- Side Effects
- Drug Interaction
- Warnings and Caution
What is Wellbutrin (bupropion) and what is it used for?
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 used for the management of major depression (major depressive disorder) and seasonal affective disorder (depression that occurs primarily during the fall and winter). It is also is prescribed for smoking cessation.
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.
Off-label uses (non-FDA approved) for bupropion include posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), social phobia, and nerve pain (neuropathic pain).
What are the side effects of Wellbutrin (bupropion)?
Four of every 1000 persons who receive bupropion in doses less than 450 mg/day experience seizures. When doses exceed 450 mg/day, the risk increases ten-fold. Other risk factors for seizures include past injury to the head and medications that can lower the threshold for seizures. (See drug interactions.)
Antidepressants increased the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior (suicidality) in short-term studies in children and adolescents with depression and other psychiatric disorders. Anyone considering the use of bupropion or any other antidepressant in a child or adolescent must balance this risk with the clinical need. Patients who are started on therapy should be closely observed for clinical worsening, suicidality, or unusual changes in behavior.
The most common side effects associated with bupropion include:
- Weight loss
- Skin rash
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Stomach pain
- Muscle pain
- Fast heartbeat
- Sore throat
- Frequent urination
- Dry mouth
In some people, the agitation or insomnia is most marked shortly after starting therapy.
Less common side effects include:
- Chest pain
- Hot flashes
- Problems swallowing
- Urinary tract infections
More serious side effects include:
What is the dosage for Wellbutrin (bupropion)?
- Bupropion immediate release tablets are usually given in one, two or three daily doses. For immediate-release tablets, no single dose should exceed 150 mg and each dose should be separated by 6 hours.
- For depression the recommended dose of immediate-release tablets is 100 mg 3 times daily (300 mg/day); maximum dose is 450 mg daily. The initial dose is 100 mg twice daily. The dose may be increased to 100 mg 3 times daily after three days and 150 mg 3 times daily after several weeks if the initial response is not adequate.
- The initial dose of sustained-release tablets is 150 mg daily; target dose is 150 mg twice daily; maximum dose is 200 mg twice daily.
- The initial dose of extended-release tablets is 150 mg daily; target dose is 300 mg daily; maximum dose is 450 mg daily. Extended release tablets are administered once daily.
- Some patients with depression may be switched from bupropion hydrochloride (Wellbutrin, for example) to bupropion hydrobromide (Aplenzin) while others may need doses higher than those listed above. The correct dose of these medications for you should be determined by your doctor.
- When used for smoking cessation, bupropion (Zyban) usually is started as 150 mg once daily for three days, and then the dose is increased to 150 mg twice daily for 7 to 12 weeks if the patient tolerates the starting dose. Smoking is discontinued two weeks after starting bupropion therapy.
- The dose for seasonal affective disorder is 150 mg once daily up to 300 mg daily using bupropion hydrochloride extended release tablets (for example, Wellbutrin XL). Alternatively, treatment may be started with 174 mg bupropion hydrobromide (Aplenzin) daily and increased to a target dose of 348 mg day. Start treatment in the autumn prior to onset of seasonal depressive symptoms and continue through the winter season.
What drugs interact with Wellbutrin (bupropion)?
- Bupropion should be used cautiously in patients receiving drugs that reduce the threshold for seizures. Such drugs include prochlorperazine (Compazine), chlorpromazine (Thorazine), and other antipsychotic medications of the phenothiazine class. Additionally, persons who are withdrawing from benzodiazepines [for example, diazepam (Valium), alprazolam (Xanax)] are at increased risk for seizures.
- Carbamazepine (Tegretol) may reduce the effect of bupropion by reducing the blood concentration of bupropion. Monamine oxidase inhibitors should not be combined with bupropion because of the risk of severe reactions. At least 14 days should elapse between discontinuation of an MAOI and initiation of bupropion. Bupropion may affect the action of warfarin (Coumadin).
- Ritonavir (Norvir) may increase the breakdown and elimination of bupropion. In some studies ritonavir reduced the concentration of bupropion in the body by 22% to 66%.
Is Wellbutrin (bupropion) safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
There are no adequate studies of bupropion in pregnant women. In one study, there was no difference between bupropion and other antidepressants in the occurrence of birth defects. Bupropion should only be used in pregnancy if the benefit outweighs the potential risk.
