ADHD Medication and Treatment Reviews


Wellbutrin is not an FDA-approved ADHD medication, but rather an antidepressant sometimes used off label to treat ADHD symptoms including hyperactivity and distractibility in people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Generic Name: Bupropion HCL

What is Wellbutrin?

Wellbutrin (Generic Name: bupropion HCL) is an antidepressant medication primarily used to treat depression, major depressive disorder, and seasonal affective disorder in adults. Its safety has not been established for children or young adults under the age of 18.

Wellbutrin may help to relieve common symptoms of depression including disinterest in typical activities, impaired concentration, change in weight or appetite, and insomnia.

Wellbutrin has been neither studied nor approved to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Physicians sometimes prescribe it “off-label” to treat symptoms. However, the clinical evidence for bupropion for ADHD “far weaker” than for FDA-approved treatments, according to the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry1.

There is very little published evidence that bupropion works well for ADHD. Two studies found that the benefits of bupropion for ADHD were barely detectible and in some cases only achieved at dangerously high dosages that could increase risk of seizures2,3. It is a low side effect, low efficacy option used by patients who are unwilling or unable to take stimulant medications.

When prescribed for ADHD treatment, it can be prescribed in conjunction with a stimulant medication like Vyvanse or Adderall XR.

How Do You Use Wellbutrin to Treat ADHD?

Before starting or refilling a Wellbutrin prescription, have a conversation with your doctor, who has a holistic view of your medical history, other diagnoses, and other prescriptions. If you have questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist before you begin taking the medication.

What Is the Dosage for Wellbutrin?

As with all medications, follow your Wellbutrin prescription instructions exactly. Wellbutrin is taken orally, with or without food. It is available in two formulations:

  • Immediate-release tablets (Wellbutrin SR): Taken once or twice daily with at least six hours between doses. Available in 75mg and 100mg dosages.
  • Extended-release tablets (Wellbutrin XL): Taken once daily with at least 24 hours between doses. Available in 150mg and 300mg dosages. The time-release formulation is designed to maintain a steady level of medication in your body throughout the day.

If you miss a dose, wait to take your next dose at the scheduled time. You should not take two doses of Wellbutrin at the same time.

The risk of seizures is highly dose-dependent, and is no higher than other antidepressants. Taking too much Wellbutrin can increase risk of seizures. It is only when a daily dose goes above 450mg that the incidence of seizures climbs to 5%4. When beginning treatment with Wellbutrin, a patient’s dose should be increased gradually to minimize the risk of seizure.

Do not drink alcohol while taking this drug.

The optimal dosage varies patient by patient and condition treated. If you are over 60 years of age, or have certain health conditions, your doctor may recommend a lower dosage.

Your doctor may incrementally adjust your daily dosage until you experience the best response — that is, until you find the lowest dosage at which you experience the greatest improvement in symptoms without side effects.

When discontinuing treatment, or decreasing dosage, patients should work with a doctor to gradually taper the level of medication. Stopping antidepressant medications suddenly can cause new symptoms.

What Side Effects Are Associated with Wellbutrin?

Most people taking this medication do not experience any of these side effects.

The most common side effects of Wellbutrin are similar to those associated other antidepressant medications, and are as follows: agitation, dry mouth, nervousness, constipation, headache, nausea and vomiting, difficulty sleeping, dizziness, pharyngitis, muscle pain, shakiness, fast heartbeat, and heavy sweating.

Other serious side effects include increased risk of suicide or suicidal thoughts, seizures, and angle-closure glaucoma.

Taking Wellbutrin may impair your ability to drive, operate machinery, or perform other potentially dangerous tasks. This side effect usually wears off with time. If side effects are bothersome, or do not go away, talk to your doctor.

Disclose to your physician all mental health issues including any family history of suicide, bipolar disorder, mania, or depression. The manufacturer, Valeant, recommends evaluating patients for bipolar disorder prior to administration of Wellbutrin to avoid inducing a manic episode. Wellbutrin may create new or exacerbate existing behavior problems, bipolar disorder, or suicidal ideation, especially in the first few months of treatment or after a dosage change. Call your doctor immediately if you experience new or worsening mental health symptoms including reckless behavior, hallucinations, or sudden excessive happiness or irritability.

