Wellbutrin Side Effects And Risks: How To Manage Them?

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Have you ever considered the less-known details of Wellbutrin, an antidepressant that is widely administered? There is more beneath the surface than mood and energy boost. Like many antidepressants, this drug also has various adverse effects. It is necessary to know about these side effects, especially if you are planning to take this drug.

In this article, I will discuss the side effects of Wellbutrin, which are usually eclipsed by its positive sides. I aim to inform you about your health decisions and whether this drug is suitable for you.

When To Take Wellbutrin? Depression Treatment

Wellbutrin side effects

Wellbutrin, or bupropion, is a drug that is used by people suffering from depression and seasonal affective disorder. It’s slightly different from the other depression drugs due to its effect on two particular neurotransmitters that improve mood and energy.

However, like any drug, Wellbutrin can cause some side effects. People can experience headaches, lose weight, or suffer from insomnia. Second, one should take it exactly as the doctor says since taking more of it can be dangerous.

It’s also a good thing that Wellbutrin generally does not cause sexual side effects, which are common among other depression medications. This is why it has become so popular among those people suffering from depression.

The optimal time to take Wellbutrin depends on the form. For Wellbutrin XL, it should be taken in the morning. Both Wellbutrin IR and Wellbutrin SR should be taken two or three times a day, with doses spaced out by at least 6 and 8 hours respectively.

Uses of Wellbutrin

Wellbutrin treats depression, and it can be taken once a day in the morning. If it upsets your stomach, try taking it with food.

This medicine works on brain chemicals to make you feel better. Your doctor will tell you how much to take. They start with a small amount and may increase it. It’s important not to change the dose by yourself.

You shouldn’t stop taking Wellbutrin suddenly. Your doctor will guide you on how to stop safely. It can take a few weeks to start feeling the full effect.

Benefits of Wellbutrin

Fights Depression

Wellbutrin is a medication used to treat major depressive disorder. It works by modifying specific neurotransmitters in the brain that may enhance mood.

Boosts Your Mood

Wellbutrin is mostly used for treating those individuals who feel sad or depressed. It impacts the chemicals in the brain to elevate your mood.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

This drug is useful in treating SAD, otherwise known as seasonal affective disorder. It occurs during the winter or a particular time of year. The best time to begin the medication is in autumn. It should be taken throughout winter and gradually discontinued during early spring. 

Increases Energy Levels

Most Wellbutrin takers seem to become energetic. It can help in performing everyday tasks.

Helps with Focus

If you have difficulties focusing, the drug must be prescribed. It can help in concentrating on the tasks.

Less Likely to Cause Weight Gain

Compared to some other mood drugs, Wellbutrin doesn’t typically lead to weight gain. Many people enjoy this.

Can Help Stop Smoking

An interesting fact about Wellbutrin is that it can also be used to quit smoking. It minimizes the cravings and withdrawal effects. 

Fewer Sexual Side Effects

Some depression medications can interfere with your sex life. However, this is less likely with Wellbutrin.

Wellbutrin can be beneficial. However, it is unsuitable for everyone. It is important to consult a physician to see if it is a good option.

Dosage of Wellbutrin

Starting Dosage of Wellbutrin

Wellbutrin is a medication for depression and SAD. Initially, patients often start with a lower dose. This is usually between 150 to 200 mg per day. The form of the medication varies. It can be extended-release tablets like Aplenzin or Wellbutrin XL or standard tablets.

Dose Adjustments

The dose may need adjustments. This depends on how the patient responds and tolerates the medication. For extended-release forms, the daily dose usually doesn‘t go beyond 450 mg. In the case of sustained-release tablets, it might be up to 200 mg, taken twice a day.

Special Instructions

It is important to take the tablets whole. They should not be crushed or chewed. This ensures the proper release of the medication. Patients with liver or kidney issues might need adjustments to their doses.

Taking Wellbutrin

The medication can be taken with or without food. This depends on the patient’s comfort, especially if nausea is an issue.

