Wellbutrin severe allergic reaction - How long does the itching last?
Question posted by Notthatbad on 21 Oct 2010
Last updated on 26 October 2022 (5 weeks ago) by RKog70
I was on wellbutrin xl at 150 mg for a week. Then upped to 300mg. I immediately began itching. After reading neg experienced others wrote about generic, i switched to Brand Wellbutrin on Day 3. Itching continued. Developed into rash all over my legs and arms. Worst itching I've every felt. Soon broke out in large hives. Dr took me off immediately when I told him about rash. I took it for 5 days at 300mg and now have been off for 5 days. But I'm still itching and continuing to break out. Not as bad, but can't sleep at night. Taking benadryl and prednisone, but not going away as I thought.
My question is this: For anyone who has experienced similar reaction, how long does it take for itching and hives to go away, (or for meds to get out your system)?
Any advice would help. I can't find any answers or info on the duration of an allergic reaction to Wellbutrin, although I know it is somewhat common. Thanks!
I wish I had answers! I stopped taking the bupropion 300 mg 7 weeks ago, and the hives are still so bad, mostly at night. I am taking hydroxyzine, Allegra, and nothing is getting rid of it. The nighttime is so much worse, like clockwork. I'm concerned that the hydroxyzine is not helping as much as it did. It's so discouraging. I see my dermatologist next week and pray for a solution. Nobody should have to live this way. Does anyone have any answers?
8 March 2022
Bupropion does cause allergic reactions in many. I researched, did not panic, and took a Loratadine, every day until the hives stopped (about 2-3 wks).I've been on bupropion successfully for over 3 yrs. w/ no allergic reactions. Please note, I have asthma as well, but my breathing was not affected by the bupropion, only my skin. The results were worth being uncomfortable.
8 March 2022
I started Bupropion XL 150mg and several days later I started to feel extreme itching in my face, scalp & groin area. I then broke out in red splotchy welts/hives over random parts of my body (including palms and fingers). Let me say that I have a blood disorder and have had chronic hives breakout previously but this break out was a bit different.
I wondered if it could be related to the meds as it was the only new thing I had introduced. I stopped immediately and went on regimen of prednisone, Zyrtec during the day, Benadryl at night and famotidine (Pepcid). Everything decreased immediately and was complete gone in a matter of days. I waited 2 mo and then decided to give the Bupropion another try in case this break out wasn’t related. Within 5 days of taking the meds again all the same symptoms occurred. I’ve stopped and am pushing fluids & hope I’ll have the same healing experience as before (fingers crossed).
16 Jan 2022
I began Wellbutrin XL mid December - approx 21 days. I immediately thought I had possible bug bites from what don't know and I was itching. .. Not thinking that I was having a reaction to this drug - then about a week ago intense itching I realized this was a symptom of this wretched drug. I stopped last Monday and it had tuned down a bit only to return with a vengeance and hives all over my front and back - WHAT HAS HAPPENED HERE and why after finding this blog has this not been addressed and taken off the market ! I have never had a reaction such as this from any drug! let alone something that gets worse after stopping ! does anyone know how long this will continue ? Taking Benadryl and it is not working that well
13 Jan 2022
I took my first 150mg bupropion xl yesterday and when I went to bed the tips of my toes were a little itchy and kinda sore. It wasn't an insanely unbearable itch like many of you have unfortunately experienced but it definitely kept me up for a while. As a pre-med student, my mind went straight into all the possible causes. Obviously, I started the medication that same day so it was my first thought. But It seems like in all the posts here, the reactions took longer to present themselves. I was wondering if anyone who has had a bad reaction can tell me if this is how it started for you? I'm also very curious to know (for any of those still following this thread) if any of you have had any other allergic reactions to other medications or chemicals prior or since wellbutrin? Also, could there be a possibility some of these reactions occurred due to the combination of other drugs being taken with it? Thanks!
