Wellbutrin and Hair Loss
Does Wellbutrin cause hair loss?
It's a question I've been asked several times - and there seems to be both an official and an unofficial answer!
The drug - prescribed to treat depression and, at lower doses, to help individuals quit smoking - is manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline. According to their literature, hair loss is an 'infrequent' side effect of this anti-depressant. What that means is that only between 1 in 100 and 1 in 1000 people will experience hair loss as a result of taking this drug.
Whilst this doesn't sound too high, a quick internet search will reveal that MANY people seem to notice hair loss after taking Wellbutrin, some experiencing quite alarming and significant thinning.
I quite often receive messages from women concerned at the rate at which they're losing their hair, the onset of which they noticed after being prescribed Wellbutrin.
So the connection definitely seems to be something worth considering.
PLEASE NOTE: The information given here is meant as guidance only. It is not professional medical advice and you should ALWAYS consult your doctor about your concerns regarding your medication and hair loss.
Many women report losing copious amounts of hair from all over the scalp...
This type of hair loss is known as telogen effluvium and it seems that women who connect losing their hair to taking Wellbutrin note over-all hair loss, as opposed to losing hair in 'patches'.
A visitor to this site, Nancy M from Tampa in Florida, told me...
"I noticed that I was losing more and more hair in the shower, to the point where I was scared to wash my hair. It feels so much thinner everywhere, and when I discussed it with my hairdresser she told me she'd seen LOTS of women whose hair fell out after taking Wellbutrin!"
Some women also experience itching and burning of the scalp...
...and have noticed this in conjunction with their hair loss, seemingly caused by the drug.
The website Drugs Database suggests that the severity of the hair loss experienced by people taking Wellbutrin depends on their dose - so if you are taking a particularly high dose, then you may experience MORE hair loss in a shorter period of time than someone taking a lower dose.
Whilst this page looks at hair loss seemingly triggered by Wellbutrin, some women report similar problems with the generic form of the drug and with other mood-affecting medications. Please see my page about Medications that Cause Hair Loss for further information.
What should you do if you think Wellbutrin is causing your hair loss?
It's important to point out here that, tempting as it may be, you should NOT abruptly stop taking your medication. Instead, you should visit your doctor and discuss your concerns.
Your doctor might suggest a lower dose... or trying a different brand
The frustrating thing about hair loss caused by Wellbutrin is that many women find the drug so effective in treating their depression that the thought of giving it up is an overwhelming one!
However, it may be that your hair is reacting to an inactive ingredient in Wellbutrin, rather than to the active ingredient, bupropion, which your doctor can prescribe you under another brand name.
Alternatively, you may be able to work with your doctor to find a lower dose that works for you WITHOUT the unwanted side effects. Or, your doctor may choose to simply try a different medication altogether.
Is your doctor brushing your concerns about Wellbutrin and hair loss aside?
If so, you're not alone - I've heard from several women whose doctors have dismissed the notion that their thinning hair is caused by their medication. This, of course, can leave you feeling both frustrated and helpless.
My advice is to seek a second opinion, particularly if your doctor is male.
In my experience, female doctors are far more prepared to take hair loss concerns in their female patients seriously, probably because they have a greater depth of understanding of just how emotionally traumatic it is for a woman to lose her hair.
Your doctor may decide to run tests to determine whether your hair loss may have another cause - for example, you may have thyroid issues, or you may even be experiencing the natural hair thinning that (unfortunately) comes with age.
What can you do to reverse the hair loss caused by Wellbutrin?
If it's been established that this medication really IS the cause of your thinning hair, then the good news is that stopping the drug is usually enough to stop the problem and that the hair loss is usually fully reversible.
That being said, it can take a good 6 months for your hair to get back to its former glory.
Will biotin, vitamins, hair loss shampoos etc help?
On the whole, no!
The hair loss was caused by the drug, so stopping the drug should reduce the hair loss, without the need for remedies and supplements.
On the other hand, some hair loss shampoos - which focus on strengthening the hair and improving the health of the scalp - certainly won't do any harm. And a good volumizer will add lift and help you make the most of your existing hair.
I also like to use Batiste Dry Shampoo
when my hair is feeling very thin, because it seems to have quite a volumizing effect AND it means I don't see so much hair getting washed down the shower!
Don't use harsh dyes or chemicals on your recovering hair!
If you can't live without coloring it, pick a dye like Clairol Natural Instincts Loving Care
, which is free from ammonia and hydrogen peroxide.
Tips for disguising your hair loss
In addition to using a shampoo that gives the impression of 'fullness' (above), try...
- Wearing a wide headband, which is great for disguising loss around the hairline
- Visiting your hairdresser for a good cut aimed at disguising your thinning hair. You might like to think about having bangs (a fringe) cut in, as it can be brushed forward to hide the hairline if necessary.
- Using a clip in hair topper if your hair loss it very severe - it blends in with your existing hair and can give you back your confidence as you wait for your hair to regrow.
- Using a fill-in powder or shake-on fibers, which are great for hiding any patches of scalp that may be showing.
- Getting creative with a scarf (there are some cute ideas here!).
Please Share Your Experiences!
Do you believe your hair loss is due to Wellbutrin?
Have you previously experienced thinning hair after taking this drug?
Have you stopped taking Wellbutrin and experienced regrowth?
Whatever your experience, I'd love to hear from you! Please share your story by completing the simple form below...
Comments from our readers...
I began taking Wellbutrin on May 9, 2014. I have always had fairly thick hair and noticed that it was thinning rapidly. I commented to my hairdresser over the last few months that I was losing a lot of hair in the shower and in my brush than normal. It is not breaking off, but the entire strand is coming out. The strand itself is strong, but it is coming out at the root.
Linda, from Georgia, USA
My Wellbutrin - the generic one - was increased from 350 mgs to 450 mgs about 2-3 months ago. Recently I have noticed thinning of my hair. My hair has never been thick, but it is disturbing me. My doctor has told me to cut back to 350 mgs. Will this help? I certainly hope so.
June, from New York, USA
Took Wellbutrin for about six months first time around. Notice a great deal of hair loss. Went to my beautician - tried everything. Nothing worked. Finally realized it was the Wellbutrin. Stopped taking it and hair grew back in about a years time. Took Wellbutrin again for two weeks and had my hair chemically relaxed in the front. Experienced the same. Will never take it again.
