Generic Name: Bupropion HCL
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Mention what medical condition you were using the medication or treatment to address.
- Mention the brand, dose, and period of time that you used the medication or treatment.
- Please share your positive and negative experiences with the medication or treatment in detail. Note effectiveness, ease of use, side effects; and compare it with other treatments you have used.
- Do not include any personal information or links in your review.