What is Wellbutrin?
Wellbutrin is an antidepressant medicine that is thought to work in the brain and nerves on the chemical messengers norepinephrine and dopamine. Wellbutrin XL is used to treat major depressive disorder (MDD) and seasonal affective disorder, and Wellbutrin SR is only used to treat major depressive disorder (MDD).
Another brand of bupropion called Zyban is used to help to stop smoking, Wellbutrin is not indicated to help quit smoking.
You should not take Wellbutrin if you have seizures, an eating disorder, or if you have suddenly stopped using alcohol, seizure medications, or sedatives. If you take Wellbutrin for depression, do not also take Zyban to quit smoking.
Do not use Wellbutrin if you have used an MAO inhibitor in the past 14 days. A dangerous drug interaction could occur. MAO inhibitors include isocarboxazid, linezolid, methylene blue injection, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline, or tranylcypromine.
Wellbutrin may cause seizures, especially in people with certain medical conditions or when using certain drugs. Tell your doctor about all of your medical conditions and the drugs you use.
Some young people have thoughts about suicide when first taking an antidepressant. Your doctor will need to check your progress at regular visits while you are using this medicine. Your family or other caregivers should also be alert to changes in your mood or symptoms.
Report any new or worsening symptoms to your doctor, such as: mood or behavior changes, anxiety, panic attacks, trouble sleeping, or if you feel impulsive, irritable, agitated, hostile, aggressive, restless, hyperactive (mentally or physically), more depressed, or have thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself.
Before taking this medicine
Do not use Wellbutrin if you have used an MAO inhibitor in the past 14 days. A dangerous drug interaction could occur. MAO inhibitors include isocarboxazid, linezolid, methylene blue injection, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline, tranylcypromine, and others.
You should not take Wellbutrin if you are allergic to bupropion, or if you have:
a seizure disorder;
an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia; or
if you have suddenly stopped using alcohol, seizure medications, or a sedative (such as Xanax, Valium, Fiorinal, Klonopin, and others).
Do not use an MAO inhibitor within 14 days before or 14 days after you take bupropion. A dangerous drug interaction could occur. MAO inhibitors include isocarboxazid, linezolid, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline, and tranylcypromine.
Do not take Wellbutrin to treat more than one condition at a time. If you take bupropion for depression, do not also take this medicine to quit smoking.
Wellbutrin may cause seizures, especially if you have certain medical conditions or use certain drugs. Tell your doctor about all of your medical conditions and the drugs you use.
To make sure this medicine is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever had:
a head injury, seizures, or brain or spinal cord tumor;
heart disease, high blood pressure, or a heart attack;
kidney or liver disease (especially cirrhosis); or
depression, bipolar disorder or other mental illness; or
if you drink alcohol.
Some young people have thoughts about suicide when first taking an antidepressant. Your doctor will need to check your progress at regular visits while you are using Wellbutrin. Your family or other caregivers should also be alert to changes in your mood or symptoms.
Ask your doctor about taking Wellbutrin if you are pregnant. It is not known whether bupropion will harm an unborn baby. However, you may have a relapse of depression if you stop taking your antidepressant. Tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant. Do not start or stop taking bupropion without your doctor's advice.
If you are pregnant, your name may be listed on a pregnancy registry to track the effects of bupropion on the baby.
It may not be safe to breastfeed while using Wellbutrin. Ask your doctor about any risk.
How should I take Wellbutrin?
Take Wellbutrin exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Too much of this medicine can increase your risk of a seizure.
Do not crush, chew, or break an extended-release tablet. Swallow it whole.
You should not change your dose or stop using Wellbutrin suddenly, unless you have a seizure while taking this medicine. Stopping suddenly can cause unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.
Do not stop using Wellbutrin suddenly, or you could have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Ask your doctor how to safely stop using this medicine.
Some people taking Wellbutrin have had high blood pressure that is severe, especially when also using a nicotine replacement product (patch or gum). Your blood pressure may need to be checked before and during treatment with bupropion.