Jackie, from North Carolina, USA
My doctor dismissed my complaint of hair loss on my last two visits. I had very long hair, down to the lower part of my back. I've lost so much hair that I've been forced to cut my hair twice in the last 8 months. My doctor switched my other medications because they no longer had the effect they were supposed to. I knew that it was the Wellbutrin that was causing my hair loss because of the time frame. But I was under the impression that my doctor had my concerns in mind and was also without a doubt correct. He was wrong but unfortunately I can't seem to convince him to switch it. My hair is so thin now that you can see my scalp easily. I am also very self conscious about it when I have to make my way in public.
Loretta, from Florida, USA
My doctor told me that it is not a side effect. I still decided to stop taking it! I was only taking it for energy so I will find other ways to increase my energy. I'm very annoyed to say the least. Hair, please grow back quickly :)
Jessica, from Utah, USA
Started taking Prozac and Wellbutrin 3 years ago. I started losing my hair within a few weeks, I told my doctor and she weaned me off the Prozac but kept me on Wellbutrin. I am still losing hair but not as much. I'm stopping the Wellbutrin at the end of this year.
Wellbutrin has made my hair fall out so much that I'm thinking about cursing out my doctor for giving to me. It has not helped me with my depression either. Lexapro made my hair fall out too.
Lindsay, from Kansas, USA
I experienced hair loss and stopped taking the drug. Now wearing hats to conceal the loss.
Carol, from New York, USA
I had massive amounts of hair loss, most definitely because of Wellbutrin - it took about 5 months of being on the tablet when the hair loss peaked and i stopped taking them. I've been off them for 2 months and I'm still having hair loss - my hair is so thin and delicate - and the hair that is coming in new is all grey :( I had no grey before this - I'm only 38. I've had to get my hair cut twice as the hair loss got worse and I'm now just hoping the hair stops falling out so drastically over next few months. I'll never touch Wellbutrin again after this side effect - I don't believe the statistics on this - because every one I know has hair loss issues caused by this dirty drug.
I feel great when I'm taking it, and I was so sad when I figured out my hair was falling way more when I'm on it. I have very thin hair to begin with, so I can't take a chance. I'm putting Minoxidil on now in order to regrow my hair. I wish it was a solution to the problem, since the only drug that works for me is Wellbutrin. I took it for 6 months and it's being hard without it :(
Lilian, from Stamford, Connecticut, USA
I have been taking Wellbutrin for a while, however I have started to lower my dose and noticed for the last several months a sudden increase in severe hair loss from all over my head. I have started taking biotin but it's not any help.
Sharon, from Arizona, USA
I am wondering if there is a chemical connection or if there is something that can be said about Wellbutrin's tendency to suppress the appetite. Therefore, a certain amount of skipping meals, caloric restriction contributes to the hair loss. I am wondering because I KNOW I have skipped meals, sometimes without even noticing, and now I am experiencing hairloss. My first attempt to rectify the problem will be to talk to my doctor but I am also going to make it a point to eat better.
Nicole, from Florida, USA
I have been using Wellbutrin for about 6 months. I am a hair stylist and have noticed my hair was feeling thinner so I decided to look it up and it seems I've found my answer.
Dean, from North Carolina, USA
I first noticed that I was losing a significant amount if hair every day about 2 months into taking Wellbutrin. I did not put it together at that point, that my prescription may be the cause as I was having many health issues at the time. I went to my doctor and yes, he blew me off, sending me to get my thyroid tested, which came back fine. My iron levels were very low, so most of my concerns were brushed off as side effects of anemia. It wasn't until after 5 iron infusions and no change in my health that I figured it out. I sat down and took note of 6 months worth of health issues and cross referenced them all with side effects of Wellbutrin, and it all matched. I took my findings back to my doctor, and he was stunned. I have lost 40lbs., half my hair, months of insomnia, no appetite, flu like symptoms, ringing in my ears, dizziness, anxiety, dry mouth, restlessness, chronic fatigue, abnormal bleeding between periods, etc. My GP stated that I was literally being 'poisoned' by this medication. As a hairdresser, becoming practically bald over a six month period has been humiliating. This entire process has kicked the life right out of me, and although the weaning process will be another 3 1/2 weeks, I cannot wait to have it out of my system!
Shannon, from Canada
I noticed my hair thinning after several months of taking Wellbutrin. Every time I comb my hair, the comb is full of hair. My hair is now very weak and I can just pull it out at the ends.
Faye, from Georgia, USA
I have been taking bupropion now for a year. I'm not one for medication, but it was a last ditch effort to ease my depression. It has really helped. (Even on my low dose -150) This past fall, I really started noticing that my scalp has started itching and hair loss, especially in the front. I thought that it was my grays growing out faster because it appeared that I could see more of my scalp. When coloring my hair wasn't fixing the issue, I blamed it on premenopausal hormone fluctuations. On a hunch today, I decided to check and see if it was a side effect of my meds. DARN IT! I guess I'll have to decide on the lesser of two evils. :(
I have been taking Wellbutrin for a while now. My dose went up and I noticed so much hair was coming out when I brushed my hair. Recently I noticed it was getting very thin - I have always had long thick hair till this point.
Desiree, from Vermont, USA
Last year, in spring, I took Wellbutrin for a few months. I stopped taking it because I noticed rapid and alarming thinning. My hair did grow back over a period of months and by late fall it was pretty thick again. Well, I decided to give Wellbutrin another try because it does work so well for me and I wanted to be sure it was the medicine causing the hair loss. I am almost two months in and OMG I am losing so much hair!!! I'm terrified to even brush it. I'm sad because it does make me feel better than other Meds I have tried. It's very frustrating and right now I am at a loss. I think I will have to stop or risk going bald.
Jessica, from USA
I'm 25. I have been taking Wellbutrin for several months and my hair loss has been very great - it's the only thing that has changed in my life. I have cried for the past two days, not sure what to do.
Samantha, from Florida, USA
I take 300 mg XR. Hair seemed to be thinning all over scalp. Upon closer inspection by my hair dresser, we realized my hair was breaking. Sometimes only an inch from the scalp, most of it breaking just below ear. I have increased my protein intake and use a protein hair treatment. Wellbutrin works too well for me to give up. Going to try the protein treatments to strengthen hair first. And I agree with the skipping meals. I don't even notice if I skip and I get full fast. I lost 15 lbs in 3 months.
