Bupropion : Uses, Side Effects, Interactions & More


For people taking bupropion (Wellbutrin) for depression:

A small number of children, adolescents and young adults (up to age 24) who took antidepressants (‘mood elevators’) such as bupropion during clinical studies became suicidal (thinking about harming or killing themselves or planning or try to do it). Children, adolescents, and young adults who take antidepressants to treat depression or other mental illnesses may be more likely to become suicidal than children, adolescents, and young adults who do not take antidepressants to treat these conditions. This risk must be considered and weighed against the potential benefit in treating depression when deciding whether a child or adolescent should take an antidepressant. Children under the age of 18 should not normally take bupropion, but in some cases, a doctor may decide that bupropion is the best medicine for treating a child’s condition.

Regardless of your age, before taking an antidepressant, you, your parents, or your caregiver should discuss the risks and benefits of treating your condition with an antidepressant or other treatments with your doctor. You should also talk about the risks and benefits of not treating your condition. You should know that having depression or another mental illness greatly increases your risk of being suicidal, especially at the beginning of your treatment or any time your dose is increased or decreased. This risk is higher if you or someone in your family has or has ever had bipolar disorder or mania or has thought or tried to commit suicide. Talk to your doctor about your condition, symptoms, and personal and family medical history. You and your doctor will decide what type of treatment is right for you.

You should know that your mental health can change unexpectedly when you take bupropion or other antidepressants, even if you are an adult over the age of 24 or if you do not have a mental illness and are taking bupropion to treat a different type of condition. You may be suicidal, especially at the beginning of your treatment and any time your dose is increased or decreased. You, your family, or your caregiver should call your doctor right away if you experience any of the following symptoms: new or worsening depression; thinking about, or planning or attempting to, hurt or commit suicide; extreme worry; agitation; panic attacks; Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep; aggressive behavior; irritability; act without thinking; severe restlessness; and a frenzy of abnormal excitement. Make sure your family or caregiver knows what symptoms may be serious so they can call your doctor if you are unable to seek treatment on your own.

For all patients taking bupropion:

Your healthcare provider will want to see you often while you are taking bupropion, especially at the beginning of your treatment. Make sure to keep all appointments or office visits with your doctor.

Your doctor or pharmacist will give you the manufacturer’s patient information sheet (Medication Guide) when you start bupropion treatment and each time you get a refill. Read the information carefully and ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions. You can also visit the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website: http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/ucm085729.htm or the manufacturer’s website to obtain the Medication Guide.

Talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of taking bupropion.

Why is this medication prescribed?

Bupropion (Aplenzin, Wellbutrin, Wellbutrin SR, Wellbutrin XL) is used to treat depression. Bupropion (Aplenzin, Wellbutrin XL) is also used to treat seasonal affective disorder (SAD; episodes of depression that occur at the same time each year [usually in the fall and winter, but can rarely occur in the spring or summer months ]). Bupropion (Zyban) is used to help people quit smoking. Bupropion is in a class of medications called antidepressants. It works by increasing certain types of activity in the brain.

How should this medicine be used?

Bupropion comes as a tablet and a sustained-release or extended-release (long-acting) tablet to take by mouth. The regular tablet (Wellbutrin) is usually taken three times a day, with doses at least 6 hours apart, or four times a day, with doses at least 4 hours apart. The sustained-release tablet (Wellbutrin SR, Zyban) is usually taken twice a day, with doses separated by at least 8 hours. The extended-release tablet (Aplenzin, Wellbutrin XL) is usually taken once a day in the morning; The extended-release tablet doses should be taken at least 24 hours apart. When bupropion is used to treat seasonal affective disorder, it is usually taken once a day in the morning, starting in early fall, continuing through winter, and stopping in early spring. Sometimes a lower dose of bupropion is taken for 2 weeks before stopping the medicine. Take bupropion with food if the medicine upsets your stomach. If you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, don’t take bupropion too close to bedtime. Take bupropion at around the same time every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any parts you do not understand. Take bupropion exactly as directed. Do not take more or less, or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.

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Swallow the extended-release and extended-release tablets whole; do not split, chew, or crush them.

Your doctor will likely prescribe a low dose of bupropion and increase it gradually.

It may take 4 weeks or more before you feel the full benefit of bupropion. Keep taking bupropion even if you feel fine. Do not stop taking bupropion without consulting your doctor. Your doctor may decrease your dose gradually.

