Does Wellbutrin cause hair loss? (+5 tips)

Wellbutrin is a commonly prescribed medication known for its effectiveness in treating depression, anxiety and aiding smoking cessation. While Wellbutrin has various benefits, concerns have been raised about its potential association with hair loss.

Does Wellbutrin cause hair loss? 

Yes, Wellbutrin can cause hair loss. However, hair loss is not a commonly reported side effect of Wellbutrin. Wellbutrin is not widely recognized as a direct cause of hair loss. 

Hair loss is a complex issue with numerous potential causes, including genetics, hormonal imbalances, stress, nutritional deficiencies and certain medical conditions. It’s essential to recognize that individuals can respond differently to medications.

Some people can experience hair loss as a rare or an individualistic reaction. Factors such as an individual’s genetic predisposition or specific physiological makeup can play a role in how their body reacts to the medication.(1)

How does Wellbutrin cause hair loss?

Extensive clinical studies and research have not established a definitive link between Wellbutrin use and hair loss. However, research was made to assess and quantify the likelihood of hair loss linked to various antidepressant medications. This study indicates a higher risk of hair loss associated with Wellbutrin when compared to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and other antidepressants. This research suggests that paroxetine, an SSRI, has the lowest risk of causing hair loss(2). Sertraline is also considered to have a low risk of causing hair loss.


What does research suggest?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) database, the number of reports of hair loss associated with Wellbutrin is 720 out of 1,025,140 users of different antidepressants. Wellbutrin has a higher number of reported cases compared to other antidepressants. These reports involved individuals of both genders, aged between 23 and 58 years, with a median latency of 6 weeks. (3)

What to do if you’re experiencing Wellburin-induced hair loss?

Experiencing hair loss can be concerning, especially if you suspect it is related to medication use like Wellbutrin. In this case, you can consider the following tips:

  • Use of topical treatments: Consult a dermatologist about treatments that promote hair growth. Your dermatologist can recommend over-the-counter or prescription treatments that stimulate hair follicles. Treatments such as topical  Minoxidil and low-level light therapy are approved to manage hair loss issues.(4)


  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle: Focus on a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals essential for hair health. Manage stress through relaxation techniques and regular exercise, as stress can contribute to hair loss.


  • Consider alternative medications: In case your healthcare provider confirms that Wellbutrin is the likely cause of your hair loss, discuss switching to an alternative antidepressant medication with a different mechanism of action.(2)


  • Gentle hair care: Be gentle with your hair. Use mild shampoos and conditioners. Avoid excessive heat styling and tight hairstyles that can increase hair loss. 


  • Consult your healthcare provider: Keep your healthcare provider updated with your symptoms. Your doctor can assess your situation, review your medical history and conduct necessary tests to determine if Wellbutrin is the cause of the hair loss.

What are the alternatives to Wellbutrin if it causes hair loss?

If you are experiencing hair loss due to Wellbutrin and need an alternative antidepressant, there are several options that your healthcare provider can recommend for you. The following alternative antidepressants are less likely to cause hair loss when compared to Wellbutrin (2). Here are a few alternatives that could be considered (5,6):

  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs): SSRIs, such as fluoxetine, paroxetine, sertraline and escitalopram, are generally considered effective and well-tolerated.


  • Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs): SNRIs such as venlafaxine and duloxetine affect both serotonin and norepinephrine levels that can enhance mood quality 


  • Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors ( MAOIs): MAOIs, such as phenelzine and tranylcypromine, are antidepressants usually given to individuals non-responsive to other antidepressant classes.


  • Atypical Antidepressants: Mirtazapine is an atypical antidepressant that affects serotonin and norepinephrine levels.

What factors contribute to experiencing hair loss when taking Wellbutrin?

Although hair loss is not a common side effect of Wellbutrin, some individuals may experience it due to several factors. Factors that may contribute to experiencing hair loss include (1):

  • Individual sensitivity: Some individuals are more sensitive to Wellbutrin and may react in ways that are not typical for the majority of users.


  • Pre-existing health conditions: Certain medical conditions could contribute to hair loss and Wellbutrin can exacerbate this issue. Thyroid disorders, iron deficiency, alopecia, infections and hormonal changes can contribute to hair loss.


  • Nutritional deficiencies: Inadequate nutrition can lead to deficiencies in vitamins and minerals that are crucial for hair health. This can significantly contribute to hair loss. 


  • Stress and anxiety: Mental health conditions, that Wellbutrin is prescribed to treat, can cause hair loss.


  • Heat/chemical damage: Excessive use of heated styling tools and chemical treatments can damage the hair and cause hair loss.


  • Genetic factors: Hereditary hair loss is a common form of hair loss influenced by genetic factors.




In summary, Wellbutrin can cause hair loss but rarely. Studies have shown that the risk of hair loss is the highest with Wellbutrin when compared with other antidepressants. If you are experiencing hair loss or any other unexpected side effects while taking Wellbutrin, I highly recommend consulting with your healthcare provider to determine the underlying cause and explore management options. 


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Gokce N, Basgoz N, Kenanoglu S, Akalin H, Ozkul Y, Ergoren MC, Beccari T, Bertelli M, Dundar M. An overview of the genetic aspects of hair loss and its connection with nutrition. J Prev Med Hyg. 2022 Oct 17;63(2 Suppl 3):E228-E238.


Etminan M, Sodhi M, Procyshyn RM, Guo M, Carleton BC. Risk of hair loss with different antidepressants: a comparative retrospective cohort study. Int Clin Psychopharmacol. 2018 Jan;33(1):44-48.


Nestor MS, Ablon G, Gade A, Han H, Fischer DL. Treatment options for androgenetic alopecia: Efficacy, side effects, compliance, financial considerations, and ethics. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2021 Dec;20(12):3759-3781


Kıvrak Y, Yağcı İ, Üstündağ MF, Özcan H. Diffuse Hair Loss Induced by Sertraline Use. Case Rep Psychiatry. 2015;2015:703453.


Gautam M. Alopecia due to psychotropic medications. Ann Pharmacother,1999 May;33(5):631-7.

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