Diana, from Indiana, USA
I wish I would had seen this website before taking Wellbutrin (well I took the generic brand bupropion). I lost a lot of hair all over. I use to have very thick hair, now it's so thin it's depressing. Doctors dismissed my concerns that I was losing hair due to Wellbutrin. And yes I had the burning and itching of the scalp. My hair is now paper thin. It's awful. I quit taking the Wellbutrin about a year ago and the hair loss did stop. However, I have been taking vitamins and tried everthing since then and I see a little improvement, but I'm concerned I will never get my hair back. I hate the makers of Wellbutrin. They knew people would lose their hair and they chose to make a dollar instead. Now I'm more depressed than ever. Well I assume there is a special hell for them.
Donna, from Texas, USA
I have been on Wellbutrin for about five months now. I noticed that I was losing a lot of hair about three months ago. It was quite scary seeing that much hair come off in the shower, and my bathroom floor would get covered in hair everyday! I did a thorough blood work and everything was fine. I finally connected the dots and realized that Wellbutrin is the only new addition to my routine. I'm seeing my psychiatrist this week and I hope she takes my concern seriously. It hasn't helped with my depression that much after all.
Mary, from USA
I began taking Wellbutrin around four months ago. For the past two months I have noticed a lot of hair falling out and I figured it was just an end of winter "shedding". It just occurred to me today that it has been two months of hair loss. I reached back to consciously feel the thickness of my hair today and was shocked when I realized for the first time how thin it felt.
My individual hair strands have always been thin, but I have always had a lot of it and it has always felt so full and thick, having thin hair right now is making me feel so sad and scared it may never be as full again.
I'm so glad I found this website because I am not sure the medical community agrees with this anecdotal evidence... The official statistic is 1% but it must be higher than that.
Daisy, from Maryland, USA
I have been looking for reasons as to why I have suddenly started losing hair. About 2 months now. I thought it might have been from hair coloring. At the time my scalp burned for the first time ever in over 30 years of coloring. Then I thought maybe it was a seasonal shed, spring time thing.
But it has not stopped and I have more hair on the floor than all my dogs and cats.
I read this article and it dawned on me that my scalp is still hurting after 2 months of that color being done and I started putting 2 and 2 together.
I have been on Wellbutrin, the generic, for about 6 months, 3 months prior to the hair color. Maybe that triggered the scalp issue. But I do not have to be on the drug, I do not have severe depression, so I am choosing to start weaning myself off the drug and hopefully I can report back that things go back to normal.
I do have a call into my doc to get her input. Also, I have been on a thyroid drug and she had me do a blood test to see if that can contribute to it. Still no feedback on that yet.
Sherrie, from Arizona, USA
UPDATE JULY 2015
So I posted my experience a few months ago and pretty much confirmed that the Wellbutrin was causing my hair loss.
I stopped the drug for a few weeks and my burning scalp stopped almost immediately. Then there has been no hair loss outside of the norm. I just got my hair done last week and the hair dresser confirmed that I am getting all my hair back. Yippee. It still feels thin but at least it is not all over the floor.
I did start back at a lower dose, and have not had any issues like before. The downside has been my weight. I was losing weight with the higher dose and now I gained it back and I have not changed my eating habits. So I am at a loss now as to what I should do. Be skinny and bald or fat and have hair. I'll take any ideas to help with the weight loss part. :)
I took a very low dose of Bupropion, which is a generic brand of Wellbutrin, for 9 months. I noticed significant hair loss after 6 months of taking it. I reported it to my doctor, and she seemed to be unaware of this type of side effects which was very frustrating. I decided to stop taking this medication and noticed that I also stopped losing my hair. However, it has not regenerated. It's been 9 months since I quit Bupropion. It is interesting... I saw a dermatologist and mentioned my experience with Bupropion, but she did not comment on it. She suggested that I suffer from female hair loss unrelated to anything specific. I still believe that Bupropion therapy had something to do with my hair loss. It is sad, because this medication was very helpful in reducing my depression and anxiety. Nevertheless, I will never take it again. I try to count my blessings every day, and so far, it works better than the meds!
Helena, from USA
Started taking Wellbutrin originally in Sept. 2006. Lost weight very easily - (42lbs) in 6 months. Even though I was trying, it was something I had not been so successful with in the past. I also started losing my hair to the point that I bought a hair piece, after having many tests not giving me an answer. Eventually, the weight loss stopped and my hair started growing back. Now my hair is falling out again, more so than before. I have had tests done again and nothing has been found. Your writing above is interesting. In 2006 it seems that the medical world here did not know about the hair loss being caused by the medication. I receive my medicine from Right Source, connected with Humana. It is always generic but not always the same maker.
Judie, from LA, USA
I was diagnosed with PTSD after a deployment to Iraq and was placed on Wellbutin. The medicaation helps with the signs and symptoms of my PTSD but has cause severe hair loss. Over 30% of my hair is gone. I even have some bald spots. I have spent over $5,000.00 for treatment at the Hair Club because the VA does not offer any help with these types of conditions.
Willie Mae, from Texas, USA
I started experiencing hair loss a few months ago. I am 24 so this seemed odd. I also noticed a grey streak forming right at the front. It took me a while to connect it to my medications, but at first I connected it to Lamictal (Lamotrigine) which can also cause hair loss. I am very prone to side effects, so my doctor was not surprised. He suggested using "Hair Essentials", an herbal remedy, but I also lowered my dose of Lamictal. Unfortunately, this has not solved the problem. Now I see that it may be Wellbutrin as well. But ladies, be warned that if you are on Lamictal as well this may be contributing.
Emily, from USA
I've been using Wellbutrin for about 3-4 months now, and during this last month I've noticed my hair has been falling out. Now, I've always had thick hair, so it didn't concern me too much when it first started to fall out, but as time went on I noticed that there weren't just a couple of strands falling out - each time I brushed it a clump would fall out, and it's all falling out at the root. I don't dye my hair, or bleach it, and I very rarely use heat on it, so I am suspecting that it is the Wellbutrin.