26 Dec 2020
I had the exact same reaction, one week on one pill 150mg then the second week my doctor recommended increasing to two pills, 300mg. I’ve had hives since Nov 18th and now it’s Dec 25th. One suggestion I can give is to adopt a low histamine diet. After about three weeks I was able to reduce the hives and the itching to a lower level. I’ve noticed that if I eat high histamine foods, my skin still reacts. I get an itchy head and my knees break out. It helps a bit just knowing how to eat to reduce symptoms.
31 Aug 2020
I use to take bupropion 2/day to quit smoking a few yrs ago. And it worked wonders (no side effects.) I went back on bupropion about 6 months to a yr ago for seasonal depressive disorder. Started at a low dose 150mg, 300mg, now taking 450mg for a few months. I dont know if it makes a difference but this time i was taking the extended release. And a few days ago I started having itching. Starting here and there on my body. Now its progressed to all over my body, face and head. The itching is worse at night time when my body is relaxed. For me the itching almost feels like bugs crawling, and if I ignore it then it feels like biting. Just enough to irritate you and you have to itch it. And I dont know if itching it will make it worse. I started eliminating other causes by showering 2/day, lotioning, washing bedding, etc... without any success. So I looked online for reasons for the itching without bumps or bites. Just gave me info of bug bites.
So I looked to see side effects on bupropion and read a few of the comments. And I think I may have the same issue. And one of the commenters asked if anyone's hair started falling out... I was actually thinking the same thing. I've noticed a lot of hair falling out when showering and styling. At least more than normal. I thought that it was due to keeping my hair up. But I read that others also had the same problem. So I dont know if that helps with anyone's concerns. So now I'll be calling the Dr tomorrow to see about getting off the meds. Hopefully it helps with the itching and hair loss.
26 June 2020
Ladyblustocking, for what it’s worth, here is my advice on your questions: since you are concerned about the pandemic and financials of going to a hospital for treatment, I can tell you what you are doing right now is all they will do for you. Benadryl with a low dose of steroids. I too was scared that I would go into shock and that’s why I went. But the prednisone and Benadryl should keep you alright. I thought they would give me IV steroids and hydration but neither. Just the two pills that you already are taking. Obviously you have to do what feels right in your gut and if you feel the need to be checked out by a doctor then certainly go to the ER. I just am trying to put your mind at ease and describe my experience. As for the allergist, the only helpful information I got from him was to take a double dose of allergy meds once a day (Allegra or equivalent). This was helpful in that Benadryl was making me sleepy all the time. I hope this info is somewhat helpful.
I understand your fear and feeling so low right now, but just remember this will pass and you will be ok, it is just going to take some time. I’m sorry you’re going through this but stay strong and know others have been there with you.
25 June 2020
I'm so glad I found this thread. I am on my third day of hives from Wellbutrin. Reading the horror stories of people on here still experiencing hives after A YEAR of stopping Wellbutrin! I don't have insurance, so I am extremely afraid of going to the hospital. During a pandemic too. I'm using some prednisone I had along with Benadryl and Xyzal. I'm so afraid of going into anaphylactic shock. I've read not to combine antihistamines but it seems like some people on here have. Should I spend the money and go see an allergist? Any other advice? I'm feeling really low right now, not to the level of self harm, but I am feeling hopeless and so scared.
21 May 2020
I was put on Wellbutrin SR 100 mg 2 x daily within 9 days of taking it I woke up with hives and itching by 6pm that night I was at urgent care covered in hives some the size of a baseball was given a steroid shot and an allergy shot told to take Benadryl and Allegra the hives went away but I was extremely itchy and my lips swelled up and I started having muscle and joint pain as well as hot red splotches on my face and neck i I stopped taking the Wellbutrin at day nine of starting it and 7 days later I’m still dealing with the itching and red splotches saw an allergist who agreed it is likely the result of the Wellbutrin I have no idea how long this will take to completely go away but I will never take another Wellbutrin pill for the rest of my life !!!
