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Drug Interactions between bupropion and Lexapro

This report displays the potential drug interactions for the following 2 drugs:

  • bupropion
  • Lexapro (escitalopram)

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Interactions between your drugs


buPROPion escitalopram

Applies to: bupropion and Lexapro (escitalopram)

MONITOR CLOSELY: The use of bupropion is associated with a dose-related risk of seizures. The risk may be further increased when coadministered with other agents that can reduce the seizure threshold, including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as citalopram and escitalopram. The estimated incidence of seizures is approximately 0.4% for immediate-release bupropion hydrochloride at dosages between 300 to 450 mg/day (equivalent to 348 to 522 mg/day of bupropion hydrobromide), but increases almost tenfold between 450 mg and 600 mg/day (equivalent to 522 and 696 mg/day of bupropion hydrobromide). Data for sustained-release (SR) bupropion hydrochloride revealed a seizure incidence of approximately 0.1% at dosages up to 300 mg/day and 0.4% at 400 mg/day. Likewise, in clinical trials, an overall seizure incidence of approximately 0.1% has been reported with extended-release (XL) bupropion hydrochloride at dosages up to 450 mg/day and approximately 0.39% at 450 mg/day. The 0.4% seizure incidence may exceed that of other marketed antidepressants by as much as 4-fold.

Pharmacokinetically, bupropion may increase the plasma concentrations of citalopram. The mechanism of interaction has not been described. Unlike other SSRIs, citalopram is not known to be significantly metabolized by CYP450 2D6, which is inhibited by bupropion and its metabolite, hydroxybupropion. In one study, bupropion increased citalopram peak plasma concentration (Cmax) and systemic exposure (AUC) by 30% and 40%, respectively. Citalopram did not affect the pharmacokinetics of bupropion and its three active metabolites. The interaction has not been studied with escitalopram.

MANAGEMENT: Extreme caution is advised if bupropion is administered with any substance that can reduce the seizure threshold, particularly in the elderly and in patients with a history of seizures or other risk factors for seizures (e.g., head trauma; brain tumor; severe hepatic cirrhosis; metabolic disorders; CNS infections; excessive use of alcohol or sedatives; addiction to opiates, cocaine, or stimulants; diabetes treated with oral hypoglycemic agents or insulin). Bupropion as well as concomitant medications should be initiated at the lower end of the dosage range and titrated gradually as needed and as tolerated. The maximum recommended dosage for the specific bupropion formulation should not be exceeded. Clinical and laboratory monitoring may be appropriate for citalopram or escitalopram whenever bupropion is added to or withdrawn from therapy. Bupropion should be discontinued and not restarted in patients who experience a seizure during treatment.


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  6. "Product Information. Wellbutrin (bupropion)." Glaxo Wellcome, Research Triangle Park, NC.
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  8. Guzey C, Norstrom A, Spigset O "Change from the CYP2D6 extensive metabolizer to the poor metabolizer phenotype during treatment with bupropion." Ther Drug Monit 24 (2002): 436-7
  9. "Product Information. Aplenzin (buPROPion)." sanofi-aventis , Bridgewater, NJ.
  10. Sheehan DV, Welch JB, Fishman SM "A case of bupropion-induced seizure." J Nerv Ment Dis 174 (1986): 496-8
  11. James WA, Lippmann S "Bupropion: overview and prescribing guidelines in depression." South Med J 84 (1991): 222-4
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  13. "Product Information. Wellbutrin SR (bupropion)." Glaxo Wellcome, Research Triangle Park, NC.
  14. "Product Information. Wellbutrin XL (buPROPion)." GlaxoSmithKline, Philadelphia, PA.
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View all 15 references

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Drug and food interactions


buPROPion food

Applies to: bupropion

GENERALLY AVOID: Excessive use or abrupt discontinuation of alcohol after chronic ingestion may precipitate seizures in patients receiving bupropion. Additionally, there have been rare postmarketing reports of adverse neuropsychiatric events or reduced alcohol tolerance in patients who drank alcohol during treatment with bupropion. According to one forensic report, a patient died after taking large doses of both bupropion and alcohol. It is uncertain whether a drug interaction was involved. Single-dose studies in healthy volunteers given bupropion and alcohol failed to demonstrate either a significant pharmacokinetic or pharmacodynamic interaction.

MANAGEMENT: The manufacturer recommends that alcohol consumption be minimized or avoided during bupropion treatment. The use of bupropion is contraindicated in patients undergoing abrupt discontinuation of alcohol.


  1. "Product Information. Wellbutrin (bupropion)." Glaxo Wellcome, Research Triangle Park, NC.
  2. Posner J, Bye A, Jeal S, Peck AW, Whiteman P "Alcohol and bupropion pharmacokinetics in healthy male volunteers." Eur J Clin Pharmacol 26 (1984): 627-30
  3. Ramcharitar V, Levine BS, Goldberger BA, Caplan YH "Bupropion and alcohol fatal intoxication: case report." Forensic Sci Int 56 (1992): 151-6
  4. Hamilton MJ, Bush MS, Peck AW "The effect of bupropion, a new antidepressant drug, and alcohol and their interaction in man." Eur J Clin Pharmacol 27 (1984): 75-80
View all 4 references

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escitalopram food

Applies to: Lexapro (escitalopram)

GENERALLY AVOID: Alcohol may potentiate some of the pharmacologic effects of CNS-active agents. Use in combination may result in additive central nervous system depression and/or impairment of judgment, thinking, and psychomotor skills.

MANAGEMENT: Patients receiving CNS-active agents should be warned of this interaction and advised to avoid or limit consumption of alcohol. Ambulatory patients should be counseled to avoid hazardous activities requiring complete mental alertness and motor coordination until they know how these agents affect them, and to notify their physician if they experience excessive or prolonged CNS effects that interfere with their normal activities.


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  2. "Product Information. Fycompa (perampanel)." Eisai Inc, Teaneck, NJ.
  3. Warrington SJ, Ankier SI, Turner P "Evaluation of possible interactions between ethanol and trazodone or amitriptyline." Neuropsychobiology 15 (1986): 31-7
  4. "Product Information. Rexulti (brexpiprazole)." Otsuka American Pharmaceuticals Inc, Rockville, MD.
View all 4 references

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Therapeutic duplication warnings

Therapeutic duplication is the use of more than one medicine from the same drug category or therapeutic class to treat the same condition. This can be intentional in cases where drugs with similar actions are used together for demonstrated therapeutic benefit. It can also be unintentional in cases where a patient has been treated by more than one doctor, or had prescriptions filled at more than one pharmacy, and can have potentially adverse consequences.



Therapeutic duplication

The recommended maximum number of medicines in the 'antidepressants' category to be taken concurrently is usually one. Your list includes two medicines belonging to the 'antidepressants' category:

  • bupropion
  • Lexapro (escitalopram)

Note: The benefits of taking this combination of medicines may outweigh any risks associated with therapeutic duplication. This information does not take the place of talking to your doctor. Always check with your healthcare provider to determine if any adjustments to your medications are needed.

Drug Interaction Classification

These classifications are only a guideline. The relevance of a particular drug interaction to a specific individual is difficult to determine. Always consult your healthcare provider before starting or stopping any medication.
Major Highly clinically significant. Avoid combinations; the risk of the interaction outweighs the benefit.
Moderate Moderately clinically significant. Usually avoid combinations; use it only under special circumstances.
Minor Minimally clinically significant. Minimize risk; assess risk and consider an alternative drug, take steps to circumvent the interaction risk and/or institute a monitoring plan.
Unknown No interaction information available.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.