Sarah, from USA
I started taking 150mg generic Wellbutrin on 7.27.15. It has been about a week and a half and I am having startling hair loss. Several strands at a time every time I run my finders though my hair not to mention twice as much as normal is coming out when I wash my hair. I started this medication to quit smoking, and it has worked for that, I've been smoke free for 5 days but when my script is up at the end of the month I will not be continuing it.
Karla, from USA
I can't even believe I found this site. It's like this site is made about me... everything you said is me... it's crazy! I started taking Wellbutrin after I had my 3rd child due to depression. It was the only thing I've ever tried that actually worked for me! I had my ambition back, I had my energy back, I felt great. Over a period of a few months I noticed I was losing more hair but thought it was just the normal hair loss you experience after pregnancy, so I didn't think anything of it.
Then I was looking in the mirror and noticed the sides of my hair were thinning, but it doesn't show because I always wear my hair down so I brushed it off. Then I noticed the top of my hair is thinning so bad that if I hold my hair back as if doing a pony tail only looser, I can see right through my hair!
I also found multiple pea sized bald spots throughout the parts of my hair that I could see. I'm a 25 year old female so this horrified me and still is horrifying me. I'm still going through this.
I told my male doctor and of course he said it has nothing to do with Wellbutrin and maybe I have low iron, so I started taking prenatals again and still nothing has changed. Also, at the sides of my hair where it first started thinning I have TONS of grey hair! I've never had a grey hair in my life! That all started after taking Wellbutrin as well. Also I the Wellbutrin helped with my depression but has made me extremely aggravated all the time. I'm stopping it today!
Nicole, from Ontario, Canada
I am 23, and was on Wellbutrin since April until about 3 days ago. The most thick, healthy hair anyone could imagine to have. It was my favorite part about my outer appearance. Started having dead ends, but thought it was just time for a hair cut. I usually only go for a haircut about twice a year, that is how healthy my hair is. I haven't used any dye for over 2 years, and never use heat products. Air dry everyday.
Then, about 2 weeks ago, I started losing a lot of hair. Again, just thought it was time for a haircut. But this past Friday I woke up with handfuls of hair. As a normal person would do, I panicked, Googled hair loss, and all the side effects of the medications I am on. Wellbutrin is the only one with a 'potential' side effect. Then I see all of these websites with women saying it has happened to them.
Against my doctors advice, I stopped the medication. I was on the 150 XL, generic version. I started using and sleeping with coconut oil on my hair, infused with rosemary oil, with a shower cap on, every other night (two times so far). I have also started using the L'Oreal Paris EverStrong Thickening Shampoo and Conditioner. Then when out of the shower, I apply coconut oil again. While I am still losing hair, it has definitely lessened. The shampoo and conditioner seem to make my hair feel thicker, for sure.
So far I am pleased with my choice to stop taking the Wellbutrin. I have also noticed I have about 2x the energy versus being on it, which is a plus. I also do not feel as lightheaded everyday, so I feel like my choice was not only a good one for me physically, but mentally and emotionally. I hope that even though my hair is still falling out more than it used to, it will continue to slow down since I stopped taking the Wellbutrin.
I will continue to take a positive outlook, since having anxiety about it causes stress and stress can also induce hair loss. Even though my hair is thinner (though my fiance says he can't notice it) I am glad that I caught the issue when I did.
For all the women who have commented above me, keep strong and stay positive. We are all beautiful, no matter what.
Sarah, from USA
I have been on Wellbutrin for 9 months. Only 150mg once a day. I did notice lots of hair in the shower and when I pulled my hair in a ponytail it felt thinner. The icing on the cake was when a wheel on my work chair broke. My boss replaced all the wheels and showed me all the hair wrapped up in the wheels. (I never brush my hair at work).
The doctor has weaned me off Wellbutrin. I have been fully off for 2 weeks now, but can see how I do still need it. I don't want to take it though because I know this is what was causing my hair loss!
Heather, from Illinois, USA
I love my Wellbutrin. It helps my mood stay stable. I am able to stay within a certain weight and my sex drive is not affected by the drug. The only problem is my scalp burns and then itches and I am loosing hair. I have seen a doctor and she has prescribed Rogain and a steroid liquid along with steroid shots. It has helped some but I am still loosing my hair. I don't want to give up the Wellbutrin but I don't want to wear a wig either. Please help!
Terri, from Louisiana, USA
Horrible hair loss. I was on 150 for 5 months. Increased to 300 in May. Noticed the thinning, was REALLY BAD. Had thyroid tested... OK... did my own research and connected the dots. Dr. said take vitamins, which I always do. He wasn't concerned with loss. I made him lower the dose. It's only been 2 weeks now. Disgusted with attitude.
Carole, from New Jersey, USA
I've had hair loss over the year I have been taking it. Very noticeable and alarming. I am glad not to be crying all the time anymore. Wellbutrin has helped me a great deal. The only side effect I have had at all is this hair loss.
Lisa, from USA
Since I've been taking Wellbutrin XL 150mg I have noticed that my hair is thinning out and my scalp is very itchy and my doctor keeps saying it is being cause by stress, but I had stress before and my hair didn't fall out like this. Very upset and the reason I'm taking this medication is for depression, but it seems I'm getting more depressed because my hair is falling out. I've been taking it for about 4 months and it started about 2 months in on taking the medicine.
Ceci, from California, USA
I have had long and thick, healthy hair all my life, never any issues until now. I started experiencing loss of feelings in my hands and feet and reported the symptoms and my PCD decided I was depressed and prescribed Buproprian, a generic version of Wellbutrin. I was stunned at the diagnosis as I really don't feel "depressed" and live a very happy and active life.
He started with low doses and on follow-up appointments every two weeks he upped the doses, as I said they are not doing anything to me and I don't know how I'm supposed to feel different. He finally put me on 600 mg/ 2 x day doses. I told him I don't feel depressed and something else was behind the problems with my limbs. Would not listen.
This was February 2015 and now in mid-July all of a sudden I started pulling out huge chunks of hair while showering. I was losing 200 hairs just showering and kept all the lost hair for the doc to see. After just 3 weeks I had to start wearing a hat.
