Bupropion, commonly known as Wellbutrin, is an antidepressant medication that is used to treat depression, anxiety, and seasonal affective disorder. In addition to its primary use as a mood stabilizer, Wellbutrin has also been found to have a potential use as a weight loss aid.
The mechanism by which Wellbutrin may aid in weight loss is not entirely understood. However, it is believed that the medication may increase the activity of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, such as dopamine and norepinephrine, which can lead to a decrease in appetite and an increase in energy levels. This can result in a reduction in calorie intake and an increase in physical activity, both of which can contribute to weight loss.
Increase in Dopamine
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that plays a role in regulating mood, motivation, and reward. It is also involved in the regulation of food intake and energy balance. An increase in dopamine levels can lead to a decrease in appetite and an increase in energy by affecting the activity of certain areas of the brain that control hunger and energy expenditure.
One way that dopamine may decrease appetite is by affecting the activity of the hypothalamus, a region of the brain that plays a key role in regulating hunger and satiety. The hypothalamus contains a group of nerve cells called the arcuate nucleus, which produces and releases a number of hormones and neurotransmitters that control hunger and satiety.
Neuropeptide as a Factor
These include neuropeptide Y, which stimulates appetite, and pro-opiomelanocortin, which suppresses appetite. Dopamine is believed to inhibit the activity of the arcuate nucleus, which leads to a decrease in the release of neuropeptide Y and an increase in the release of pro-opiomelanocortin, resulting in a decrease in appetite.
Dopamine also affects the activity of the ventral tegmental area (VTA), a region of the brain that is involved in the regulation of motivation and reward. The VTA is a key component of the reward pathway and is activated when pleasurable stimuli, such as food, are encountered.
When dopamine levels are increased, the activity of the VTA is increased, which can lead to a decrease in the desire to eat and an increase in the desire to engage in other rewarding behaviors, such as physical activity.
Increase in Norepinephrine
Norepinephrine (also known as noradrenaline) is a neurotransmitter and hormone that plays a role in the body’s stress response and the regulation of metabolism. It is released by the adrenal glands and acts on several different areas of the brain and body to increase heart rate, blood pressure, and energy expenditure.
An increase in norepinephrine levels can help with weight loss by affecting the body’s metabolism and energy balance. Norepinephrine can increase the activity of the sympathetic nervous system, which leads to the breakdown of stored fat in adipose tissue and an increase in energy expenditure. This can result in an increase in the burning of calories, which can contribute to weight loss.
Norepinephrine can also affect the activity of certain areas of the brain that control appetite and hunger. It has been shown to suppress appetite by inhibiting the activity of the hypothalamic appetite centers. It also has the ability to decrease the activity of the hunger hormone ghrelin and increase the activity of the satiety hormone leptin, leading to a decrease in appetite.
It’s worth mentioning that norepinephrine is not a medication that is commonly used for weight loss, and there are no FDA-approved medications that use norepinephrine as the main ingredient for weight loss. Additionally, it is not safe to use norepinephrine as a weight loss aid without proper medical supervision, as it may have side effects such as hypertension, insomnia and anxiety.
How Long Does it Take for Wellbutrin to Work for Weight Loss?
One study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry found that individuals who took Wellbutrin for a period of 12 weeks experienced a significant reduction in body weight compared to those who took a placebo. The study participants taking Wellbutrin lost an average of 3.5 pounds, while those taking the placebo gained an average of 1.5 pounds.
However, it’s worth noting that Wellbutrin is not an FDA-approved medication for weight loss and its use for weight loss should be done under the supervision of a healthcare professional.
Additionally, the weight loss effects of Wellbutrin may not be observed in all individuals and may take longer to be noticed in some cases. It’s also important to keep in mind that weight loss is a gradual process and not a quick fix, and for most people, it may take weeks or even months to see a significant change.
It is important to note that Wellbutrin is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of weight loss, and it should not be used as a primary weight loss aid.
Additionally, Wellbutrin may not be appropriate for everyone, as it can have side effects such as:
- Dry mouth.
It is important to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new medication, including Wellbutrin.
Wellbutrin may have potential as a weight loss aid, but more research is needed to fully understand its mechanism of action and potential side effects. It should not be used as a primary weight loss treatment. Consult your doctor if you are going to use wellbutrin with your gastric balloon. Find out more medication tips at Spatz Medical.