Wellbutrin is a brand name for bupropion, an antidepressant mainly used to treat major depressive disorder.
Wellbutrin is available by physician prescription only.
The main active ingredient in Wellbutrin is bupropion, an antidepressant formerly called amfebutamone. Bupropion is a norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitor (NDRI) and a nicotinic antagonist.
Wellbutrin is prescribed for major depressive disorder and seasonal affective disorder (“winter blues”). Bupropion used to be prescribed to help patients stop smoking and stave off nicotine addiction, but due to complications, Wellbutrin is no longer prescribed for smoking cessation.
Antidepressants like bupropion are favored over selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) because they do not cause weight fluctuations or sexual dysfunction as SSRIs do.
Wellbutrin dosage will vary depending on physician recommendation, age, severity of the condition and response to the treatment.
Wellbutrin must be taken exactly as prescribed for the drug to be effective. Do not take more or less of the medication than prescribed.
Wellbutrin dosage should not exceed 450 mg per day, or 150 mg per dose.
Avoid taking Wellbutrin too close to bedtime if the drug causes insomnia or sleeping problems.
Warnings and Precautions
Antidepressants like Wellbutrin may increase the risk of suicidal thoughts or behavior in adults between ages of 18 to 24, teens and children suffering from mood disorders. Depression is the main cause of suicidal thoughts and behavior. Short-term drug trials have shown antidepressants to exacerbate the risk. Therefore, patients prescribed antidepressants should be carefully monitored for risky behavior.
Bupropion is known to cause severe neuropsychiatric reactions in patients taking the drug to treat regular smoking. These reactions may occur in patients who continue to smoke while taking bupropion, or have discontinued treatment. It’s highly recommended that all patients taking bupropion are monitored for neuropsychiatric reactions.
Do not take Wellbutrin if allergic to bupropion or any of the inactive ingredients in the drug.
Wellbutrin many not be safe for pregnant patients. Bupropion can pass through breast milk to an infant, therefore.
Wellbutrin is not recommended for breastfeeding mothers.
Wellbutrin is known to cause seizures, especially in higher doses exceeding 450 mg per day. Wellbutrin should be taken in lower doses to avoid risk of seizures. Do not take Wellbutrin if diagnosed with conditions that increase the risk for seizures such as head injury, stroke, metabolic disorders and infection or tumor affecting the central nervous system. All patients must discuss risk of seizure with the healthcare provider prescribing Wellbutrin.
Patients with a history of the following conditions should be cautious when taking Wellbutrin: anorexia nervosa, bulimia, severe alcohol use, use of illicit drugs like cocaine and type II diabetes.
Wellbutrin may cause adverse reactions with certain drugs such as theophylline, antipsychotics, systemic corticosteroids, tricyclic antidepressants, illicit drugs like opiates, oral hypoglycemic drugs and benzodiazepines.
Disclose the use of prescription, over-the-counter, supplemental and all other types of drugs to the prescribing doctor.
Wellbutrin and bupropion could potentially cause one or more of the following side effects:
Headaches or migraines
Dry mouth (xerostomia)
Side effects are not limited to the above.
Immediately consult a physician if side effects continue to persist or worsen over time.