Wellbutrin (bupropion) is an antidepressant medication. It works in the brain to treat depression.
Wellbutrin is used to treat major depressive disorder and seasonal affective disorder. At least one brand of bupropion (Zyban) is used to help people stop smoking by reducing cravings and other withdrawal effects.
Wellbutrin may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.
Take Wellbutrin exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label.
Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results.
Wellbutrin can be taken with or without food.
Do not crush, chew, or break an extended-release tablet. Swallow it whole. Breaking the pill may cause too much of the drug to be released at one time, which could increase side effects including seizures.
Do not stop taking Wellbutrin without first talking to your doctor. You may have unpleasant side effects if you stop taking this medication suddenly.
If you use the Wellbutrin extended-release tablet, the tablet shell may pass into your stools (bowel movements). This is normal and does not mean that you are not receiving enough of the medicine.
Wellbutrin can cause you to have a false positive drug screening test. If you provide a urine sample for drug screening, tell the laboratory staff that you are taking bupropion.
Store Wellbutrin at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
Do not take Wellbutrin if you
- have or had a seizure disorder or epilepsy.
- are taking ZYBAN® (used to help people stop smoking) or any other medicines that contain bupropion hydrochloride.
- drink a lot of alcohol and abruptly stop drinking, or use medicines called sedatives (these make you sleepy) or benzodiazepines and you stop using them all of a sudden.
- have taken within the last 14 days medicine for depression called a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI), such as NARDIL®*(phenelzine sulfate), PARNATE® (tranylcypromine sulfate), or MARPLAN®*(isocarboxazid).
- have or had an eating disorder such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia.
- are allergic to the active ingredient in Wellbutrin SR, bupropion, or to any of the inactive ingredients.
Tell your doctor if you have ever had depression, suicidal thoughts or actions, or other mental health problems.
Tell your doctor about your other medical conditions including if you:
- are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if Wellbutrin SR can harm your unborn baby.
- are breastfeeding. Wellbutrin passes through your milk. It is not known if Wellbutrin can harm your baby.
- have liver problems, especially cirrhosis of the liver.
- have kidney problems.
- have an eating disorder such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia.
- have had a head injury.
- have had a seizure (convulsion, fit).
- have a tumor in your nervous system (brain or spine).
- have had a heart attack, heart problems, or high blood pressure.
- are a diabetic taking insulin or other medicines to control your blood sugar.
- drink a lot of alcohol.
- abuse prescription medicines or street drugs.
- Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Many medicines increase your chances of having seizures or other serious side effects if you take them while you are using Wellbutrin.
Important safety information:
- Wellbutrin may cause drowsiness, dizziness, or blurred vision. These effects may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use Wellbutrin with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
- Check with your doctor before you drink alcohol or use medicines that may cause drowsiness (eg, sleep aids, muscle relaxers) while you are taking Wellbutrin; it may add to their effects. Ask your pharmacist if you have questions about which medicines may cause drowsiness.
- Wellbutrin may increase your risk of seizures. Your risk may be greater if you also have certain medical conditions, use certain medicines, or if you use a lot of alcohol. Talk to your doctor to see if you may have a greater risk of seizures while taking Wellbutrin.
- If you already drink alcohol or use sedatives, do not suddenly stop them without first checking with your doctor. Suddenly stopping them may increase your seizure risk.
- Do not take decongestants (eg, pseudoephedrine), stimulants, or diet pills while you are taking Wellbutrin without first checking with your doctor. They may increase your risk of seizures.
- The risk of seizures may be greater if you take Wellbutrin in high doses or for a long time. Do NOT take more than the recommended dose, change your dose, or use Wellbutrin for longer than prescribed without checking with your doctor.
- Children, teenagers, and young adults who take Wellbutrin may be at increased risk for suicidal thoughts or actions. Watch all patients who take Wellbutrin closely. Contact the doctor at once if new, worsened, or sudden symptoms such as depressed mood; anxious, restless, or irritable behavior; panic attacks; or any unusual change in mood or behavior occur. Contact the doctor right away if any signs of suicidal thoughts or actions occur.
- If you have trouble sleeping, you may be taking your dose too close to bedtime. Talk with your doctor about changing your dosing schedule.
- Wellbutrin contains the same ingredients as Zyban, a medicine used to help stop smoking, and Aplenzin, another medication used to treat depression. Do not take Wellbutrin if you are also taking Zyban or Aplenzin. Discuss any questions or concerns with your doctor.
- Use Wellbutrin with caution in the elderly; they may be more sensitive to its effects.
- Wellbutrin should be used with extreme caution in children; safety and effectiveness in children have not been confirmed.
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: If you become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using Wellbutrin while you are pregnant. Wellbutrin is found in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking Wellbutrin.
All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects.
Check with your doctor if any of these most common side effects persist or become bothersome:
Constipation; dizziness; drowsiness; dry mouth; flushing; headache; increased sweating; increased urination; loss of appetite; nausea; nervousness; restlessness; ringing in the ears; stomach pain; taste changes; trouble sleeping; vomiting; weakness; weight changes.
Seek medical attention right away if any of these severe side effects occur:
Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue, unusual hoarseness); chest pain; confusion; dark urine; delusions; fainting; fast or irregular heartbeat; fever, chills, or sore throat; hallucinations; hearing problems or ringing in the ears; menstrual changes; muscle pain; new or worsening mental or mood changes (eg, concentration problems, depression, panic attacks, aggressiveness, agitation, anxiety, impulsiveness, irritability, hostility, exaggerated feeling of well-being, inability to sit still); red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin; seizures; severe headache or dizziness; severe or persistent joint or muscle pain; severe or persistent nausea, vomiting, or stomach pain; severe or persistent nervousness, restlessness, or trouble sleeping; shortness of breath; suicidal thoughts or attempts; tremor; unusual swelling; vision changes; yellowing of the skin or eyes.
This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider.
You may also like to read "First Week of Therapy with Bupropion" Review (active ingredient of wellbutrin is Bupropion).