Bupropion is secreted in breast milk.
What else should I know about Wellbutrin (bupropion)?
Bupropion is available as over 50 Brand names in the US, therefore, there are many formulations. Examples of these formulations/combinations include bupropion, bupropion hydrochloride and/or bupropion hydrobromide either as the single active chemical or in combination with another (like Contrave).
These are the most common formulations available in the US.
- Bupropion hydrochloride immediate release tablets: 75 and 100 mg.
- Bupropion Sustained Release (SL) tablets: 100, 150, and 200 mg.
- Bupropion Extended Release (XL) tablets: 150 and 300, and 450mg. (Forfivo XL)
- Bupropion hydrobromide (Aplenzin) tablets: 174, 348, and 522mg.
Other formulations/prescriptions of bupropion may be available. Examine the prescription label on your prescription bottle to be sure it is what your doctor has ordered. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about any questions you have in regard to this drug.
Other bupropion information
- Tablets should be kept at room temperature, 15 C to 25 C (59 F to 77 F).
- Wellbutrin, Wellbutrin SR, Wellbutrin XL, Zyban, Aplenzin, Forfivo XL, and Zyban are the brand names available for bupropion in the US.
- Bupropion is available as a generic drug.
- Bupropion requires a prescription from a doctor or pharmacist.
Latest Depression News
Daily Health News
Bupropion (Wellbutrin, Zyban, Aplenzin, Forfivo XL) is an antidepressant medication prescribed for the treatment of depressive disorders and smoking cessation. Off-label uses for Wellbutrin include posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and neuropathic pain (nerve pain). Side effects, drug interactions, warnings and precautions, pregnancy information, and dosage should be reviewed prior to taking any medication.
Multimedia: Slideshows, Images & Quizzes
Anxiety Disorder Pictures: Symptoms, Panic Attacks, and More with Pictures
Learn about generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). See if your worries are normal or something more by learning about symptoms,...
Schizophrenia: Symptoms, Types, Causes, Treatment
What is schizophrenia? Learn about schizophrenia symptoms, signs, and treatment. Read about schizophrenia types such as paranoid...
25 Effects of Smoking on Your Looks and Life
Cigarette smoking can affect your looks and moods. But did you know smoking also affects your heart, causes wrinkles, and...
Learn to Spot Depression: Symptoms, Warning Signs, Medication
What is depression? Get information on symptoms, signs, tests, and treatments for many types of depression including major...
ADHD/ADD in Adults: Symptoms & Treatments in Pictures
Most people don't associate adults with the term ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) but it is a common disorder in...
Depression Myths: Overwork, Recklessness and More in Pictures
Folk remedies and half-truths still prevent many from getting treatment for depression. WebMD's pictures show unusual symptoms in...
ADHD Symptoms in Children
What is ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)? Learn to recognize ADHD symptoms in children.
17 Everyday Ways to Ease Depression
The right exercise, diet, and activities -- even playing with a pet --can help you recover from depression. Learn simple...
Depression Therapy: Myths, Facts, and More in Pictures
False ideas scare many depression suffers away from therapy and the quick relief and help these pros can provide. Let our experts...
COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) Quiz
COPD is a combination of three conditions? Take this quiz to learn the three conditions that make up the pulmonary disease called...
Smoking Quiz: How to Quit Smoking
You know it's time you quit smoking. Learn the myths and facts about quitting smoking with the Smoking Quiz. When it comes to...
Childhood ADHD Quiz: Test, Symptoms & Medication
Find out causes, symptoms, and treatments for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, a widespread behavioral condition...
Bipolar Disorder (Mania) Quiz: Test Your Emotional Wellness IQ
Who is at risk for developing bipolar disorder? Are you? Take this Bipolar Disorder Quiz to learn more about bipolar disorder, if...
Depression Quiz: Signs & Symptoms
Many people do not recognize the symptoms and warning signs of depression and depressive disorders in children and adults. With...
Adult ADHD Quiz: Symptoms & Test
What are the symptoms of adult ADHD? Take this quiz to learn what it means for an adult to suffer from ADHD and what can be done...