I went back and said I'm experiencing severe hair loss and you can start seeing my scalp. I took my hat off and he said immediately that I had a lot of hair loss in just a few weeks, after having laughed and said "your hair looks fine". He didn't even bother to respond when I asked if the medication can cause this. After two more weeks and having lost 50% of my hair, I weaned myself off of the medication and have been off for a month now. I still feel no different, so the meds were not a good decision from the doctor.
I have now so little hair, just strands covering my scalp and I had to buy a wig this week as I am practically bald. I am still losing the hair, a month after stopping with the medication and I will be completely bald in a month. I have called many psychiatrists to see what they say about the medication, no one is admitting that the medication would cause this. I have an appointment next week at Stanford hair loss clinic, so hopefully they can help to at least verify what caused this. It's too late hair wise, it will take 5-6 years to grow all of it back the way I had it. I feel very angry and seriously wronged!
Hannele, from USA
I am on Wellbutrin XL 300 for almost a year now and I also notice more and more hair in my brush, but the most noticeable is my eyebrows are falling out. That is not nice! I am considering going off Wellbutrin and looking for something else.
Aurelia, from Namibia
I most certainly have noticed hair loss with this medication. I know they say depression is worse, but from a woman's point of view, I bet to differ. This side effect is severe enough for me that I am stopping the medication.
Barbara, from Virginia, USA
I've been taking 300 mg of Wellbutrin XL for 4 years. I've lost a significant amount of hair, even after switching to brand name only.
Allison, from USA
I was prescribed Wellbutrin 150Mg 2X a day. Took it for 9 months and experienced extreme hair loss and thinning. It took me over a year of stopping the medication to see regrowth results.
Chanel, from MI, USA
I started taking Wellbutrin 5 months ago after my sisters suicide. About 3 or so weeks ago I noticed my scalp was red and irritated. My hair was never real thick but I have noticed some thinning. I never associated the problem with the Wellbutrin until I googled scalp irritation. So hopefully I can now solve the problem!
Angela, from LA, USA
Both my hairdresser and I noticed that over the last four months my hair has thinned considerably. I started on bupropion five months ago. I suspect it is the culprit. I will see my doc in a few weeks and will discuss with her.
Kathy, from IL, USA
Wellbutrin XL dose 300mg was changed up to 450 mg. Did not experience hair loss until my doses were changed to 450mg.
Denise, from MD, US
I began taking Wellbutrin after trying several antidepressants. Within a few weeks, I noticed hunks of hair falling out in the shower. The amounts were abnormal. This seemed to be from the entire scalp (not certain sections). Now I'm left feeling more insecure than ever! My doctor brushed my complaints off. I am on a different medication for other reasons but I'd never go back to that. I'm hoping it grows back. I used to have a full head of thick hair.
Tiffany, from Delaware, Pennsylvania, US
I was taking Wellbutrin for about one year. After 6 months my hair started to fall out. I was taking 450 milligrams. I did all the blood work and everything looked good . I know the problem was from the meds.
Zena, from MI, USA
I started taking 150mg of bupropion HCL to help me quit smoking. Within 2 days I noticed significant hair loss. I have stopped taking it, reported it to the FDA and requested an alternative from my Dr.
Candice, from CO, USA
Went from 300mg to 450mg daily and in the 2 months I have noticed a huge amount of loss. Coming off and will not take again. Too bad because it worked very well for me.
Heather, from New Hampshire, USA
I have been on the generic brand of Wellbutrin for 3 years. It works great for my depression and helps lose weight. I take 300 mg XML every morning. One year ago I began seeing my hair thinning vastly. Now, I only have bangs and a little short hair. I've been to two drs who tested me for everything and determined it was the drug. I had beautiful long blond hair. I need the drug but I can't lose any more hair.
Deborah, from USA
90% hair loss in premenopausal woman within 5 years, at a dose of 300mg. Weight 100 lbs. Huge amounts in shower, on brush, all over the house. Always had long hair, thick, wavy hair. VERY SAD about losing it - all that is left is a tiny pony tail of straight, frail hair. No other changes in diet, medication, or stress.
Diane Marie, Connecticut, US
I have been on the generic form of Wellbutrin-bupropion for 2 years now (2013) starting dose 350mg to now a lower dose of 150mg. I have noticed a significant amount of hair loss, enough that if I put it up in ponytail, gently brush it or wash it....15-20 strands come out at the root. I've even cut it to shoulder length to try and minimize the loss from brushing. I go 3 days without washing to prevent water weight ripping the strands out. My confidence is completely lost due to my hair loss.
Kim, from Texas, US
I was on 75mg of Bupropion (generic Wellbutrin) for depression and noticed unrelenting hair loss. I stopped taking it in June 2015 and cut my hair short with bangs to disguise the thinning on top. My hair appears to be improving. I started taking 75mg of Bupropion again in March 2016 and I am again seeing hair loss. Very frustrating because the drug works so well for depression. Hair loss, unfortunately is majorly depressing!
Valerie, from CO, USA
After being on Welbutrin for a few months my hair started falling out and thinning big time! If I would have known that there was a possibility of my hair thinning and falling out I never would have taken it in the first place! Now I am trying to wean myself off of it which is very hard, and my hair is still thinning! I had blood work done and everything was normal. I had thick, and soft hair and now it's thinning, falling out and coarse!
Maureen, from Michigan, USA
I have been on Wellbutrin XL 150 mg once a day for over 10 years. It has been fantastic for my depression and ADD, gave me more energy and made me more productive. However, I have noticed hair loss, especially in the past two years. It is much thinner, and there is a lot more in my brush and in the shower! I did ask my female doctor to test my thyroid more completely than the general test they do; I am on .75 mcg per day of synthroid for low thyroid, but she blows me off like it's just a factor of aging that my hair is thinning.
Linda, from VA, USA
My hair is thinning and falling out after being on generic wellbutrin for about 4 or 5 months.
Jamie, from Illinois, USA
It's frightening how thin my hair is! My doctor doubled my dose a year ago and that's when my hair started thinning out at a rapid speed! I am glad I found this article. Everyone keeps saying my thyroid is the problem, yet my blood tests are fine!
I would rather take my chances and do without the drug than lose what little hair I have left. I will stop gradually.
I am horrified at what this has done to my hair!
