Other side effects and withdrawal adverse effects are featured below along with some of the most commonly asked questions about the antidepressant Wellbutrin.
Please note that with all antidepressants, gradually stopping the drug is the safest approach and should be done under careful monitoring and guidance. Some withdrawal effects may present unexpectedly, even after some time has passed since stopping the drug.
This is especially pertinent where bupropion has been used in addition to other medications in the treatment of depression or other types of disorders. Many medications and substances, including alcohol, can interact negatively with bupropion and such combinations require exact guidance under medical supervision, and require discussion with your primary doctor to avoid these risks.
Wellbutrin (bupropion) is used for many purposes but was initially FDA-approved for these uses primarily:
Off-label uses have developed in the treatments of:
Brand names in the US include Aplenzin, Buproban, ForfivoXL, Wellbutrin SR, Wellbutrin XL, Zyban, Zyban Advantage Pack and Budeprion XL. There are dozens of other brand names for other countries.
Wellbutrin and its various versions have been shown to be particularly subject to abuse, and there are substantial risks for recreational users, which has become a growing trend.
On the streets in Toronto, the drug is commonly referred to as “poor man`s cocaine“ for its cocaine-like stimulant effects.
Four out of every thousand people taking less than 450 mg daily experience seizures; over 450 mg daily, the risk increases seven fold. Also important to note is that 68% to 77% of bupropion-induced seizures occur within the first 4 hours of taking the drug. The higher the dose, the more likely a seizure is to occur, and some seizures can be fatal. (1)
Apart from the risk of seizure, other side effects of taking Wellbutrin can include:
When used as a meth-like or cocaine-like stimulant, the drug is snorted or injected, releasing the drug into the blood stream nearly instantly, causing such effects as:
These effects can lead to repeated use and addiction.
Wellbutrin (bupropion) withdrawal symptoms can be mild, moderate, or severe enough to require hospitalization. While some people do not experience more than mild discomforts, be cautious when stopping this medication. Gradually tapering can help to avoid life-threatening or health compromising risks.
Here are some of the withdrawal symptoms associated with Wellbutrin (bupropion) or Zyban:
Warning: Withdrawal symptoms may not appear until some days have passed since the last dose was taken. Monitor symptoms even well beyond the cessation period is complete. (1)
Discontinuing Wellbutrin can be managed safely and though it can carry some risks and discomfort, discussing cessation with your prescribing doctor is recommended beforehand.
The safest recommendation is to seek medical guidance for cessation, preferably in an inpatient setting where physical as well as psychological factors can be addressed for successful recovery in a supportive atmosphere.
Following are some of the most frequently asked questions regarding Wellbutrin (bupropion), Zyban, etc., and which data applies equally to all other versions of the drug.
While Wellbutrin (bupropion) has not been considered habit-forming per se, nonetheless many persons become inadvertently dependent on the substance, or become addicted when used in ways that cause similar effects to cocaine, crack cocaine, or methamphetamines.
Whether or not the drug was used as prescribed, i.e., to treat PTSD or other disorders, or whether it became a drug of choice for abuse, the risks, barriers and difficulties of abruptly stopping the drug are well-documented, as cited earlier.
Assistance and medically guided gradual tapering is recommended to avoid the potential discomforts and risks of cessation when done on one’s own, and especially if attempted all at once which can be catastrophic. Never abruptly stop an antidepressant.
The safest and most stress-free way to discontinue Wellbutrin is to enroll in an inpatient facility which is equipped to carefully monitor and avoid severe withdrawal symptoms. Programs that offer methods to safely treat underlying symptoms are also preferred, such as drug-free methods of quitting smoking, or alleviating mental disorders such a depression or anxiety.
Alternative to Meds Center offers a dual-diagnosis set of protocols well-equipped to address both sides of addiction or drug dependence, as well as discovering and treating the root cause of such difficulties without drugs. Please contact us for more information on the programs we offer at the Alternative to Meds Center which have been designed to successfully treat dependence or addiction, and also to find solutions for the underlying symptoms that may have led to addiction or dependence on antidepressant drugs in the first place.
Dr. Motl is currently certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in Psychiatry, and Board eligible in Neurology and licensed in the state of Arizona. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in biology and minors in chemistry and philosophy. He graduated from Creighton University School of Medicine with a Doctor of Medicine. Dr. Motl has studied Medical Acupuncture at the Colorado School of Traditional Chinese Medicine and at U.C.L.A.