Does Wellbutrin affect HRV? (+5 factors)

In this article, we will discuss whether Wellbutrin has any effects on heart rate variation or not. We will look into some factors that may affect the HRV while taking  Wellbutrin. We will further discover the ways to manage HRV if the cause is  Wellbutrin. 

Does Wellbutrin affect HRV? 

Wellbutrin may affect Heart rate variation (HRV) in some patients. Wellbutrin is considered to have a low risk of cardiovascular side effects, but some factors may lead to changes in HRV while being on Wellbutrin.

It is important to note that individual responses to Wellbutrin may vary. However, if you feel any heart rate variations while taking Wellbutrin, you need to seek immediate medical attention.

What does research suggest?

Based on research studies, it can be stated that Wellbutrin may cause a reduction in heart rate variation. This is hypothesized that the decrease in HRV is due to Wellbutrin’s sympathomimetic activity on the heart (1). 

Wellbutrin is an aminoketone, an atypical antidepressant that selectively inhibits the reuptake of dopamine and norepinephrine. Due to this inhibition of neurotransmitters, Wellbutrin exerts its antidepressant effects on the brain (1). 

Wellbutrin is given as an antidepressant drug to relieve stress and depression. An investigation report showed that Wellbutrin was given to 17 depressed patients who showed decreased heart rate variability (2).  

It was reported that when patients with major depressive disorder were given Wellbutrin, they showed an increase in diastolic blood pressure suggesting that Wellbutrin may exert cardiovascular side effects to a smaller extent (2). 

Research suggests that major depressive disorder and antidepressant medications are linked to decreased HRV. It has also been studied that depression and decreased HRV are associated with the risk of mortality in cardiac patients (3). 

What factors can affect HRV while taking Wellbutrin?

The following are some of the factors that affect HRV while taking Wellbutrin (2,3):

  • The impact of Wellbutrin on casing HRV largely depends upon its dosage and administration. The higher the dose of Wellbutrin, the more the chances of causing HRV and other cardiovascular conditions such as heart palpitations
  • Careful administration and monitoring should be done while taking Wellbutrin to avoid HRV. However, always take the prescribed dosage as suggested by your doctor. 
  • Individual response to medication may cause HRV. Different patients may experience HRV varyingly based on their response to Wellbutrin. Some of them might experience significant changes in HRV, while others might not face them. 
  • Various lifestyle factors such as physical exercise, diet, smoking, and stress may alter HRV in some patients. Lifestyle changes vary in different patients taking Wellbutrin and may cause an increase or decrease in HRV. 
  • Taking concurrent medication along with Wellbutrin might impact the HRV. Underlying cardiovascular conditions may serve as risk factors.
  • It is important to discuss with your doctor if you have any underlying heart condition or if you are taking any concomitant drug with Wellbutrin to avoid HRV complications. 

How to manage Wellbutrin-associated HRV?

Consult your healthcare provider if you are having heart rate variations. You should inform your healthcare provider of any history of cardiovascular conditions so the dosage and timing of Wellbutrin can be adjusted accordingly. 

If this drug is causing HRV, then your doctor must taper off the Wellbutrin dose and may shift you to a safer antidepressant with a lower chance of cardiovascular complications. 

You should limit your intake of intoxicants such as alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine. Along with Wellbutrin, these stimulants may affect the heart rate and HRV and can lead to severe consequences. 

Hydration and a healthy diet are necessary for good cardiovascular health. An active lifestyle with physical activities and stress management while taking Wellbutrin can improve HRV. 

You should not miss out on your follow-ups with your healthcare provider. Keep your doctor updated about any side effects or changes in your health condition related to HRV. 

Never stop taking Wellbutrin abruptly without consulting your doctor first. Stopping this drug may cause withdrawal symptoms. 


In this article, we have answered how Wellbutrin affects heart rate variation in patients. We have discussed some research studies to support our answer. We have further, discovered some factors that affect HRV in patients taking Wellbutrin. 

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Siepmann, M., Weidner, K., Petrowski, K. et al. Heart Rate Variability: A Measure of Cardiovascular Health and Possible Therapeutic Target in Dysautonomic Mental and Neurological Disorders. Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback 47, 273–287 (2022).


Preetam J. Schramm, Russell E. Poland, Uma Rao,

Bupropion response on sleep quality in patients with depression: Implications for increased cardiovascular disease risk, European Neuropsychopharmacology, Volume 24, Issue 2, 2014, Pages 207-214.


van Zyl, L.T., Hasegawa, T. & Nagata, K. Effects of antidepressant treatment on heart rate variability in major depression: A quantitative review. BioPsychoSocial Med 2, 12 (2008).

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