Charlyn, from Florida, USA
I took Wellbutrin 150 for many years and because of a personal crisis my nurse practitioner doubled my dose. At the same time I developed insomnia and I was prescribed Valium and hydroxyzine. It's been a year since and just last night as I was researching hair loss I stumbled upon this. Looking back this makes a lot of sense. While taking 150 mg for over 5 years didn't cause hair loss, well when doubled the dose a year later 3/4 of my hair is gone. I had gorgeous, long, thick hair and all women know how important hair is for us. However I will see my nurse practitioner to discuss this. I suffer from bipolar 2 and wellbutrin and lamictal combo helped, although not completely. I accepted my condition but I just want my hair back.
Ana, from New York, USA
First off, THANK YOU! I hadn't connected the two together until reading this article!! I've been tirelessly trying to figure out the cause of my overall thinning for quite some time now! I now realize that it exactly coincides with the use/dose increase of Wellbutrin!
Jodi, from Illinois, USA
This side effect needs to be addressed, but there is hope.
I began to take brand name Wellbutrin XL 150mg in October of 2014 (I was 23 years old) and was doing very well on the medication. I noticed approximately two months into treatment that my scalp began to tingle a lot and was very itchy. I brushed this off, believing it to be a symptom of wintertime dryness. About 3-4 months into treatment, I noticed a lot more hair coming out in the shower and my brush, as well as much more shedding throughout the day. I already have relatively thin and fine hair, so this was very concerning to me.
I was bumped up to 300mg, and that's when things got even worse. Then the baby hairs around my face all dropped out, which made me look like I had a receding hairline and a visible scalp. I brought this up with my doctor who stated he had not heard of this with Wellbutrin before, but had experienced this with other stimulants such as Adderall.
I had a bunch of blood work done and everything was normal, so I knew it had to be the Wellbutrin.
I wish I could have stayed on it because it really did wonders for my depression, but the hair loss just wasn't worth it. The overall loss was diffuse and continued for months after I stopped treatment (6 months). After another 3-4 months the hair loss slowed, and now over a year later I can say that things have pretty much grown back in. This also happened to a friend of mine, so I know this isn't as "rare" a side effect as they suggest.
Emma, from Illinois, USA
I take a generic Wellbutrin - bupropion manufactured by Apotex - why? Because my lovely insurance provider will only pay for generic drugs.
I have been losing hair for over a year. I am now beyond frantic. I mentioned it to my general practitioner. She did run a thyroid test, but that was all. I saw a dermatologist and she simply blew me off - suggested I take biotin, which I have been doing for some time now.
Yet here I am months later with virtually 1/2 of my hair gone. I have no hair whatsoever on my arms or legs. So I figured if no doctor was going to help me I would start doing research on my own. It was only then that I came across the Wellbutrin and hair loss connection.
I have made an appointment with my therapist and I think he will help me. I have also made an appointment with a dermatologist but have little faith in him based on previous experience. Meanwhile, I have spent a huge amount of money on Nioxin, which was probably a total waste. I live on a very limited income.
Outside of the hair loss, I am fairly healthy. I eat well and exercise regularly. I am very angry that even a female dermatologist did not take my concerns seriously and because I do suffer from ongoing depression, the additional stress and anxiety of the hair loss certainly has not helped.
Char, Iowa, USA
I have been on Bupropion for a little over a year. I noticed hair loss quite soon after taking the medication. I thought it would subside. It did not. Three months ago I asked my doctor to switch me to the name brand Wellbrutin. I have seen no improvement from the generic to the name brand. I am going to ask my doctor to switch me to an SSRI. In the past I had bowel incontinence taking Zoloft so I am worried about that, but I don't know what to do.
Bonnie, Hawaii, USA
My hair length was at the top of my shoulders and thick. A new male doctor decided my failure to sleep with a few other symptoms had to be depression. I felt it wasn't. Never thought about suicide nor any of that, but I cooperated. It's been only about 2 months of Wellbutrin (generic version). My hair loss has been devastating. Loss all over my head EACH time I brush or wash my hair. My self-esteem is affected. Hair is ugly. Can see my scalp in places. I bought a wig yesterday. I want to cry when I look at my real hair in the mirror.
S, from New York, USA
Before I started taking Wellbutrin my hair was in the best shape and condition ever in my life. I'm 59 years old and the one thing that I was so happy about was my hair. Anyway I started taking Wellbutrin around 8 months ago. At first I didn't notice any hair loss. But then every time I brushed or shampooed my hair more and more was coming out. Not only that but it was breaking off and is now extremely dry and isn't growing. My Doctor has reduced my dose and is going to wean me off of the drug. I'm hoping that my hair will come back.
Laura, from OK, USA
I have been on Wellbutrin for well over a year or more, started out on low dose and increased as Dr. felt I needed it. Never gave much thought to my itchy, blood red scalp which I never had before. Recently I started seeing my hair come out in my hands while in the shower... very concerned as this had happened to me before but it was thyroid related. Called my thyroid Dr. and she had blood work done and increased my T3. After being on this for several weeks, spending a small fortune in shampoos and vitamins, I find from my chiropractor that WELLBUTRIN in a cause of hair loss. I am currently taking 400 mg, 200 mg. in the morning and 200 mg in the evening. I called my PCP and she very clearly stated, STRESS was my reason for hair loss. HaHaHa... I have been more stressed throughout out my life than I am now and I NEVER HAD HAIR LOSS. That being said, I will find a new PCP and I have stopped taking my evening dose of Wellbutrin. My Chiropractor suggested I cut my evening dose in 1/2 for a week then stop all together. See if I improve on ONE 200 mg in the AM if not then cut that one in 1/2 and see if that makes a difference. I hate the thought of giving up Wellbutrin because in the process of all of this, I have dropped 22 lbs and for that I am thrilled. I had natural curly hair and so thick it took me 25 minutes to blow it dry, now I am lucky if it takes 10 minutes. My hairdresser said the texture is not the same and it is very coarse. I have not colored it in months, just getting it cut to make it more manageable. So disgusted over this losing my hair, yet my Dr. does not seem the least bit concerned. Makes me angry that these Dr.'s push this stuff under the carpet and don't tell you all the "possible" side effects.
