Does Wellbutrin cause kidney stones? 

Does Wellbutrin cause kidney stones? 

No, Wellbutrin does not generally cause kidney stones. This antidepressant is not nephrotoxic and it affects your kidneys just as much as other medications do. 

Every medication is a chemical, which is excreted primarily via your kidneys. Another organ primarily involved in drug metabolism is the liver. 

So, these two organs are always at risk of the negative effects of the medications, which mainly depend on the dosage strength and overall duration of your treatment. 

Wellbutrin does not necessarily trigger the formation of a kidney stone, but long-term use of this antidepressant may put you at risk since your kidneys are working hard for years to excrete the drug out and the chemicals may also cause some damage in long-term users. 

Make sure you reach out to your healthcare provider if you think Wellbutrin is causing damage to your kidneys or if you’re generally at high risk of developing a kidney stone. 

Research studies on Wellbutrin and kidney functions

There is limited research on the harmful effects of Wellbutrin on kidney functions and the incidence of kidney stones is extremely low. 

However, studies have indicated that since Wellbutrin is primarily excreted out of the body via urine, long-term use of this medication can affect your kidneys because of years and years of load on the organs (1). 

Generally, Wellbutrin is not known to cause stone formation in the kidneys as a side effect. It is also important to note that some people may develop kidney stones while taking Wellbutrin, but they could have other factors leading to it and the antidepressant may not be the culprit.

Can Wellbutrin exacerbate your already existing kidney disease? 

Talk to your healthcare provider if you already have kidney disease before taking Wellbutrin. People with renal impairment shouldn’t take standard Wellbutrin doses like healthy individuals do (2). 

This is because Wellbutrin is excreted out of your body via urine, and if your kidneys are not working as well as they should, your body will fail to eliminate Wellbutrin at the required rate. 

This can result in the accumulation of Wellbutrin in your body, as a high concentration of the active drug will remain available for a long time and will cause more pronounced side effects. This is why people with renal impairment should use Wellbutrin with caution. 

Most doctors adjust the dose and frequency of Wellbutrin administration in patients with renal impairment so that the drug won’t accumulate in high amounts. 

The kidney functions and serum drug concentration are also monitored from time to time to ensure the safety and efficacy of your current dose. 

Final words

Although Wellbutrin does not cause kidney stones, some people may experience unusual side effects as each individual is different and can respond differently to antidepressants. 

Make sure you closely monitor your side effects and report them to your doctor. It’s not recommended to make any changes to your prescription on your own. If your doctor believes that Wellbutrin is impairing your kidney functions, he/she will safely taper you off and switch you to another medication.

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Turpeinen M, Koivuviita N, Tolonen A, Reponen P, Lundgren S, Miettunen J, Metsärinne K, Rane A, Pelkonen O, Laine K. Effect of renal impairment on the pharmacokinetics of bupropion and its metabolites. Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2007 Aug;64(2):165-73. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2125.2007.02866.x. Epub 2007 Mar 1. PMID: 17335546; PMCID: PMC2000634. Available from:


Food and Drug Administration. Full prescribing information: WELLBUTRIN® (bupropion hydrochloride) Tablets [Internet]. Silver Spring, MD: Food and Drug Administration; 2010 Jul [cited 2023 Feb 28]. Available from:,020358s045lbl.pdf

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