Wellbutrin XL (Buproprion extended release), an antidepressant medication, is associated with hair loss although it is a relatively rare occurrence.

Wellbutrin Dermatologic Effects

According to the data from various clinical trials of both immediate-release or extended-release buproprion medications, the following dermatologic reactions were reported:

  • Rash (3—8% incidence rate)
  • Itching (2—4% incidence rate)
  • Hives (1—2% incidence rate)
  • Hair loss (1—2% incidence rate)

Hair loss has been associated with most antidepressant classes of medication, not just Wellbutrin (buproprion). Several studies have been conducted in an attempt to quantify just how common hair loss is with antidepressants and whether or not one class carries a higher risk than others.

One study found that among antidepressant classes, Wellbutrin was the most likely to cause hair loss and hair loss with Wellbutrin was significantly more likely than with drugs in the SSRI class of medications (such as Zoloft and Prozac). In fact, participants in the linked study who took Wellbutrin had 1.43 times the risk of hair loss when compared to Prozac (fluoxetine).

The exact mechanism of hair loss due to antidepressant use isn't known unfortunately but it doesn't appear that one individual is more susceptible than another. It does appear to be dose related meaning that higher doses increase the risk of occurrence. If hair loss does occur, is generally is considered reversible upon discontinuation of the drug.