss: While some people see this as a benefit, it’s essential to monitor any significant weight changes while on this medication.
Severe & Rare Side Effects
- Seizures: One of the more severe side effects, seizures are a rare but serious risk. Those with a history of seizures or other predisposing factors should consult their healthcare provider before starting Wellbutrin.
- Suicidal Thoughts: Especially among young adults and adolescents, there’s an increased risk of suicidal thoughts when initially starting antidepressant medication like Wellbutrin. Monitoring for changes in behavior or mood is essential.
- Hallucinations: Extremely rare, but reported are instances of auditory or visual hallucinations. If you experience this, seek professional medical advice immediately.
- Allergic Reactions: Symptoms such as itching, hives, or difficulty breathing could indicate an allergic reaction to Wellbutrin, and immediate medical attention is necessary.
- Hair Loss: Although not common, some users have reported experiencing hair loss while on Wellbutrin. This side effect is generally considered rare but has been documented in a small number of case studies and anecdotal reports. The mechanism behind this is not entirely understood, but it is thought that changes in hormones or stress responses due to the medication could potentially affect the hair growth cycle.
Why Does Wellbutrin Cause Hair Loss?
The exact reason why Wellbutrin might cause hair loss is not definitively known. However, some scientific theories suggest that the medication could potentially disrupt the natural hair growth cycle. Other speculations attribute the side effect to changes in hormone levels or stress responses that the prescription medication might induce.
It’s worth noting that hair loss is not a guaranteed side effect of taking Wellbutrin; it remains relatively rare, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and occurs in less than 1 out of 1,000 patients. If you’re experiencing hair loss as a side effect of Wellbutrin, speak with your healthcare provider for proper diagnosis and treatment options.
Is Wellbutrin Hair Loss Permanent?
Generally, Wellbutrin does not cause permanent hair loss. In most of these rare cases, the condition improves, and hair regrowth starts after the medication is discontinued or the dosage is adjusted. Some users have also reported that their hair growth returned to normal after their bodies adjusted to the medication within a week of starting treatment.
However, each individual’s reaction to a prescription drug is different, and outcomes can vary. If you are experiencing hair loss or hair shedding while taking Wellbutrin, consult your healthcare provider for personalized medical advice.
Is Wellbutrin Hair Loss Common?
Hair loss is considered a rare side effect of Wellbutrin, according to the FDA. It is not one of the common side effects that are often listed or discussed during a typical medical consultation about the drug with a licensed professional.
However, it has been documented in a limited number of cases (less than 1 out of 1,000 patients).
Hair Loss (Alopecia) and Antidepressants
Hair loss is not only associated with Wellbutrin but can also be a side effect of other antidepressant drugs. The phenomenon is known medically as drug-induced alopecia. Antidepressants that belong to the category of SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) or SNRIs (Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors) have also been reported to cause drug-induced hair loss in some cases. Specifically, medications like fluoxetine, sertraline, and venlafaxine have been linked to this condition.
The reason for this side effect is not entirely understood but could be related to hormonal fluctuations or disruptions in the hair growth cycle, similar to Wellbutrin. It’s worth mentioning that hair loss from SSRIs and SNRIs is also quite rare and often reversible upon discontinuing the medication or reducing the dosage. Nevertheless, the experience can be stressful for those who are affected, and you should contact your healthcare provider if you’re dealing with side effects.
How To Prevent Wellbutrin Hair Loss
Preventing hair loss from Wellbutrin starts with understanding your risk factors and consulting your healthcare provider. A medical evaluation can help rule out other causes of hair loss, such as hormonal imbalances or nutrient deficiencies. Some people find success in reducing the medication dosage under medical supervision, while others may decide with their provider to switch to a different antidepressant that has a lower risk of causing hair loss.
Additionally, incorporating nutrient-rich foods that support hair growth, like those high in biotin and omega-3 fatty acids, may be beneficial. Proper scalp care and avoiding stressful hair treatments like bleaching or frequent heat styling can also help.
How To Treat Hair Loss From Wellbutrin
If you find yourself dealing with hair loss while taking Wellbutrin, it’s important not to despair. There are multiple remedies to consider, and each has its own set of benefits and drawbacks. First and foremost, consult your healthcare provider for a thorough evaluation to determine the root cause of your hair loss and to decide the most effective treatment for you.
Note that some treatments may take time to show results, so patience and consistent follow-up with your healthcare provider are key. Here’s a more in-depth look at various hair loss remedies you can explore:
Topical Medication: Minoxidil
Minoxidil is an FDA-approved solution that you apply directly to the scalp to stimulate hair growth. Available in both liquid and foam formulations, it works by widening blood vessels and providing more oxygen, blood, and nutrients to hair follicles. This process reinvigorates shrunken hair follicles, enabling them to grow larger and thicker strands of hair. It’s often one of the first treatments recommended due to its general efficacy and tolerability.
Keep in mind that Minoxidil can initially lead to increased hair shedding, which is a sign that older hairs are making way for new growth. Consistent use is key for sustained benefits, and it’s essential to continue the treatment indefinitely to maintain improvements. Be aware that Minoxidil does have some side effects, like scalp irritation or unwanted hair growth in adjacent areas, so it’s always a good idea to consult your healthcare provider before starting it.
