Does quitting Wellbutrin cause weight gain? (+1connection)

In this article, we will explore whether quitting Wellbutrin causes weight gain or not, What the research studies say about it and what is the relationship between weight gain and quitting Wellbutrin. 

In addition to this weight gain management will also be discussed.

Does quitting Wellbutrin cause weight gain?

No, quitting Wellbutrin does not typically cause weight gain. Wellbutrin is sometimes, prescribed to help with weight management because it is one of the few antidepressants that are less likely to cause weight gain. Wellbutrin is sometimes prescribed to counteract weight gain associated with depression. 

So, if you stop taking Wellbutrin then your risk of weight gain might theoretically increase especially if you were taking it for weight management. 

It is important to remember that weight changes are influenced by a variety of individual factors. The discontinuation of Wellbutrin alone may not solely be the cause of weight gain.

It is also possible that the return of depressive symptoms if not managed effectively, may indirectly contribute to weight gain and appetite changes. The potential connections between quitting Wellbutrin and weight gain are:

  • Resumption of depressive symptoms
  • Emotional Eating
  • Medication switch

What does research suggest?

Available research studies do not mention weight gain as a side effect of quitting Wellbutrin (Bupropion). Wellbutrin can be used for weight loss and weight management as it is a safe choice of drug due to decreased chances of it causing weight gain. 

One study found that Bupropion SR (sustained-release) was associated with weight loss in obese adults (1).  Another study has confirmed the combination of Wellbutrin and Naproxen to be effective for weight loss in patients who are obese (2).

A clinical trial conducted in 2013 examined the effects of Bupropion and Naltrexone combination therapy in overweight patients and the results concluded that this combination cause successive weight loss in patients (3).  

Wellbutrin (Bupropion) is an antidepressant that has been proven to be a safe drug to cause weight loss in obese patients when used in combination with certain other drugs.

Wellbutrin is also found to have effects on the appetite of a patient as it helps them get back to their original appetite by managing their hunger. However, no research proves weight gain to be a direct side effect of quitting Wellbutrin.

How does quitting Wellbutrin relate to weight gain?

If Wellbutrin is being discontinued or if a patient quits Wellbutrin, he is not susceptible to gaining weight as a side effect. However, if a patient experiences weight gain, then the following indirect relationships can be considered a reason.

Resumption of depressive symptoms:

If you were taking Wellbutrin for depression and you quit the medication, then there is a risk that depression symptoms may return and in some cases, the symptoms relapse with more severity than previously experienced.

The return of depression can lead to emotional eating, increased consumption of comfort food and a decrease in physical activity which can lead to weight gain. Depression can lead to changes in appetite, eating patterns and motivation for physical activity (4).

Depression can also lead to disruption of sleep patterns and poor sleep is associated with weight gain. It can further affect the body’s stress response which causes the release of cortisol, a hormone that promotes abdominal fat deposition (5).   

While the cessation of medication might be one factor, the primary concern is often the potential resurgence of depressive symptoms and their impact on appetite, eating behaviours and overall well-being.

Emotional eating

Wellbutrin is not usually seen as a drug that leads to weight gain. However, when people discontinue Wellbutrin, it can affect their moods and emotions potentially triggering emotional eating. Emotional eating occurs when a patient eats high-calorie, low-nutrition food in response to emotions like sadness and anxiety.

After quitting Wellbutrin, individuals may cope with the return of depressive symptoms by turning to emotional eating. This can lead to weight gain (6). The sadness and irritability can cause a desire to seek comfort in eating food which may lead to weight gain and obesity.

Medication Switch

In some cases, the healthcare provider might switch a patient from Wellbutrin to another antidepressant that has a higher likelihood of causing weight gain as part of the treatment plan. It is important to understand that different antidepressants have different effects on weight.

SSRIs are more commonly associated with weight gain so switching Wellbutrin with an SSRI can contribute to changes in weight (7).  

If Wellbutrin is stopped without an adequate replacement or without addressing the underlying depressive symptoms, depression can return and may cause an increase in weight by binge eating, emotional eating or lack of physical activity.

In this way, the changes in medication may lead to weight gain. So, a well-planned switch should always be done under the guidance of a healthcare provider.  

Addressing weight gain experienced after quitting Wellbutrin 

If you think quitting Wellbutrin is making you gain weight then consult your healthcare provider. The healthcare provider can rule out the medications and evaluate the actual cause of weight gain and suggest a better option to deal with weight gain. 

Lifestyle factors are to be considered. A balanced diet, regular exercise and stress management can help you manage your weight in case of return of depressive symptoms or emotional eating. 

In case of weight gain being caused by medication switching, discuss an alternative treatment option with your healthcare provider. Several alternative antidepressants with a more weight-neutral profile can be considered such as:

  • Sertraline (Zoloft)
  • Escitalopram (Lexapro)
  • Venlafaxine (Effexor)
  • Mirtazapine (Remeron)

It is important to note that individual responses to antidepressants can vary and medication should be selected based on the patient’s specific need and tolerance. The choice of an alternative can be made after considering the patient’s past medical history, previous response to treatments and potential interaction with other medication they may be taking. 

Tips to manage weight gain

Managing weight can be a challenge but with a balanced approach, it is possible to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Here are some tips for it.

  • Focus on a balanced and nutritious diet. Avoid or limit high-calorie and low-nutrient food.
  • Pay attention to portion size to avoid overeating. 
  • Have regular meals to keep your blood sugar levels stable.
  • Keep a record of your daily dietary intake. observe and analyze eating patterns to avoid potential triggers of overeating.
  • Engage in regular physical activity. Aim for a mix of cardio and strength training exercises.
  • Sleep hygiene and stress management also play a crucial role. 


Wellbutrin is an antidepressant that is safe to use in obese patients as it is less likely than other antidepressants to cause weight gain. So it is important to realize that any weight changes after quitting Wellbutrin can be multifactorial.




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Antonios, Dakanalis., Maria, Mentzelou., Sousana, K., Papadopoulou., Dimitrios, Papandreou., Marianna, Spanoudaki., Georgios, K., Vasios., Eleni, Pavlidou., Maria, Mantzorou., Constantinos, Giaginis. (2023). The Association of Emotional Eating with Overweight/Obesity, Depression, Anxiety/Stress, and Dietary Patterns: A Review of the Current Clinical Evidence. Nutrients,  doi: 10.3390/nu15051173


Sara, A., Armaiz-Flores. (2022). ‘The Myth of Weight Neutrality’ — A review on the effects of long‐term SSRI use on weight. The Brown University Child and Adolescent Behavior Letter,  doi: 10.1002/cbl.30617

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