25 March 2020
So sorry to hear about your terrible experience, like so many of us on here. Steroid treatment is not sustainable, and taking Benadryl is like walking around half asleep. What has worked for me is taking a double dose of standard allergy medicine at night (Allegra, Zyrtec, even generic). The Decongestant versions are not necessary. This has been essential for me in eliminating the hives and the itching. Hope this info will provide you some relief.
25 March 2020
I really hope that someone has an answer to this. I started taking Wellbutrin XR 150mg in January 25, 2020 to quit smoking. On February 26th I was instructed to increase to 300mg. By March 2nd, I had uncontrollable itching in my scalp. So bad I thought it was lice. Went to the doctor who claimed that it couldn’t be the Wellbutrin. By the night of March 11th I was in the ER struggling to breathe , hives all over my body, and swollen lips, tongue , and ears. I was prescribed steroids for 4 days 20mg a day. When that ran out, by the 17th I was back in the ER again with my throat starting to close, hives all over my body. Another round of steroids was prescribed and this time it was 6,5,4,3,2,1 of 10 mg pills a day. Here we are on March 25th, no more steroids and I have hives all over my body and my eye is swollen.
The ER has suggested that I come back in and my doctor who prescribed the medication in the first place is just telling me “steroids aren’t good for you, take Benadryl “ and we are in the middle of a National Pandemic.
If anyone has found a daily medication or treatment that works, I would really appreciate it. Benadryl kind of helps a little but steroids are the only thing that have kept the reaction at bay. Please help.
10 Nov 2019
So miserable! My reaction was more of a burning, painful rash all over and the itching started to happen when the rash was getting better. My rash stopped getting worse about 4-5 days after I stopped the medication. I was in the ICU for about 4 days due to the severity and the IV fluids helped so drinking lots of water is likely important. Nothing was super helpful with the itching but Benadryl, ice packs, and Eucerin provided some relief. I experienced the itching for about 2 weeks. Definitely moisturize and ice the extra itchy places.
10 Nov 2019
UPDATE: It's been a little over a month since I posted. The hives slowed down and diminished a little, but I still have had new hives in new areas.
In frustration, after reading various cases with stubborn drug reactions, I began taking antihistamines every 3-4 hours to stave off the return of itchiness. The Benadryl did not make me sleepy. I took 3 about 6 times a day. In addition I added hydroxyzine with the Benadryl. At night I added Zyrtec WITH THIS. I did this for about two weeks. I still had outbreaks briefly as they wore off, but they were smaller and more confined to my arms.
FINALLY last night and today, they are leaving! I am having no new outbreaks and the areas that kept flaring up (with the tingly burning feelings that precipitates a new breakout) are fading. Not bumpy anymore -- almost smooth. Something has shifted.
I am still taking the Benadryl--but not needed as often today. No episodes of any itchiness in areas of old hives and no new ones.
Incidentally, I returned to my doctor this past week, as well. She referred me to a dermatologist and didn't think it was the Wellbutrin. My appointment is not until December 2 (the earliest I could be seen).
I intend to keep this appointment, but from what I am experiencing, these hives are finally going away. If this continues, they will be long gone by then.
This makes seven weeks since I stopped taking the Wellbutrin.
Again, I initially did not react to the Wellbutrin when I started it February 2019, but experienced my hive breakout seven weeks in after taking it in April 2019. I made my own connection with Wellbutrin and stopped taking it mid September 2019.
I'll update as anything changes. Be patient -- it seemed that mine got worse before they got better (especially this last week), once I had stopped the Wellbutrin. Research and INCREASE the antihistamines, sometime in combination, non-stop for a week or so.
4 Oct 2019
I had just started taking wellbutrin generic 3 weeks ago as well. 2 days ago, I developed terrible rashes all over my body. I stopped taking the meds bc I read wellbutrin does this. My doctor completely dismissed the rash and asked if I could continue the drug and just take benadryl the rest of my life. She dumb. I'm going to go to a derm for this if it doesnt go away in a week. It's hard to focus with constant itching. I would advise ppl to see s derm, and not a gp. For this as they seem to lack information. Ugh.