Joan, from South Carolina, USA
I began thinking my bang area was thinning last summer but now I'm certain. I started wondering what I was doing differently and the only thing I could come up with is Bupropion xl. I started on 150 for a couple of months and moved up to 300 for a couple months but back down to 150 for the last four months and still think my hair is falling out too much
Cheryl, from Il, USA
I started Wellbutrin and have been on it for about 2 months. Wellbutrin is very effective in my opinion but I've started noticing my hair thinning and my receding hairline getting SUBSTANTIALLY worse. I will discus with doctor but I'm not willing to go bald over Wellbutrin. I believe its more than 1 in 100. I remember doctors saying anti-depressants don't cause lowering of libido in men or sexual side effects but the story on that has changed and they do.
Mark, from NH, USA
I only took this medication for 2 weeks and my hair started thinning out and then falling out more and more in the shower. I'm discussing other medicines with my doctor because I refuse to keep taking this drug after experiencing these side effects.
Katherine, from NI, USA
I was prescribed 150MG Bupropion 1x daily about 4 month ago to help me lose weight. My male doctor said I sounded like an 'emotional eater' and Bupropion helps those with mild addictions like smoking and eating. Had a lot of personal stuff going on and was having anxiety attacks (although I did not mention this to doc because I was always afraid of 'psych' meds). Immediately after beginning the Bupropion I felt amazing! I had more energy, was motivated and things didn't seem overwhelming. I also haven't had one single anxiety attack since, even though my personal life is still topsy turvy I'm doing OK there. However about two months ago, I too began losing tons of hair in the shower and wide tooth comb. I know this is going to sound weird, but I now have a bald spot on my vulvar/labial area. Is this even a thing? Anyhow, about 9 years ago I had to undergo chemotherapy and lost all hair everywhere but I knew it would all grow back someday, and it did. I have long fine blonde hair just past my waist. It has gotten so thin and my ponytail so skinny I'm thinking of cutting it. I also take Synthroid and thought the hair loss was due to running out and not taking it for several weeks. I got my Synthroid refilled and I'm not losing hair at the rate I was, so I will watch for further thinning and see if baby hairs fill in and grow. I hate the thought of losing the benefits I gained with the Bupropion, but don't want to go back to bald either. It took me eight years to grow my hair back to the point it was before chemo. I will try to remember to post an update in a couple of months
Dawn, from AZ, USA
About 4 years ago I was switched to bupropion 150 xl.and generic for Celexa. My head started itching, severely. A few months later my hair started falling and it continues. My hair was very thick before. I've lost most of it. I have Hashimotos disease so I've had my hormones checked and with my trying a replacement, my levels are good. I'm going to talk to my MD about changing med. I'll keep you posted.
Susan, from New York, USA
I started taking the generic form of Wellbutrin and it's the extended release. My doctor started me on 150 mg about 2 months ago. Well about 2 weeks ago we decided to go up to 300mg a day, taking 2 of the 150mg at the same time. Well in the past week is when I noticed my hair is thinner on top. You can see my scalp more. I am now weaning myself off of Wellbutrin after coming to this site. I just wanted to know if any of you have tried another depression medication and if it has helped without hair thinning or loss? For now I am going to get off of Wellbutrin and see if my hair goes back to normal! I guess I would rather be depressed and have hair because the thought of losing my hair is depressing me too!
Gwen, from Michigan, USA
I first started noticing the severe hair loss when my insurance company no longer paid for name-brand Wellbutrin and I had to take generic bupropion. I would start and stop the medication because I was so embarrassed by my thin hair. Now I have surrendered and will continue taking my 150 mg. of bupropion since being without it is too uncomfortable. I'll deal with and accept my hair loss as well as I can. My scalp is very visible on the top of my head.
Cecilia, from New York, USA
I have been on 450 mg of bupropion for 4 yrs. I have had severe hair loss - had I known it caused hair loss, I never would have taken it. My depression is worse now, learning (today) about hair loss with this drug. I am devastated. I have had extreme hair loss all over my head - and yes, a male doctor told me that @ 450 mg a day I should not experience any hair loss. I'm hoping this is reversible.
Bernadette, from MN, USA
I also recently started Wellbutrin and within a few months had significant hair loss. Went to my doctor and was told that it was the Prozac and NOT the Wellbutrin, as hair loss isn't a side effect of Wellbutrin. I was told to continue my Wellbutrin dose, and reduce my Prozac dose. THIS DID NOT HELP. My hair continued to fall out in clumps from all over my head. It caused me great stress and anxiety as I have thin hair to begin with. I went to my Primary Care doctor who then ran thyroid, Lyme, liver, and Lupus tests... which all came back negative. I knew then that the hair loss was definitely from the Wellbutrin and nothing else. If my doctor would have acknowledged the side effect, I probably could have saved some hair from falling out. I recently submitted a complaint to the FDA and am hoping to hear back. I am hoping my hair grows back as well.
Jan, from NJ, USA
I've been taking Wellbutrin for about 9 months and I too have noticed my hair coming out from the root at alarming rates. I don't know what to do. Vitamins didn't work, hair thickening shampoos and conditioners don't work and I'm scared. Wellbutrin helps me a lot but i don't want to be bald because of it. I'm going to talk to my doctor about other options.
Yanice, from Wisconsin, USA
I've been taking Bupropion 100mg twice a day for about 4 months now. I started taking it after bad side effects with Pristiq. I felt like I was already losing hair on the Pristiq, but it is continuing with the Buproprion, plus my hair is much dryer now. It's such a drastic difference and the only thing different I've done in my life is that I started taking these meds. I'm going to try Wellbutrin and if there's no change I will just have to taper off.
Claire, from USA
I'm noticing very visible hair loss, as well as eyelashes thinning.
Janice, from NY, USA
My hair loss is significant using this drug.
Dianne, from PA, USA
I've been on Wellbutrin twice in the last decade. I'm 31 now and I just stopped taking it after a little over four weeks due to my hair thinning and falling out rapidly and noticeably by week three and a half. I really did not want to stop the drug because it helps so much with my lethargy, impulsivity and depression but I also just can't cope with being bald at 31. This happened to me about five years ago when I tried the drug and the timeline was the same. Both times my doctors told me it was probably genetic or just stress even though the timeline points obviously to the drug Wellbutrin. It is so frustrating that no one takes the massive hair loss, that so many of us experience, seriously.