ADHD in Children: Understanding, Discipline and Better Parenting
ADHD is a common disorder seen in children. Parents can learn tips and techniques to teach children life skills, coping...
How to Quit Smoking: 13 Tips to End Addiction
Quitting smoking is a great way to improve your health. Learn tips and techniques to quit smoking and kick the cigarette habit...
Managing Concentration Killers: Smartphones, Social Media, and More
Finding it hard to concentrate? If you lack focus and attention, it may be internet addiction or the negative effects of social...
Healthy Aging: Sneaky Depression Triggers in Pictures
There are many causes and triggers of depression. From too little vitamin B12 to too much time alone, look at these surprising...
Foods That Help Fight Depression
Foods that help fight depression include turkey, Brazil nuts, carrots, shellfish, coffee, leafy greens, salmon, milk, and...
How to Quit Smoking Without Weight Gain
When you quit smoking, weight gain is a concern. You can quit smoking without weight gain when you understand how your body works...
Adult ADHD: Organization and Time-Management Tips in Pictures
Learn daily living tips for adult ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). If you have ADHD or you just need to get...
Physical Symptoms of Depression in Pictures
Depression can cause physical problems such as insomnia, chest pain, fatigue, headaches, and more. Learn the signs of depression...
Related Disease Conditions
Depression is an illness that involves the body, mood, and thoughts and affects the way a person eats and sleeps, the way one feels about oneself, and the way one thinks about things. The principal types of depression are major depression, dysthymia, and bipolar disease (also called manic-depressive disease).
Hookahs vs. Cigarette Smoking (Addiction and Health Dangers)
A hookah is a water pipe that's used to smoke flavored tobacco like watermelon, licorice, coconut, chocolate, cherry, mint, apple, and cappuccino. The use of this type of tobacco smoking began in ancient India and Persia centuries ago. You can find hookah cafes all over the world, for example, the U.S., France, Russia, Britain, and the Middle East. New forms of electronic hookah are now available. Some people who smoke tobacco think that hookahs are less dangerous to their health because the smoke is filtered through water, but the smoke from hookahs contain the same cancer-causing chemicals that cigarette smoke does. Smoking tobacco via cigarettes or hookah are both dangerous to your health.
Anxiety is a feeling of apprehension and fear characterized by symptoms such as trouble concentrating, headaches, sleep problems, and irritability. Anxiety disorders are serious medical illnesses that affect approximately 19 million American adults. Treatment for anxiety may incorporate medications and psychotherapy.
COPD vs. Emphysema
COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is the term doctors and other healthcare professionals use to describe a group of serious, progressive (worsens over time), chronic lung diseases that include emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and sometimes asthma. The number one cause of COPD or emphysema, is smoking, and smoking is the third leading cause of death in the US.
COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)
COPD or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a lung condition caused by smoking tobacco, exposure to secondhand smoke, and/or air pollutants. Conditions that accompany COPD include chronic bronchitis, chronic cough, and emphysema. Symptoms of COPD include shortness of breath, wheezing, and chronic cough. Treatment of COPD includes GOLD guidelines, smoking cessation, medications, and surgery. The life expectancy of a person with COPD depends on the stage of the disease.
The term oral cancer includes cancer of the mouth (oral cavity) and the back of the mouth (oropharynx). Red and white patches inside the mouth, bleeding, loose teeth, pain upon swallowing, a lump in the neck, earache, and a sore on your lip or in your mouth that won't heal are all symptoms of oral cancer. Treatment for oral cancer depends upon the staging of the disease and usually involves surgery, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy.
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a psychiatric condition, can develop after any catastrophic life event. Symptoms include nightmares, flashbacks, sweating, rapid heart rate, detachment, amnesia, sleep problems, irritability, and exaggerated startle response. Treatment may involve psychotherapy, group support, and medication.
Smoking (How to Quit Smoking)
Smoking is an addiction. More than 430,000 deaths occur each year in the U.S. from smoking related illnesses. Secondhand smoke or "passive smoke" also harm family members, coworkers, and others around smokers. There are a number of techniques available to assist people who want to quit smoking.
13 Tips for Parenting a Teen With ADHD
Parenting a teenager who has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can be challenging. Parents can use specific strategies to help their teen cope with school and homework. Special care should be taken to help an ADHD teen drive safely and avoid alcohol and drug use.