Biotin, also known as Vitamin B7, is an essential nutrient that plays a crucial role in the health of your skin, hair, and nails. Biotin supplements can be an adjunct to other hair loss treatments, strengthening hair and potentially promoting new growth. While biotin deficiencies are rare, supplementing can offer additional support to your hair health, especially when dealing with hair thinning or shedding induced by medication such as Wellbutrin.
These supplements are available in various forms, including capsules, gummies, and even topical solutions. It’s best to consult with a healthcare provider for the appropriate dosage and to ensure it doesn’t interfere with any other medications you’re taking. Some people report improvements within a few weeks, but for others, it can take several months to see noticeable results, so patience and consistency are key.
Hair Loss Shampoo
Specialized shampoos designed to combat hair loss often incorporate a variety of active ingredients aimed at inhibiting the factors that contribute to hair thinning. One of the most common ingredients is Ketoconazole, an antifungal agent known for its capacity to reduce scalp inflammation and lower DHT (Dihydrotestosterone) levels.
In addition to Ketoconazole, look for other beneficial ingredients like biotin, caffeine, and saw palmetto, which also offer scalp-stimulating and hair-strengthening properties. It’s advisable to opt for a shampoo that aligns with your specific hair type, be it curly, straight, oily, or dry, for optimal results. Moreover, it’s crucial to read product reviews and perhaps consult with your healthcare provider to ensure that the product you’re considering is reputable and effective.
Oral finasteride is particularly popular for treating male pattern baldness. It works by inhibiting the hormone DHT (Dihydrotestosterone), a known culprit in hair loss cases. The medication is usually available in tablet form and requires a prescription. However, finasteride does come with a set of side effects, such as sexual dysfunction, and therefore must be used under strict medical supervision.
It’s essential to have a comprehensive discussion with your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits before starting this treatment. Women are generally advised not to use finasteride due to its association with potential birth defects. Additionally, it may take several months of consistent use to notice significant improvements, and discontinuing the medication can result in a reversal of any gains in hair growth.
Antiandrogens like spironolactone can be beneficial if your hair loss is related to hormonal imbalances, which can sometimes be a complex side effect of medications like Wellbutrin. These medications block androgen receptors, reducing the impact of male hormones, such as testosterone, on hair loss. They are especially useful in conditions like androgenetic alopecia, which is characterized by hormone-driven hair thinning.
Before starting this medication, a thorough hormonal panel and consultation with your healthcare provider are advised to assess suitability. It’s also essential to discuss any other medications you’re taking to avoid potential interactions. The treatment’s effectiveness varies from person to person, and it may take a few months to observe noticeable improvements in hair density and hair growth.
Corticosteroids can be effective for severe inflammation that contributes to hair loss, particularly in cases of autoimmune hair loss conditions like alopecia areata. These medications can be taken orally, as a topical cream or gel, or injected directly into the scalp to provide localized treatment. While corticosteroids can offer fast relief, they are usually used as a short-term solution. Long-term use is generally avoided due to potential side effects like skin thinning, immune system suppression, and adrenal gland issues.
Additionally, it’s essential to note that not all forms of hair loss are inflammation-based, so corticosteroids may not be suitable for everyone. A thorough evaluation by a healthcare provider is recommended to determine if corticosteroids are an appropriate treatment option for your specific type of hair loss.
How To Take Wellbutrin (Bupropion) Safely
When it comes to taking Wellbutrin, or its generic form, Bupropion, safety should be your top priority. The medication comes in various forms, including immediate-release tablets, extended-release tablets, and sustained-release tablets. Dosage and frequency will vary depending on your healthcare provider’s recommendations, which are usually based on the specific condition being treated.
Keep in mind that abruptly stopping Wellbutrin can lead to withdrawal symptoms, so consult your healthcare provider before making any changes to your medication schedule. It’s crucial to take Wellbutrin exactly as prescribed, and deviating from the recommended dosage can increase the risk of side effects, which may include rare but serious implications like seizures. It’s generally advisable to avoid alcohol while on Wellbutrin, as the combination can heighten side effects and potentially pose greater risks.
As with any medication, always check for potential interactions with other medications you are taking. Your healthcare provider will be able to give you personalized advice on how to take Wellbutrin safely while also managing other health conditions and medications.
Book An Appointment on Klarity To Learn if Wellbutrin is Right For You
If you find yourself with lingering questions or concerns, Klarity offers a platform where you can pick your own board-certified and state-licensed mental healthcare provider who can provide tailored advice and treatment. Browse through the list of providers on Klarity, filter by price, area of expertise, location, and more to get the personalized care you need.
Book an appointment on Klarity today for expert insights into whether Wellbutrin is the right medication for you.
“Wellbutrin (bupropion) and hair loss.” Ellyn Vohnoutka, BSN, RN. Ro. https://ro.co/health-guide/wellbutrin-bupropion-and-hair-loss/
“Wellbutrin Hair Loss: Causes, Treatment and Prevention.” Nena Messina, Ph.D. AddictionResource. https://addictionresource.com/drugs/wellbutrin/hair-loss/
“Does Wellbutrin Cause Hair Loss?” Hims. https://www.hims.com/blog/wellbutrin-hair-loss
“What to Know About Wellbutrin (Bupropion).” Nancy Schimelpfening. Verywell Mind. https://www.verywellmind.com/wellbutrin-bupropion-side-effects-1066745