If you’ve just started taking Wellbutrin and have noticed that there is more hair than usual in your shower drain or brush, you might be curious as to whether there is a connection.
Wellbutrin (bupropion), an antidepressant, can result in hair loss. (One of them is hair loss, though it’s extremely uncommon.) Usually, the condition is transient and mild.
It’s normal and expected to lose a little bit of hair every day, but anything more than that might cause you to worry. Will it stop or start to grow back?
Thankfully, this hair thinning is probably only transient. Hair loss caused by wellbutrin is uncommon and typically transient. This is what we know about the cause and how you can deal with it.
What is Wellbutrin?
One of the most frequently prescribed drugs is wellbutrin (bupropion). It is employed for treating clinical depression as well as smoking cessation (under the brand name Zyban). Compared to some other antidepressants, Wellbutrin has a lower risk of sexual side effects like erectile dysfunction, lack of desire, or trouble with arousal or orgasm.
Telogen effluvium is the term used to describe the type of hair loss that some individuals taking Wellbutrin and other antidepressants experience. It is characterized by widespread thinning of the hair. More hair loss frequently happens above the forehead, close to the front of the head.
In the case of telogen effluvium, hair loss typically starts three to four months after a trigger (such as stress, a medical condition, or a medication change). Hair loss associated with antidepressant medications typically occurs two to four months after starting or changing a medication.
Do Wellbutrin Side Effects Include Hair Loss?
There could be side effects from using Wellbutrin, just like with any prescription medication.
Agitation, headaches, dry mouth, insomnia, nausea and vomiting, tremors, and constipation are among the most typical side effects.
During drug development, the adverse effects of the medication were troublesome enough to cause discontinuation in 10% of the 2,400 trial participants, meaning they opted to stop treatment.
The FDA’s information on this drug classifies effects as “frequent” if they occur in at least 1/100 patients, and “infrequent” if they occur in 1/100 to 1/1,000 patients.
“Rare” effects are seen in less than 1/1,000 patients.
There are a few potential dermatological effects, but only one that is cited as “frequent”: nonspecific skin rash.
Alopecia, or hair loss, is cited as an “infrequent” effect of Wellbutrin, which means that between 1/100 and 1/1,000 participants experienced hair loss during clinical trials.
That said, it’s difficult to find additional scientific literature or studies on the connection between Wellbutrin and hair loss.
Even though hair loss is a rare side effect, according to the Food and Drug Administration, Wellbutrin may still be able to cause it.
The Hair Growth and Loss Cycle
A discussion of the hair cycle’s phases can help people understand the type of hair loss associated with Wellbutrin. Hair actually goes through four distinct phases between the “birth” of a hair and when it falls out: anagen, catagen, telogen, and exogen. The first stage, known as anagen, which lasts for two to six years, determines how long hair will grow. In the anagen phase are almost 90% of the hairs on your head.
The hair follicle stops growing during the shorter transition stage known as catagen, during which it loses its blood supply. The following phase is known as telogen, and it lasts for three to four months. Exogen is the final stage, during which the hair falls out. A physical or emotional stressor can prematurely shift your hair into the telogen phase, which can cause the normal percentage of telogen-phase hair to increase to about 10%.
The condition known as telogen effluvium develops when hair follicles enter their dormant stage of growth (telogen) too early and remain there. The fact that more hair follicles than usual are in the telogen phase causes diffuse scalp-wide hair loss. Telogen effluvium can significantly increase a person’s normal daily hair loss of 100 hairs.
When Will Hair Grow Back?
Thinking about when their hair will grow back can be stressful for someone who is experiencing alopecia, whether it is from using certain products or taking certain medications. For those who are wondering when this alopecia will stop, the hair will regrow in 3-6 months after the telogen effluvium (the trigger) is removed in the case of hair loss caused by bupropion, according to the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research. Moreover, it might take up to 18 months for the hair to be back to normal.
What Can You Do to Help Your Hair Grow Back
- Antidepressant-related hair loss (drug-induced hair loss) is reversible. When you stop taking the medication, your hair usually grows back within a month or two. Before stopping any medication, make sure to talk to your doctor.
- Hair loss may result from nutrient deficiencies brought on by some medications. Supplementing with the appropriate nutrients can be helpful.
- You could also experiment with hair masks made from organic ingredients like eggs, milk, oils, yogurt, or fenugreek seeds, which can promote hair growth and lessen hair loss.
- Warm oil massages on the scalp can increase blood flow and promote hair growth. Additionally, this can increase hair length and thickness.
- Minoxidil applied topically can be used to stop hair loss and promote hair growth.
- Stress is a significant factor in hair loss. Stress reduction through lifestyle changes may also lessen hair loss.
Drug-induced hair loss cannot be treated with shampoos or conditioners. Visit a doctor if your hair loss is causing you concern.
When to See a Doctor
It is normal for a person to lose 100 hair strands a day. However, speak with a doctor if you experience significant hair loss. It’s possible that the bupropion you’re taking isn’t always to blame for your hair loss. A nutrient deficiency might also exist.
To confirm that hair loss is indeed occurring, your doctor might perform a gentle pull test. After five days, a lock of hair is gently pulled at the end to note the amount of hair loss occurring. Alopecia may be diagnosed if there is a loss of hair that exceeds 10%. To confirm drug-induced hair loss, the doctor may run additional tests (which may include temporarily stopping drug use to assess the effects on hair loss).
Is Quitting Wellbutrin a Good Option to Stop Alopecia?
Stopping the use of Wellbutrin may help a patient’s hair loss issue. Don’t, however, concentrate solely on this. In addition to this drug, there may be other factors at play. Additionally, be aware that abruptly stopping this medication’s use may result in unpleasant or unwanted Bupropion withdrawal. Therefore, a patient must always seek advice from a doctor before deciding to stop taking any medication, especially Wellbutrin. Only medical professionals are qualified to advise patients on dose titration for a secure and efficient drug withdrawal.
Can one overdose on Wellbutrin? It is quite possible. The maximum recommended limit for any dose of Wellbutrin is 450 mg, but in fact, any dose that is higher than the recommended can be enough to trigger an overdose and lead to lethal circumstances. Wellbutrin has a half-life of 21 (plus 9) hours. Patients should be mindful of this time to avoid causing a dangerous level of Wellbutrin concentration in their bodies.
Hair Loss and Medication: Finding Balance
For a lot of patients, hair loss brought on by medication is just a regrettable side effect of something more significant.
For your long-term health and wellbeing, the treatment is frequently necessary.
Similar to how hair loss often only lasts a short time. In that case, it’s crucial to keep in mind that your health comes first.
Even so, it justifies a discussion with your doctor.
Speaking with a medical professional as soon as you notice hair loss will help you find options, such as switching to a different medication, using suggested treatments to slow or stop hair loss, or simply getting answers to your questions.
How Long Does Hair Loss from Wellbutrin Last?
In most cases, Wellbutrin hair loss is not permanent. Less than six months is the typical duration of excessive hair shedding episodes, and they frequently last much less time. They are typically caused by acute stress on your body. It might be a disease, stress on the mind, or in this case, a new drug.
When Does Hair Loss Start With Wellbutrin?
Drugs may interfere with the normal cycle of scalp hair growth to cause it. This may result in either anagen effluvium, which typically develops a few days to weeks after the start of the drug, or telogen effluvium, which is more common and typically manifests itself two to four months after the start of drug intake.
Does Wellbutrin Cause Long Term Damage?
Bupropion long-term use is not known to cause any issues at this time. When taken as prescribed, it is a safe and efficient medication.