Childhood ADD or ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Children)
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) causes the following symptoms in children: excessive activity, problems concentrating, and difficulty controlling impulses. There are three types of ADHD: the predominantly inattentive type, the predominantly hyperactive/impulsive type, and the combined (inattentive, hyperactive, and impulsive) type. Stimulant medications are the most common medication used to treat ADHD.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS or SEID)
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) or systemic exertion intolerance disease (SEID) is a debilitating and complex disorder characterized by profound fatigue that lasts 6 months or longer, is not improved by bed rest, and may be worsened by physical or mental activity.
Bipolar Disorder vs. Schizophrenia
Bipolar disorder and schizophrenia are mental illnesses that share some risk factors and treatments. Symptoms of bipolar disorder include mood changes and manic and depressive episodes. Symptoms of schizophrenia include unusual behavior, delusions, and hallucinations.
Bipolar disorder (or manic depression) is a mental illness characterized by depression, mania, and severe mood swings. Treatment may incorporate mood-stabilizer medications, antidepressants, and psychotherapy.
Neuropathic pain is a chronic condition that leads to ongoing pain symptoms. Patients can be predisposed to developing neuropathic pain who have conditions such as diabetes, cancer, stroke, HIV, vitamin deficiencies, shingles, and multiple sclerosis. Patient history and nerve testing are used to diagnose neuropathic pain. Antidepressants, antiseizure medications, and other types of medications are used to treat neuropathic pain. Many people with neuropathic pain are able to attain some level of relief.
Depression in teenagers may be caused by many factors. Symptoms of teen depression include apathy, irresponsible behavior, sadness, sudden drop in grades, withdrawal from friends, and alcohol and drug use. Treatment of depression in adolescents may involve psychotherapy and medications.
Teen Drug Abuse
Drugs commonly abused by teens include tobacco products, marijuana, cold medications, inhalants, depressants, stimulants, narcotics, hallucinogens, PCP, ketamine, Ecstasy, and anabolic steroids. Some of the symptoms and warning signs of teen drug abuse include reddened whites of eyes, paranoia, sleepiness, excessive happiness, seizures, memory loss, increased appetite, discolored fingertips, lips or teeth, and irritability. Treatment of drug addiction may involve a combination of medication, individual, and familial interventions.
Schizotypal Personality Disorder
Schizotypal personality disorder is characterized by odd behaviors, feelings, perceptions, and ways of relating to others that interfere with one's ability to function. Medication and psychotherapy can help the sufferer to manage their symptoms.
Duck syndrome is a situation initially coined at Stanford University whereby a college student may seem to be calm on the surface when actually he or she is frantically struggling to stay above water to meet the demands of student life.
Mental health is an optimal way of thinking, relating to others, and feeling. All of the diagnosable mental disorders fall under the umbrella of mental illness. Depression, anxiety, and substance-abuse disorders are common types of mental illness. Symptoms and signs of mental illness include irritability, moodiness, insomnia, headaches, and sadness. Treatment may involve psychotherapy and medication.
Adult ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)
About 2%-6% of adults have ADHD, a common behavioral problem. Symptoms include impulsivity, hyperactivity, and inattention. Treatment may involve ADHD education, attending a support group, skills training, and medication.
Dysthymia is a less severe form of chronic depression. Symptoms and signs include insomnia, suicidal thoughts, guilt, empty feeling, loss of energy, helplessness, sluggishness, and persistent aches and pains. Treatment may involve psychotherapy, electroconvulsive therapy, and antidepressants.
Postpartum depression is a form of depression that occurs within a year after delivery. It is thought that rapid hormone changes after childbirth may lead to depression. Symptoms of postpartum depression include crying a lot, headaches, chest pains, eating too little or too much, sleeping too little or too much, withdrawal from friends and family, and feeling irritable, sad, hopeless, worthless, guilty, and overwhelmed. Treatment typically involves talk therapy and medication.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in Teens
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in teens is a disruption of neurocognitive functioning. Genetics contribute to ADHD. Symptoms of ADHD in teens include inattention, hyperactivity/impulsivity, or a combination of these. Treatment may include cognitive behavioral therapy, behavior therapy, medication, or alternative therapies.
