Medication and Treatment Reviews

Wellbutrin

Generic Name: Bupropion HCL

Uses

Wellbutrin 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 is sometimes used off label to decrease hyperactivity and distractibility in people with ADHD, and to help smoking cessation by limiting nicotine withdrawal effects.

How to Use Wellbutrin

Before starting or refilling a Wellbutrin prescription, read the medication guide included with your pills, as it may be updated with new information.

This guide should not replace 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.

Dosage

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. Taking too much Wellbutrin can increase risk of seizures.

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.

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

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.

Precautions and Safety

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 (i.e., anorexia nervosa or bulimia)
  • 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.

Interactions

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.

Sources:

https://www.gsksource.com/pharma/content/dam/GlaxoSmithKline/US/en/Prescribing_Information/Wellbutrin_Tablets/pdf/WELLBUTRIN-TABLETS-PI-MG.PDF
https://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/drugInfo.cfm?setid=cbc8c074-f080-4489-a5ae-207b5fadeba3
https://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/drugInfo.cfm?setid=a435da9d-f6e8-4ddc-897d-8cd2bf777b21
http://www.wellbutrinxl.com/

 

6 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.

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