Brittany, from USA
I noticed my hair loss was a lot more than normal but believed it was the stress of my job. Then one day I had a small suction cup feeling while brushing my hair. I looked at the brush to find a clump of hair, perfectly removed from my head, sitting in my brush. I counted them... 30 perfectly pulled hairs resting perfectly in my brush. The only thing that changed was my medication.
Marjory, from NM, USA
I take the max dose of Wellbutrin. I have severe hair loss.
Linda, from CA, USA
I've been on Wellbutrin for a good 7 years, and only within the past year did I begin noticing hair loss. I'm on other meds that I've been taking for a shorter period of time, so I played around with discontinuing them. I didn't really notice a decrease in my shedding until I stopped the Wellbutrin. I had dismissed it as being the cause because of how long I was on it with no noticeable hair loss. I do remember that the manufacturer changed, as the pills were the same dose, but a different color one day when I picked them up. I suspect this could be the reason the hair loss became so severe.
Emily, from Missouri, US
I have taken Wellbutrin on and off for probably 15 years (weaned off for pregnancy and back on with PPD). I've been on it now steady for 8 yrs. I noticed the thinning over the last few years but this last year it has thinned so significantly I've had bloodwork/hormone panels done. All normal. After many attempts to change diet, organic hair dye, silk pillow cases etc, hair loss continues to progress at an alarming rate. It's getting to hard to disguise. Wellbutrin is the only medication I take. I will definitely be looking into this further. Life without Wellbutrin will be hard, but life without hair is tragic.
Alison, from USA
Began a dose of 100. Hair seemed fine. Started at 150 2 times daily, I have noticed my hair thinning now more than ever and I do suspect this medication. I am going to stop it now. I'm 52. Before Wellbutrin my hair was in great condition - full and thicker. It's now thinner and falling out more!!
Virginia, from California, USA
I was on it a couple years ago, and weaned off because I was convinced it was causing my hair-loss. Recently started up again, and my hair is back to baby thin hair. It is embarrassing! I have loss near my bangs, top of head, and sides. It's dry, brittle, dull and so so thin. It itches like crazy...I do not have this issue when I'm not on it! Curious to know what alternatives are out there!
I have been taking Wellbutrin and Bupropion off and on in different doses for 14 years. Only in this past year did I panic at the gross amount of hair I began to lose. I had been put on new medication, actually a lot of new medications for diabetes and low thyroid that a quack NP guinea pigged me with and became deathly ill because there is nothing wrong with my thyroid and she was treating me with aggressive diabetes medication when my A1C is only 7. My new doctor supported me coming off all the medications she put me on and my health has improved except for my hair loss. That has still not improved. The only medication I am taking is 300mg of Bupropion. I upped to 300mg about a year ago. My scalp is itching and I'm now afraid to touch, wash, style and certainly color my hair because its' so fragile. It is falling out all over my scalp by the handfuls and has been for a while. Today my ah-ha moment came when I questioned the gross condition of my hair. Could it be the Bupropion? Looking back all I ever saw was the benefit it gave me, more energy and helped with my insomnia. I did experience some weight loss, but I have been on it off and on for 14 years, ladies, so that isn't something I depend on it for. But looking back my hair has been shedding in large amounts for years! I more than once laughed at MY GOD! I can't believe I'm not bald with all the hair I shed. I had very thick long hair so it didn't really thin. But now for many reasons, I'm 50 now, not 40, I've been wrecked with poison medication for 9 months, and the stress of a rough year in 2016 has left me feeling bald. The truth is my hair is thin to the point I feel ugly and not myself at all. I feel self conscious around everyone. The graying in my hair began hereditarily in my 20's, so I thought that the fact that I'm 80% platinum white was DNA and it very well may be, but I see here that other women have suffered pigment loss. So was mine sped up? Possibly. Today is 1/23/17, I'm not going to take my morning dose of Bupropion. I will make an appointment with my new doctor who is a male, but I hope will hear me. I have trusted this medication for many years to help me. I have seen other anti-depressants do more damage than good so I'm not willing to guinea pig again. I really need time to detox and see where I'm at before anything else happens. I can only pray as well that my hair repairs its self. If it does....sigh, I will be very very fortunate. I have to prepare myself to come to terms if it does't though. Good luck, ladies, with your own personal fight. The pharmaceutical industry is rich off of our illness and misfortune. Be strong and live to fight another day. Thank you for the opportunity and the platform to have a voice.
Geanette, Oregon, USA
I began to notice the thinning of my hair, when I was washing it & then also noticed that my scalp was more visible about 2 months ago. Everyone says its age or the trauma of losing a child 17 months ago-but I am no stranger to trauma, since I have raised 2 severely disabled children for 37yrs, skydived for 14yrs, run a business for 17yrs, & served my country. The only pertinent connection I can find, is the generic Bupropion, which is Welbutrin. So what exactly is that inactive ingredient that is in Wellbutrin that is thought to cause hair problems, because it is evidently in the generic, also. I would also like to add, that being practically bald would contribute far too greatly to my grief.
Have always had compliments on how pretty my hair was, but after three days on Wellbutrin my hair fell out in clumps in the shower. My scalp also had a burning sensation, even after a week of stopping it. I now have to make a appointment with hairstylist to get about 3 inches cut off because it's so thin... I'm disgusted to say the least.
I have been on Wellbutrin for about 3 months and have just noticed a receding hairline. I am 62 and I am not sure if it is from age or the medication, however, I do believe that the medication is the cause.
Mary, Pennsylvania, USA
I took generic Wellbutrin several years ago for depression and experienced severe hair loss after several months, so I stopped taking it even though it really helped and was the only antidepressant that didn't cause me to gain weight.
After years off of all antidepressants I went back on generic Wellbutrin this fall. I guess I had just blocked the hair loss and was only remembering how much it had helped with my depression. Well, after 5 months, my hair is now falling out in alarming amounts when I wash it, brush it, blow dry it, touch it... it's a nightmare. I wish there was some way to manage my depression and not lose my hair. Apparently not. I decided to stop taking it 2 days ago.
I had thinning hair at the front of my head for quite some time. However, I started on bupropion last year in April and by fall I was noticing more scalp show through. By December, I have significant scalp show through in the front, and on the sides when I put my hair back. I am choosing to resort to hair toppers because I have an oily scalp that that makes the fill in powders and sprays very noticeable.
Jill, Nevada, USA
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