Parenting a Child With ADHD
ADHD is a behavioral condition with characteristics that include hyperactivity, inattention, and impulsivity. Parenting a child with ADHD presents a variety of challenges. Treatment options for children with ADHD include medication and behavioral therapy.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Seasonal affective disorder is a type of depression that tends to occur as the days grow shorter in the fall and winter. Symptoms of seasonal affective disorder include tiredness, fatigue, depression, irritability, body aches, poor sleep, and overeating.
Weight Control and Smoking Cessation
One concern smokers have when considering quitting smoking is weight gain. Not everyone will gain weight when they stop smoking. There are lifestyle changes that can be made to avoid weight gain during smoking cessation. Lifestyle changes include regular exercise, proper nutrition, limiting snacking and alcohol, medication, and weight management counseling.
Smoking During Pregnancy
Smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, low birth weight, premature birth and more. Secondhand smoke also increases your baby's risk of developing lung cancer, heart diseases, emphysema, asthma, allergies and SIDS.
Smoking and Heart Disease
Smoking increases the risk of heart disease in women and men. Nicotine in cigarettes decrease oxygen to the heart, increases blood pressure, blood clots, and damages coronary arteries. Learn how to quit smoking today, to prolong your life.
Treatment & Diagnosis
- Smoking FAQs
- Depression FAQs
- ADHD FAQs
- Bipolar Disorder Mania FAQs
- COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) FAQs
- Adult ADHD FAQs
- How To Reduce Your Medication Costs
- Pharmacy Visit, How To Get The Most Out of Your Visit
- Indications for Drugs: Approved vs. Non-approved
- Drugs: The Most Common Medication Errors
- Medication Disposal
- Dangers of Mixing Medications
- Drugs: Buying Prescription Drugs Online Safely
- Generic Drugs, Are They as Good as Brand-Names?
Medications & Supplements
Prevention & Wellness
- Emerging Treatment Could be a Weight Loss Surgery Alternative
- Most Elderly Smokers Don't Use Anti-Smoking Meds After Heart Attack
- Quitting Smoking While Pregnant: What Works
- 5 Diet Drugs: Which Ones Work?
- No Link Between Anti-Smoking Drugs, Mental Health Issues: Study
- 1 in 10 Medicaid Recipients Gets Drugs to Quit Smoking
- Promise From a New Weight-Loss Drug
- Should I Still Take Contrave?
- Antidepressants Linked to First-Time Seizures
- Experts See Place for Weight-Loss Drugs in Obesity Treatment
- Two-Pronged Program Looks Best for Helping Smokers Quit
- Novel Weight-Loss Drug Is Approved
- Contrave, Newest Weight Loss Option: FAQ
- Weight Gain From Antidepressants Is Minimal, Study Suggests
- Drug Duo Might Help Smokers Quit Better Than Single Med
- A Guide to Smoking-Cessation Options
- Quitting Tips for Thursday's Great American Smokeout
- Study Sees No Suicide Risk From Stop-Smoking Drugs
- Smokers and the Affordable Care Act: Q&A
- Antidepressants Celexa, Lexapro Tied to Irregular Heartbeat: Study
- Drug May Help Women Who Quit Smoking Avoid Weight Gain
- FDA Pulls One Generic Form of Wellbutrin Off the Market
- Teva's High-Dose Generic Wellbutrin XL Withdrawn
- Genes Might Help Some Smokers Kick the Habit
- Prescription Meds Can Put on Unwanted Pounds
- Life After Cigarettes Is Happier: Study
- Newer Antidepressants Work Equally Well, Study Finds
- Nicotine-Free 'Fake' Cigarettes May Help Smokers Quit
- FDA Won't Approve Weight Loss Drug Contrave
- FDA Panel Supports New Obesity Drug
- Depression Rising, but Psychotherapy Declines
- Most Kids With ADHD Take Medication
- FDA: Boxed Warning on Serious Mental Health Events to be Required for Chantix
- Depression: The Link Between Depression and Other Mental Illnesses
- Depression: Major Depression
- Psychotic Depression
- Depression Caused by Chronic Illnesses
- Diagnosing Depression
- Drug Name Confusion: Preventing Medication Errors
- Quit Smoking
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.