Report to your doctor any heart-related problems or a family history of heart and blood pressure problems. Wellbutrin can increase blood pressure. Physicians should monitor these vital signs closely during treatment.

The above is not a complete list of potential side effects. If you notice any health changes not listed above, discuss them with your doctor or pharmacist.

What Precautions Are Associated with Wellbutrin?

Store Wellbutrin in a secure place out of the reach of children, and at room temperature. Do not share your Wellbutrin prescription with anyone, even another person with depression. Sharing prescription medication is illegal, and can cause harm.

You should not take Wellbutrin if you:

  • have or had a seizure disorder or epilepsy
  • have or had an eating disorder
  • are taking other medications containing bupropion
  • drink a lot of alcohol or have recently stopped abusing alcohol
  • take a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI)
  • are allergic to bupropion or any of the ingredients in Wellbutrin

You should use caution taking Wellbutrin, and speak with your doctor if you have liver or kidney problems, seizures, bipolar disorder, a history of tumors or heart problems, or diabetes.

If you’re thinking of becoming pregnant, discuss the use of Wellbutrin with your doctor. Animal studies indicate potential risk to the developing fetus. Wellbutrin is passed through breastmilk, so it is recommended that mothers do not nurse while taking it.

Wellbutrin is not approved for use in pediatric patients.

What Interactions Are Associated with Wellbutrin?

Before taking Wellbutrin, discuss all other active prescription medications with your doctor. Wellbutrin can have a dangerous, possibly fatal, interaction with antidepressants including MAOIs.

Wellbutrin inhibits CYP2D6 enzyme, which can change how your body processes certain medications including venlafaxine, nortriptyline and more. It can impact the dosage required for CYP2B6 inducers including ritonavir, carbamazepine, and more. Wellbutrin can interact with certain dopaminergic drugs like levodopa and amantadine.

Wellbutrin can exacerbate the drowsiness created by depressants including alcohol, barbiturates, antihistamines, or other sedatives.

Share a list of all vitamin or herbal supplements, and prescription and non-prescription medications, you take with the pharmacist when you fill your prescription, and let all doctors and physicians know you are taking Wellbutrin before having any surgery or laboratory tests. Wellbutrin can give a false positive for amphetamines.

The above is not a complete list of all possible drug interactions.

More Information on Wellbutrin and Other ADHD Medications:

Why and How Wellbutrin May Be an Effective Treatment for ADHD
Non-Stimulant ADHD Medication Overview
Free Resource: ADHD Medication Tracking Log
Your Toughest ADHD Medication Questions Answered
A Parent’s Guide to ADHD Medications


1Pliszka S et al. “Practice parameter for the assessment and treatment of children and adolescents with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder”. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. (2007) 46 (7): 894–921.
2Barrickman LL,, (1995) Bupropion versus methylphenidate in the treatment of ADHD.  Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 34[5]: 649-57.
3Wilens Te, Spencer TJ, Biederman J (2001) A controlled clinical trial of bupropion for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in adults. American Journal of Psychiatry; 158(2): 282-8.
4Brown TE, Romero B, Sarocco P, et al. The patient perspective; unmet treatment needs in adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Primary Care Companion: CNS Disorders. 2019; 21 (3)18m02397.

21 Wellbutrin Comments & Reviews

  1. Wellbutrin XR-200mg in morning and 100mg afternoon a total of 300mg and 50mg Lamicital (to prevent seizures and is a moods stabilizer) saved my daughter’s life. She is 17 and she was struggling so bad she felt so depressed and lost. The Wellbutrin took about 2-weeks for her to feel some effects but after her being on it for 5 months she’ll tell you it saved her life. I also have ADD and seeing how my daughter has responded prompted me to try it and it’s given me back my life too. I also take Extended Release 300mg total 150mg 2x day.

  2. I have tried to switch out from Concerta to Wellbutrin but noticed that is does not provide me with the same Executive Function benefits. The great benefit I got from Wellbutrin was with respect to sleep quality. Today I am taking Concerta in the mornings, and Wellbutrin SR before I go to sleep.

  3. I’m 22 and only got diagnosed this year. My childhood and teens in school were horrible. I’m taking Concerta and Wellbutrin now, and I’m doing a lot better than ever before.