Precautions of Wellbutrin

  • Follow the doctor’s guidance: Take Wellbutrin as prescribed by your doctor. Please do not increase the dosage or use it for longer than prescribed.
  • Swallow Whole: Do not crush or break the tablets. Swallow them whole.
  • Gradual Dose Changes: The doctor may start with a small dose to minimize the side effects. Don’t adjust the dose yourself.
  • Avoid Sudden Stops: Stop using Wellbutrin only if your doctor advises you to do so. 
  • Monitor Blood Pressure: Beware of hypertension, however, especially with nicotine products. You may have to get your blood pressure measured.
  • Be Aware of Drug Tests: Drug test results could be impacted by Wellbutrin. Let the lab know if you’re on it. 
  • Discuss Medications: Mention all the medications and supplements you take to prevent interactions.
  • Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: Discuss the use of Wellbutrin in pregnancy and breastfeeding with your physician.
  • Seizure Risk: If you have had seizures before, take caution since Wellbutrin can increase the likelihood.

Wellbutrin Side Effects

Wellbutrin (bupropion) is an antidepressant that can have various side effects. Common side effects include insomnia, headache, dry mouth, nausea, dizziness, and weight loss. Some people may experience increased anxiety or irritability. Seizures are a rare but serious side effect. Contact your healthcare provider if you experience severe or persistent side effects.

Common Wellbutrin side effects

  • Dry Mouth: Drink more water to help.
  • Headache: This usually gets better over time.
  • Nausea: Eating can help.
  • Insomnia: Try to take it on time in the day.
  • Increased Heart Rate: Some people might feel their heart beat faster.

Less Common Wellbutrin Side Effects

  • Weight Loss: You might not feel as hungry.
  • Sweating: You might sweat more, even when it’s not hot.
  • Constipation: Changing what you eat can help.
  • Tremors: You might shake a bit, but it’s usually not for long.

Serious Wellbutrin Side Effects

  • Seizures: These are rare but more likely with high doses.
  • Mood Changes: Tell your doctor about big changes in your feelings.
  • Allergic Reactions: These are rare but need quick medical help.

See your doctor regularly to check on side effects.

How Long Until Wellbutrin Side Effects Go Away?

The duration for Wellbutrin (bupropion) side effects to diminish can vary from person to person. Generally, many side effects may improve within the first few weeks as the body adjusts to the medication. Common side effects, such as insomnia, headache, and nausea, often subside during this initial period.

However, individual responses vary, and some people may experience side effects for a more extended period. If you're concerned about the duration or severity of side effects, it's essential to discuss your symptoms with your healthcare provider.

They can provide guidance based on your specific situation and may adjust the dosage or recommend other interventions to manage side effects. Never stop taking Wellbutrin abruptly without consulting your healthcare provider, as discontinuation should be done under medical supervision to minimize potential withdrawal symptoms. If you experience severe or persistent side effects, contact your healthcare provider promptly for advice.

Sum Up

Wellbutrin is an efficient antidepressant that has advantages such as mood stability and more energy. Nevertheless, one should remember its side effects and follow the prescribed doses set by their doctor. 

Before starting this drug, check with your physician to see if it suits you. However, it would help if you remembered that managing side effects and following medical advice are crucial. Keep abreast of the situation and maintain good health.

FAQs

1. Who should not use Wellbutrin?

People with seizure disorders, eating disorders, or severe head injuries should avoid Wellbutrin. It’s also not recommended for those currently on MAOIs.

2. How soon after taking Wellbutrin do you feel better? 

Improvements can be noticed within 1-2 weeks, but full effects may take up to 6 weeks. 

3. What foods to avoid while taking Wellbutrin? 

Avoid alcohol and caffeine-heavy foods, as they can increase Wellbutrin’s side effects. 

4. How long do side effects last? 

Side effects usually last a few weeks, diminishing as your body adjusts to the medication.

5. Is Wellbutrin safe to take?

Wellbutrin is safe for most adults when taken as prescribed. It’s important to discuss risks with your doctor.

References

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Dr. David G Kiely is a distinguished Medical Reviewer and former General Medicine Consultant with a wealth of experience in the field. Dr. Kiely's notable career as a General Medicine Consultant highlights his significant contributions to the medical field.

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