How Long Does Wellbutrin Stay in Your System?

Dr. Langdon M.D.

Medically Reviewed By: Kimberly Langdon M.D.


Although antidepressant drugs like Wellbutrin are not commonly abused, it is still possible to misuse them.

Wellbutrin is not usually looked for by drug tests. However, that could change if you are in a legal situation and you are a known abuser of the drug. Also, you should know that bupropion, Wellbutrin’s main active ingredient, is the most common cause of false-positives for amphetamine drugs.

For these reasons, you should stay informed about how long Wellbutrin is detectable in your system. If you use Wellbutrin, it is a good idea to educate yourself about how long the drug stays in your body, and what factors affect this.

How Long Does Wellbutrin Stay in Your Body?

Wellbutrin’s brain effects only last for a few hours, but the drug may actually stay in your system for far longer. It could continue to show up on tests and cause withdrawal symptoms long after its effects have worn off.

Wellbutrin’s detection time on lab tests depends on:

  • What type of test is used.
  • Personal factors that can affect how fast your body detoxes.

Here are the various types of drug tests that are commonly encountered:

How Long Does Wellbutrin Stay in Your Urine?

Most antidepressant drugs like Wellbutrin stay in the urine for a few days after use. Remember, however, that the majority of drug screening, including at-work tests, will not check for Wellbutrin because it is not a common drug of abuse.

Still, Wellbutrin can cause false positives for amphetamine drugs on urine tests. If you have a prescription for Wellbutrin, you may want to notify your tester so they are not surprised if a false positive occurs.

How Long Does Wellbutrin Stay in Your Hair?

Hair tests are usually able to detect drugs for longer than any other type of test. Although Wellbutrin isn’t usually searched for by these tests, many other drugs can be found in the hair for 90 days or longer after the last time taken.

Hair tests aren’t very common because they are less accurate and more expensive to administer than urine tests. There is usually a two-week window after someone takes a drug before it will appear on a hair test.

How Long Does Wellbutrin Stay in Your Blood?

Wellbutrin has a half-life of around 21 hours, which is extremely long for an antidepressant. Based on this number, Wellbutrin may be detectable in the blood for 4 days or longer. 

Blood tests give the most accurate results and are the best indicator of whether a drug is still active in your system. Since Wellbutrin has such a long half-life, it stays in your blood for longer than most drugs.

How Long Does Wellbutrin Stay in Your Saliva?

It is pretty unlikely that you would be tested for Wellbutrin via saliva, but the drug could cause a false positive for amphetamines on a saliva test. Usually, saliva tests can detect drugs for a slightly shorter amount of time than urine tests.

The only time you are likely to encounter a saliva test would be if you are arrested, and a police officer performs an ‘in-the-field’ drug test. If you find yourself in this unlikely scenario, it’s a good idea to let the officer know that you have a Wellbutrin prescription just in case it registers as an amphetamine.

Factors That Affect How Long Wellbutrin Will Stay in Your System

When it comes to Wellbutrin, there’s a lot of factors that influence how long it lasts in your body. The drug testing times above are not the same for everyone, because each person eliminates Wellbutrin from their body at a different rate. The speed of the detox process depends on:


Scientists know that gender can influence drug elimination times, although the science on this matter is not entirely clear yet. Hormones are suspected to play a key role. If you are a woman, you should always check with your doctor about taking a drug like Wellbutrin while you are pregnant.


In general, older people will take longer to detox from Wellbutrin. This is mostly due to metabolism speed, but also has to do with overall body and organ functioning. Many systems must work well together to eliminate drugs from the body, and age can make the process slower.

Liver and Kidney Function

The liver and kidneys act like a filtration device for toxins in the body. In order for drugs to be removed, they must pass through the liver and kidneys. These organs must be healthy and functioning well in order for Wellbutrin to move through the body efficiently.

Weight and Metabolism

Metabolism and overall body weight can influence how long a drug takes to leave the body. Of course, a fast metabolism can speed the process up. While larger people will need more of the drug to reach the same blood concentrations, keep in mind that fat cells can store Wellbutrin. People with a higher body fat percentage will usually take longer to detox.

Specifics of Wellbutrin Use

In the rare case that Wellbutrin is being abused, it can lead to a build-up of the drug in the system. Large dosages, a high frequency of use, and a long duration of abuse can all lead to this scenario. When the drug builds up in the body, it takes longer to remove.

Get Treatment for Wellbutrin Abuse

If you are worried about Wellbutrin showing up on drug tests, you may have a bigger issue. Substance use disorders are difficult to confront, but you can heal with time and effort. Fortunately, you don’t have to do it alone.

Call Bedrock Recovery Center to find out how we can help you with Wellbutrin abuse. Overdosing on this drug can be fatal, so you need to act quickly before a worst-case scenario presents itself.

  1. Casey ER , et al. (n.d.). Frequency of false positive amphetamine screens due to bupropion using the Syva EMIT II immunoassay. - PubMed - NCBI.
  2. How Long Does Withdrawal From Wellbutrin Last? (2018, October 9).
  3. Wellbutrin XL. (n.d.).

Written by Bedrock Recovery Center Editorial Team

© 2024 Bedrock Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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