  4. I take Wellbutrin XR 300mg (generic) and I find that I have to take it at night. It makes me sleepy. I take Adderall XR 20mg a couple of mornings a week and I have taken them together before too. It made me feel really weird and zombie like so I decided to split them up. I find it works best for me so far.

  5. I’ve been taking Wellbutrin XL 150mg since March. Let me tell you it has helped me so much with concentrating. I used to be so blunt and say ridiculous things. I have struggled in school so much…I tried to get a geology degree but my ADHD didn’t help and I wasn’t fully diagnosed until this year (2018). Right now im in medical school pursuing a nursing degree and I find that concentration is much easier and I can actually sit still and not feel as nervous.

  6. I use Wellbutrin with Aderrall XL. My school years were a nightmare until I got diagnosed a couple years ago and finally began treatment a year and a half ago. I stopped taking the medication for a month and everything went downhill in my life and university. I learned my lesson lol.

  7. Wellbutrin was first drug I tried when discovering that I had ADHD. It worked well to combat the anxiety side of ADHD and helped me not be impatient. I didn’t help with lack of focus however for me. After taking it for about a year and a half I developed a side effect that made me feel like I was having a heart attack. I stopped taking Wellbutrin and I haven’t felt that since. Just some bad luck for me!

  8. Wellbutrin was the first med my doctor prescribed. I was diagnosed with severe anxiety at age 35 (after a lifetime of panic attacks, constant stomach aches and sleeplessness) then diagnosed with ADHD at age 41. Wellbutrin made me feel “dead inside”. I had no interest in anything or anyone physically or socially. My stomach aches and constant lump in my throat was gone. I suddenly had an appetite but I felt totally numb for 3 months. I went back to my doctor and told him I’d rather feel everything than nothing – I was devastated. He assured me that I had many alternatives. He put me on Prozac for he anxiety. It was a miracle. Every nerve in my body stopped jumping at every noise and I felt what I think is supposed to be “normal”. I wish my first 35 years could have been peaceful. After 5 years the Prozac ceased to work as well so I changed to Lexapro – works great also. For Adhd I’m on Adderall. I still have to work really hard on my time management and focusing. It is an hourly struggle everyday but knowing my limits/strengths helps. My two sons are on the same meds and do great (ages 14 and 19). These medications have only improved my life. From age 5 to 35 I was an emotional mess inside. I would never deny my children a mentally and physically balanced life and that is why I strongly approve of appropriate medications and therapy.

  9. I was on Wellbutrin 500 mg back around 2001-2003. It was great for my depression and I had a positive mood. In fact the best I have felt ever on an antidepressant. However, I developed a twitch in my left thumb so my Psychiatrist switched me to a different medication. I can’t remember to which one, but generally a good mood stabilizer, not sure how good it was or was not for executive function, ADHD or my anxiety. That was 15 yrs ago.

  10. I am a young adult who began taking 150 mg in the morning to treat ADHD. I was told it would help with concentration and motivation/energy to complete a task. The opposite seems to be true – on just the first day, I was absolutely drained only an hour after taking it. It hasn’t helped with any of my ADHD symptoms except for getting a better grasp on my emotions. I am impressed that this is one of the first medications to not affect my appetite. This medication definitely differs person to person because a close friend of mine has had a completely opposite response.

  11. I was different, never fit in growing up. I’m 60 and just got diagnosed with ADD in January.Right on the heels of that,I was diagnosed with narcolepsy.Hard to get people to listen and with no one to guide me; I have floundered.
    Still don’t have a clue how to get family to listen and help me

  12. I recently tried Wellbutrin for about three months. At first it was positive it seemed to help with my ADHD and the side effects seemed similar to any other medication (problems falling asleep). Unfortunately for me this medication became worse with time. The best way I can describe it would be that I got pretty bad brain fog. I would say the wrong words, I would forget what I was saying mid sentence. Then I started having pretty vivid dreams that while they weren’t nightmares were also pretty weird. I also was taking it for seasonal low mood/ anxiety and once winter came it really seemed like it didn’t make much of a difference. I’ve been off of it for four days and I already feel like myself again.