This medicine can cause you to have a false positive drug screening test. If you provide a urine sample for drug screening, tell the laboratory staff that you are taking bupropion.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222. An overdose of bupropion can be fatal. Overdose symptoms may include muscle stiffness, hallucinations, fast or uneven heartbeat, shallow breathing, or fainting.
What to avoid
Drinking alcohol with bupropion may increase your risk of seizures. If you drink alcohol regularly, talk with your doctor before changing the amount you drink. Bupropion can also cause seizures in people who drink a lot of alcohol and then suddenly quit drinking when they start using the medication.
Bupropion may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be alert.
Wellbutrin side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction to Wellbutrin: (hives, itching, fever, swollen glands, difficult breathing, swelling in your face or throat) or a severe skin reaction (fever, sore throat, burning eyes, skin pain, red or purple skin rash with blistering and peeling).
Report any new or worsening symptoms to your doctor, such as: mood or behavior changes, anxiety, depression, panic attacks, trouble sleeping, or if you feel impulsive, irritable, agitated, hostile, aggressive, restless, hyperactive (mentally or physically), or have thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
a seizure (convulsions);
confusion, unusual changes in mood or behavior;
blurred vision, tunnel vision, eye pain or swelling, or seeing halos around lights;
fast or irregular heartbeats; or
a manic episode - racing thoughts, increased energy, reckless behavior, feeling extremely happy or irritable, talking more than usual, severe problems with sleep.
Common Wellbutrin side effects may include:
dry mouth, sore throat, stuffy nose;
ringing in the ears;
nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, loss of appetite, constipation;
sleep problems (insomnia);
tremors, sweating, feeling anxious or nervous;
confusion, agitation, hostility;
headache, dizziness; or
muscle or joint pain.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
What other drugs will affect Wellbutrin?
You may have a higher risk of seizures if you use certain other medicines while taking Wellbutrin.
Many drugs can interact with bupropion. Tell your doctor about all medicines you use, and those you start or stop using during your treatment with Wellbutrin. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.
Wellbutrin XL and Wellbutrin SR are different formulations of the antidepressant bupropion. Both Wellbutrin XL and Wellbutrin SR may cause weight gain or weight loss, but weight loss is more common. Not everyone taking these drugs will experience a change in weight. Continue reading
Wellbutrin XL is an extended release tablet which releases more slowly than the Wellbutrin SR tablet which is released faster. Wellbutrin SR is only used for major depressive disorder (MDD), whereas Wellbutrin XL can be used for both MDD and seasonal affective disorder (SAD) Continue reading
Stopping Wellbutrin (brand name for bupropion) suddenly may cause withdrawal symptoms. If you want to stop taking Wellbutrin, it’s important to talk to your doctor first. Your doctor can help you slowly lower your dose if needed and stop taking Wellbutrin safely. Continue reading
You may notice an improvement in your sleep, energy and appetite in the first week or two of taking Wellbutrin and this can be an important sign that the drug is working. But, like other antidepressants, improvements in your mood or motivation may take 6 to 8 weeks to develop. Continue reading
Auvelity worked significantly better than Wellbutrin (bupropion) at relieving symptoms of depression in a small randomized double-blind, parallel trial that lasted for 6 weeks. It also had a faster onset of effect, with improvement in the Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) score being observed as early as week 1 and differences being statistically significant by week 2. Continue reading
Both Auvelity and Wellbutrin are effective for depression but a small RCT (n=80) reported that Auvelity worked significantly better than Wellbutrin and took less time to start working. 43 people prescribed Auvelity experienced an overall decrease in their Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) score of 13.7 points after 6 weeks compared to a decrease of 8.8 points in the 37 people prescribed bupropion (least-squares mean difference=-4.9; 95% CI=-3.1, -6.8). Continue reading
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Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use Wellbutrin only for the indication prescribed.
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