What is Wellbutrin?
Wellbutrin is the brand name for bupropion hydrochloride. It also goes by a few other names: Wellbutrin XL, Wellbutrin SR, Forfivo XL, Aplenzin, and Zyban. Patients mainly use Wellbutrin as an antidepressant, however it is often used as a smoking cessation aid. It is also sometimes prescribed off-label to patients with ADHD. If you feel like taking Wellbutrin, contact your healthcare provider to see if it is right for you.
How does it work?
The drug is taken orally and alters brain chemistry. Specifically it increases the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that plays a significant role in motivation and pleasure. An experience that’s fun and leaves you happy is linked to increased dopamine levels. Norepinephrine is a neurotransmitter that also functions as a hormone to help prepare your body for action. During the “fight or flight” response your body raises norepinephrine levels to increase your alertness, memory, and attention. Together these two chemicals play a powerful role on well-being and happiness.
Anti-depressants are known to have side effects. A few of the side effects include nausea, headaches, constipation or diarrhea, hypertension, dry mouth, and altered weight. The first few listed side effects are common to most drugs and Wellbutrin rarely results in those cases. The most common side effects are dry mouth and altered weight.
Should you take it for weight loss?
Wellbutrin is safe but is supposed to be used to treat depression or to help with withdrawals when quitting smoking. The prescription says you body weight may change while on the drug, meaning you could lose weight but you may also gain weight. Nearly all patients lose weight and only some gain weight. Why is that?
When depressed or experiencing withdrawals, people tend to stress and eat. The foods people eat during distress aren’t always the healthiest choices either. So it makes sense that when taking a drug to make you feel better you don’t have as many cravings. Another big reason people tend to lose weight on Wellbutrin is because you shouldn’t drink alcohol while taking the medication. All of the calories saved from not drinking will definitely have an impact on weight.
Now, the real effects Wellbutrin should not be discounted. People have reported losing up to 100 lbs while on the medication. In fact, Wellbutrin’s unintended weight loss worked so well they combined it with another drug called naltrexone to make an actual weight loss medication called Contrave. A double-blind study found that Wellbutrin users experienced 5-10% greater weight loss compared to the placebo group.
However, Wellbutrin is a mediation that can’t be taken forever. Its main role is an anti-depressant and once you feel better you have to stop taking it. Believe it or not when its time to stop, you will have withdrawal feelings from the medication. The cravings that became easy to control suddenly become hard again.
It’s inevitable that you will have to try and control hunger and things that make you happy on your own. Many reviews about Wellbutrin are very positive and talk about how much weight they are losing. One review said she lost 80 lbs using Wellbutrin and it helped curb her soda addiction. Her story was very promising until at the end I read she wanted the weight gone for life. Relying so heavily on the medication for significant weight loss will only give her a tougher journey when not on the medication. The medication makes things so easy now that her willpower might not be enough when she is on her own.
Wellbutrin is an anti-depressant that was found to work well in aiding in weight loss. Patients began to use Wellbutrin specifically for weight alone. Studies have shown the medication to be very successful in weight loss. The main issue with Wellbutrin is that it is a medication that can only be taken for a period of time. Once it is stopped, a significant portion of the weight can be re-gained. This depends on the individual and their ability to stave off hunger and cravings that are experienced shortly after stopping. Also, Wellbutrin has marginal benefits unless it is combined with a healthy diet and exercise regimen. The medication should be used as a sort of last resort option. There are many other ways to help lose weight quickly and when they fail, Wellbutrin can be an option. Consult a healthcare professional to see if Wellbutrin is in fact a good choice for you.
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