  13. Hi, I’m an adult patient on generic Bupropion 300 mg taken in the evening (to avoid sleep issues). I am also on Dextroamphetimine ER 25m taken in the evening. For a period I went off both of these for a trial of Vyvance, after which I happily returned to this regimen. The ADHD meds were both fine, very little difference in my ability to work, concentrate, etc. But what I discovered is that without the Bupropion I knew what was in my best interest but was not motivated to do it. This was true from very low level (flossing daily) to higher level (longer-term financial planning, long-term work planning). For a brief time two years ago I was taking the Bupropion without any other meds: I felt less energetic, but didn’t otherwise notice any difference. Had you asked then I would have said the Bupropion didn’t do anything. The Bupropion was originally prescribed as an add-on to increase the effectiveness of an antidepressant, Paxil, which I stopped taking entirely after being diagnosed with ADHD and beginning treatment for it.
    So, I grade the bupropion HIghly Effective in improving executive function/motivation, but insufficient for treating ADHD on its own. It’s easy to use, I don’t forget to take doses, don’t experience any obvious side effects.

  14. My daughter (16), recently was placed on Wellbutrin (since January 2, 2020) and doesn’t mind the medication. She says it helps her to stay focus and alert at school. She’s dealing with some side effects, nausea, headaches, bruising, tired, insomnia and dizziness. She says the medication helps her and doesn’t want to be taken off of it. She’s on 150 mg, each morning. She attends therapy once a week, and the only time I notice a mood swing is when she has her monthly menstrual cycle.

  15. Was diagnosed as an adult in 1999. Tried Strattera, Concerta, ritalin, nothing really worked. I was working in a facility where Wellbutrin was in clinical trials for adult ADHD with good results, so I tried that. First time in my life I was able to sit in one place for an hour and actually get some work done. I’ve been taking it for the last 20 years with good results. Two things it’s falling short on is helping with executive function and working memory. One effect of the drug, which I find a little disturbing, is that I am not funny anymore. Suffice it to say, I used to be hilarious, until I was medicated.

  16. Was diagnosed with ADHD (no hyperactivity, with hyperfocus) and depression and Wellbutrin (100 mg twice daily) was the first medication I tried. I was miserable for the first week with dry-mouth, trouble sleeping and a persistent fog. Most of that disappeared after the second week and I noticed a distinct improvement in mood, but a slight, low-level fog persisted and it never made a difference for my problems with focus and attention. Seems to work great for some people, but not for me.

  17. I was 1st prescribed Wellbutrin in 1995 when I was 18. I had been on Prozac before that for 6 months and it did not help my depression at all. Wellbutrin was like night and day. It worked really fast and was really effective. I was on it for 4 years at that time. I’ve been on and off it at various times throughout my life. I wasn’t diagnosed ADHD until 3 years ago. The only problem I experience on Wellbutrin is the brain fog others have mentioned. My ex says that I am less vivacious and less funny when I am on it. He described me as “like a cardboard cutout” of myself. This is why I keep going off of it when I am mentally well enough to do so. But it always works really well on my depression.

  18. Here’s my experience. My new Dr wanted me to try 150xL and then 300xL of the Wellbutrin generic, Bupropion, for ADHD as she’d rather not prescribe a stimulant. I was on Bupropion for 3 months and felt no improvement with ADHD. We agreed I’d stop taking it because I felt somewhat emotionally ‘numb’. Then one week after stopping the 150xL, I had the worst episode of depression I’ve had in well over a year. For 4 days I was an emotional wreck with non-stop dark, depressive thoughts and I couldn’t stop crying. May be a coincidence, but I think that was Wellbutrin withdrawal. I was crying for no reason at times. I assumed because I had zero side-effects starting this medication, that it wasn’t affecting me and my brain wouldn’t go through any withdrawal from it. So glad I’m off it now. I feel like the cloud is starting to lift and my mind is clearing. I also noticed that Wellbutrin reduced the effectiveness of my Adderall. That was annoying because then neither medication was working for me! I’d personally rather take my Adderall a few days a week and have it actually WORK than be on Wellbutrin every day and feel zero benefits.

Tips for Good Medication and Treatment Reviews

  • Post reviews only for medications or treatments you have used or prescribed.
  • In your description, mention whether you're reviewing the medication or treatment for a child or for an adult (yourself or another adult), and as a patient or as a medical professional.
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