What is Wellbutrin?

Wellbutrin is an antidepressant and brand name of the drug bupropion. The medication has been approved for treating depression and seasonal affective disorder in adults. The medication is sometimes used to treat symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity in patients with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) when traditional medications are ineffective. More commonly, the drug is prescribed to treat symptoms of depression which can co-occur with ADHD.

Is there a generic version of Wellbutrin available?

Yes, the generic version of Wellbutrin is called bupropion and is available for purchase.

When did the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approve the medication?

Bupropion was first approved by the FDA in 1985.

What are the major differences between Wellbutrin and other medications used to treat ADHD?

Most traditional ADHD medications are stimulants. They can be very effective in treating symptoms, but they can be habit-forming. When stimulants are not effective, antidepressants like Wellbutrin are sometimes prescribed. However, there is limited data which supports Wellbutrin as an effective treatment for ADHD. Depression commonly co-occurs with ADHD, and antidepressants can prove effect in treating these symptoms. However, because it an antidepressant, it takes several weeks for the drug to reach maximum efficacy.

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Can children take Wellbutrin?

The safety and effectiveness of Wellbutrin in children has not been established. Children and teens who take antidepressants are at risk for developing suicidal thoughts.

Are there potential interaction issues for people taking Wellbutrin and any other drugs?

Do not take Wellbutrin if you have taken an MAO inhibitor in the past two weeks, benzodiazepines, or sedatives. There are also hundreds of drugs which are known to interact with Wellbutrin in major, moderate, or mild ways, so let your doctor know what other medications you are taking before you begin taking the medication.

Are there any other medical conditions that would make someone ineligible for Wellbutrin therapy?

You should not take Wellbutrin if you have had an eating disorder, seizures, or drink a lot of alcohol. Talk to your doctor if you have liver or kidney problems, heart problems, high blood pressure, diabetes, a history of mental illness, or a history of suicidal thoughts.

What is the typical dose that would be prescribed to someone taking Wellbutrin?

No single dose of Wellbutrin should be more than 150 mg. A typical dose for adults is 300mg a day, divided into three times (i.e. 100 mg each).

What do I do if I miss a dose?

Wait until it is the next time to take the tablet. Do not take an extra dose to make up for the missed dose. Taking too much Wellbutrin can increase the risk of seizures.

 What are Wellbutrin’s common side effects?

Common side effects of Wellbutrin can include:

  • constipation
  • trouble sleeping
  • headache
  • nausea
  • nervousness
  • vomiting
  • tremors
  • dry mouth.

If you experience major side effects, report them to your doctor immediately and stop using the medication. Major side effects can include but are not limited to seizures, manic episodes, high blood pressure, delusions, hallucinations, eye pain, swelling or redness around the eye, and severe allergic reactions. You can report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or online.

Are there any possible psychiatric side effects that come from taking Wellbutrin?

Wellbutrin can cause or increase suicidal thoughts in children or adults. Psychiatric side effects of the medication can also include nervousness, anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, irritability, manic episodes, aggression, hallucinations, and delusions. Talk to your doctor if you have a history of bipolar disorder or a family history.

Is it safe for a woman who is pregnant, about to become pregnant, or nursing to take Wellbutrin?

There have been no controlled human pregnancy studies on the effects of Wellbutrin. The drug can be transferred via breast milk, but it is unknown whether it can harm a baby. Therefore, talk to your doctor if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are nursing before you take Wellbutrin.

Can symptoms occur if Wellbutrin is discontinued?

Withdrawal symptoms of Wellbutrin can include but are not limited to anxiety, body aches, crying, depression, dizziness, lack of energy, headaches, changes in appetite, irritability, decrease in sexual interest, seizures, lack of coordination, vomiting, and weight gain. Talk to your doctor before you discontinue use and seek medical attention if necessary.

What should I do if I overdose on Wellbutrin?

An overdose of Wellbutrin could be fatal, so seek immediately help or call the Poison Help Line at 1-800-222-1222 if you overdose. Overdose symptoms can include seizures, fever, muscle rigidity, respiratory failure, hallucinations, hypotension, stupor, loss of consciousness, sinus tachycardia, arrhythmia, and coma.

Is Wellbutrin habit-forming?

Wellbutrin is not habit-forming, but withdrawal symptoms can occur, so talk to your doctor before you discontinue use.

How much does Wellbutrin cost?

Sixty tablets of 75 mg Wellbutrin cost approximately $160. The cost of the generic version bupropion is around $30.

Are there any disadvantages to Wellbutrin?

The biggest disadvantage of Wellbutrin is that it can cause suicidal thoughts in people taking the medication. Patients are also advised not to drink alcohol while taking the medication. Unlike many other medications used to treat ADHD, the drug takes several weeks for the effects to be felt, and data supporting the drug’s efficacy in treating ADHD is very limited. Also, common side effects of the medication may outweigh the benefits.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained herein should NOT be used as a substitute for the advice of an appropriately qualified and licensed physician or other health care provider.  This article mentions drugs that were FDA-approved and available at the time of publication and may not include all possible drug interactions or all FDA warnings or alerts. The author of this page explicitly does not endorse this drug or any specific treatment method. If you have health questions or concerns about interactions, please check with your physician or go to the FDA site for a comprehensive list of warnings.




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Last Updated: Nov 25, 2018