GENERIC NAME: bupropion
BRAND NAME: Wellbutrin, Wellbutrin SR, Wellbutrin XL, Zyban, Aplenzin
DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Bupropion is an antidepressant medication that affects chemicals within the brain that nerves use to send messages to each other. These chemical messengers are called neurotransmitters. Many experts believe that depression is caused by an imbalance among the amounts of neurotransmitters that are released. Nerves, in a process referred to as reuptake, may recycle released neurotransmitters. Bupropion works by inhibiting the reuptake of dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine; an action that results in more dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine to transmit messages to other nerves. Bupropion is unique and unlike other antidepressants in that its major effect is on dopamine, an effect that is not shared by the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs (for example, paroxetine [Paxil], fluoxetine [Prozac], sertraline [Zoloft]) or the tricyclic antidepressants or TCAs (for example, amitriptyline [Elavil, Endep], imipramine [Tofranil], desipramine [Norpramin]). The FDA approved bupropion in December 1985.
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