Other uses for this medicine

Bupropion is also sometimes used to treat episodes of depression in patients with bipolar disorder (manic depressive disorder; an illness that causes episodes of depression, episodes of mania, and other abnormal moods) and to treat attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity (ADHD; more difficulty concentrating). , control actions and remain still or silent as other people of the same age). Talk to your doctor about the possible risks of using this drug for your condition.

This medicine may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

What special precautions should I follow?

Before taking bupropion,

  • Tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to bupropion, any other medications, or any of the ingredients in bupropion tablets. Ask your pharmacist or see the Medication Guide for a list of the ingredients.
  • Tell your doctor if you are taking a monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitor such as isocarboxazid (Marplan), linezolid (Zyvox), methylene blue, phenelzine (Nardil), selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam, Zelapar), and tranylcypromine (Parnate), or if you have stopped taking an MAO inhibitor in the past 14 days. Your doctor will likely tell you not to take bupropion.
  • Do not take more than one product that contains bupropion at a time. You could receive too many medications and experience serious side effects.
  • Tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: amantadine (Symmetrel); beta blockers such as atenolol (Tenormin), labetalol (Normodyne), metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol XL), nadolol (Corgard), and propranolol (Inderal); cimetidine (Tagamet); clopidogrel (Plavix); cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan, Neosar); efavirenz (Sustiva, in Atripla); insulin or oral medications for diabetes; medicines for irregular heartbeat, such as flecainide (Tambocor) and propafenone (Rythmol); medications for mental illness such as haloperidol (Haldol), risperidone (Risperdal), and thioridazine (Mellaril); medications for seizures such as carbamazepine (Tegretol), phenobarbital (Luminal, Solfoton), and phenytoin (Dilantin); levodopa (Sinemet, Larodopa); lopinavir and ritonavir (Kaletra); nelfinavir (Viracept); nicotine patch; oral steroids such as dexamethasone (Decadron, Dexone), methylprednisolone (Medrol), and prednisone (Deltasone); orphenadrine (Norflex); other antidepressants such as citalopram (Celexa), desipramine (Norpramin), fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem, in Symbyax), fluvoxamine (Luvox), imipramine (Tofranil), nortriptyline (Aventyl, Pamelor), paroxetine (Paxiline (); and sertiline ritonavir (Norvir); sedative sleeping pills; tamoxifen (Nolvadex, Soltamox); theophylline (Theobid, Theo-Dur, others); thiotepa; and ticlopidine (Ticlid). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you closely for side effects.
  • Tell your doctor if you have or have ever had seizures, anorexia nervosa (an eating disorder), or bulimia (an eating disorder). Also tell your doctor if you drink large amounts of alcohol but expect to stop drinking suddenly, or if you are taking sedatives but expect to stop suddenly. Your doctor will likely tell you not to take bupropion.
  • Tell your doctor if you drink large amounts of alcohol, use street drugs, or overuse prescription drugs, and if you have ever had a heart attack; a head injury; a tumor in your brain or spine; hypertension; diabetes; or liver, kidney, or heart disease.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding. If you become pregnant while taking bupropion, call your doctor.
  • You should know that bupropion can make you drowsy. Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how this medicine affects you.
  • Talk to your doctor about the safe use of alcoholic beverages while you are taking bupropion. Alcohol can make the side effects of bupropion worse.
  • You should know that bupropion can cause an increase in blood pressure. Your doctor can check your blood pressure before starting treatment and regularly while taking this medicine, especially if you are also using nicotine replacement therapy.
  • You should know that bupropion can cause angle-closure glaucoma (a condition in which fluid is suddenly blocked and cannot leave the eye, causing a rapid and severe increase in eye pressure that can lead to vision loss) . Talk to your doctor about having an eye exam before starting this medicine. If you have nausea, eye pain, vision changes, such as seeing colored rings around lights, and swelling or redness in or around the eye, call your doctor or seek emergency medical treatment right away.
  • You should know that some people have reported symptoms such as changes in behavior, hostility, agitation, depressed mood, and suicidal thoughts (thinking about harming or killing themselves or planning or trying to do so) while taking bupropion to stop smoking. The role of bupropion in causing these mood swings is unclear, as people who quit smoking with or without medication may experience changes in their mental health due to nicotine withdrawal. However, some of these symptoms occurred in people who were taking bupropion and continued to smoke. Some people had these symptoms when they started taking bupropion, and others developed them after several weeks of treatment or after stopping bupropion. These symptoms have occurred in people without a history of mental illness and have been worse in people who already had a mental illness. Tell your doctor if you have or have ever had depression, bipolar disorder (mood that changes from depressed to abnormally excited), schizophrenia (a mental illness that causes disturbed or unusual thoughts, loss of interest in life, and strong emotions or inappropriate), or other mental illnesses. If you experience any of the following symptoms, stop taking bupropion (Zyban) and call your doctor immediately: suicidal thoughts or actions; new or worsening depression, anxiety, or panic attacks; agitation; restlessness; angry or violent behavior; acting dangerously; mania (frantic, abnormally excited, or irritated mood); abnormal thoughts or feelings; hallucinations (seeing things or hearing voices that are not there); feel that people are against you; feeling confused; or any other sudden or unusual change in behavior. Make sure your family or caregiver knows what symptoms may be serious so they can call your doctor if you are unable to seek treatment on your own. Your doctor will monitor you closely until your symptoms improve.
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What special dietary instructions should I follow?

Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

Skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Always allow the full scheduled time to elapse between doses of bupropion. Do not take a double dose to make up for the one you forgot.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Bupropion may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

  • drowsiness
  • anxiety
  • excitement
  • difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
  • dry mouth
  • dizziness
  • headache
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • stomach pain
  • uncontrollable shaking of a part of the body
  • loss of appetite
  • weight loss
  • constipation
  • excessive sweating
  • ringing in the ears
  • changes in your sense of taste
  • frequent urination
  • sore throat

Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of the following symptoms or those listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING or SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS sections, call your doctor immediately or get emergency medical treatment:

  • seizures
  • confusion
  • hallucinating (seeing things or hearing voices that do not exist)
  • irrational fears
  • muscle or joint pain
  • rapid, pounding, or irregular heartbeat

If you experience any of the following symptoms, stop taking bupropion and call your doctor immediately or get emergency medical treatment:

  • fever
  • rash or blisters
  • itching
  • hives
  • swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
  • hoarseness
  • difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • chest pain

Bupropion can cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medicine.

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If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor can submit a report online to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).

What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?

Keep this medicine in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of the reach of children. Store at room temperature and away from light, excess heat, and moisture (not in the bathroom).

It is important to keep all medicines out of the sight and reach of children, since many containers (such as those containing weekly pills and those for eye drops, creams, patches and inhalers) are not resistant to children and small children can easily open them. To protect young children from poisoning, always close the safety caps and immediately place the medicine in a safe place, one that is upright and out of their sight and reach. http://www.upandaway.org

Unnecessary medications must be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and others cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medicine down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medications is through a drug take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage / recycling department to find out about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA Safe Drug Disposal website (http://goo.gl/c4Rm4p) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.

In case of emergency/overdose

In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at https://www.poisonhelp.org/help. If the victim collapsed, had a seizure, is having trouble breathing, or is unable to wake up, immediately call 911 for emergency services.

Symptoms of overdose may include the following:

  • seizure
  • hallucinating (seeing things or hearing voices that do not exist)
  • loss of consciousness
  • rapid or pounding heartbeat

What other information should I know?

Keep all your appointments with your doctor.

Before having any laboratory test, tell your doctor and the laboratory personnel that you are taking bupropion.

Do not let anyone else take your medicine. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.

If you are taking the extended-release tablet, you may notice something that looks like a tablet in your stool. This is only the empty tablet shell and does not mean that you have not received your full dose of medication.

It is important that you keep a written list of all prescription and over-the-counter (over-the-counter) medications you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should take this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you go into hospital. It is also important information to take with you in case of emergencies.

Brand Names

  • Aplenzin®
  • Budeprion® SR
  • Budeprion® XL
  • Buproban®
  • Forfivo® XL
  • Wellbutrin®
  • Wellbutrin® SR
  • Wellbutrin® XL
  • Zyban®

Disclaimer: DrLinex has made every effort to ensure that all information is factually accurate, comprehensive and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a licensed health care professional’s choice of knowledge and expertise. You should always consult your doctor or other health care professional before taking any medication. The information given here is subject to change and it has not been used to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions or adverse effects. The lack of warning or other information for any drug does not indicate that the combination of medicine or medication is safe, effective or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.     


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