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Wellbutrin Side Effects - Your Online Guide

Updated on January 16, 2013

People who take Bupropion or Wellbutrin should be well aware of the drug’s side effects before even considering to taking it. As a well-known antidepressant, it works in a way that sets itself apart from other drugs on the market. It also works well as a smoking cessation aid, and ranks as one of the most prescribed antidepressants in the United States. Many people across the globe who take antidepressants have probably taken Bupropion or Wellbutrin at some point in their lives.

The side effects caused by Bupropion, specifically Wellbutrin, are relatively well-documented. One of these side effects includes increased risk of seizures. However, this can also be a relatively common side effect that happens with the use of many other antidepressants. Less serious side effects may occur, such as headaches, constipation, nausea and vomiting in certain cases. Like all antidepressants and medications, seek the advice of a doctor to avoid any harmful Bupropion or Wellbutrin side effects.

Medical Uses Of Wellbutrin

Bupropion or Wellbutrin is a common antidepressant used to treat depression, anxiety, and to reduce the craving sensation for nicotine products.

  • For Depression – Clinical studies have proven that Wellbutrin works effectively as an antidepressant. This particular use has made it the fourth most popular antidepressant that is prescribed in the United States, according to a study by Verispan and DrugTopics.com.
  • For Anxiety – The antidepressant qualities of Wellbutrin have also made it a choice in effectively treating anxiety disorders. Higher doses, however, may agitate patients rather than cure their anxiety problems. This side effect can be avoided by simply taking the drug within the recommended dosage.
  • Smoking Cessation – Bupropion was recently found to be effective in stunting cravings for nicotine products, as well as fighting symptoms of nicotine withdrawal.
  • Obesity – A recent medical study showed that Wellbutrin is effective in treating cases of obesity. The use of Bupropion for treating obesity is still in the experimental stages, however.
  • Sexual Dysfunction – Wellbutrin is not used to treat sexual function . Sexual dysfunction is a side effect common with other antidepressants, but not with the intake of Wellbutrin.
  • Treating ADHD – While it is not recommended to prescribe Bupropion to children because of potential side effects, it has proven to be effective for adults who suffer from ADHD. It may not be as effective as other, FDA-approved treatments, however.
  • Treating Seasonal Affective Disorder – The FDA has approved Bupropion or Wellbutrin as a preventive drug to treat seasonal affective disorder, a disorder that causes seasonal bouts of depression.

Some Facts About Wellbutrin

  • The US Government has classified Bupropion as a “non-abusable” psychiatric medication. This is based on a controlled study about mixed substance abusers, conducted by Loren Miller and John Griffith.
  • Perfectly healthy volunteers took large doses of Wellbutrin at one time and reported that they felt more alert, energetic, vigorous, and elated under medication. This is a reflection of the natural stimulating properties of Bupropion.
  • Test subjects claimed that Wellbutrin did not have the same, addictive feeling that amphetamines and methylphenidates possess.
  • Researchers pointed out that caffeine may carry a higher risk when abused than Wellbutrin intake.

This does not mean, however, that Bupropion will not produce any side effects when taken excessively. Like all prescription drugs, it is designed to be taken in prescribed and regulated dosages in order to minimize the risk of harmful side effects. Consult a doctor before deciding to increase or decrease the dosage of this antidepressant.

The overdose of Wellbutrin is still very much possible, and results in significant and harmful side effects in over one third of such cases, according to a study conducted by the NSW Poisons Information Center in Australia. Excessive dosages of Bupropion are known to cause hallucinations, and in rare cases, can even bring about coma. Overdosing Wellbutrin rarely ever results in the death of a patient, however, but caution should still be exercised.

As a commercial prescription drug, it has been put through many clinical trials in order to study any potential side effects. Each of these studies occurred in a controlled environment, where people who are taking the medicine are compared to people who are not. These studies have shown the most common side effects of Wellbutrin are:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Dry mouth
  • Higher propensity for weight loss
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Tremors
  • Insomnia
  • Increased likelihood of agitation
  • Increased heart rate
  • Loss of appetite
  • Confusion
  • Blurred vision
  • High blood pressure
  • Irregularities in menstrual cycles
  • Indigestion
  • Fainting, in rare cases

-Seizures are one of the most common and feared side effects of Wellbutrin intake. Bupropion was also pulled from the market for a short time period for this very reason, but re-emerged as more clinical trials showed that the risk was fairly minimal. These clinical trials proved that the risks of seizures as a side effect are:

Highly, if not entirely dependent on the dosages taken

Common with many other commercial antidepressants that inhibit nor-epinephrine transporters

Even more likely if you are suffering from clinical depression in the first place

-Hypertension is also a side effect of Wellbutrin intake that is observed in some patients. Hypertension as a result of Bupropion consumption was observed in both patients who had a history of the ailment, as well as those without it. The frequency of this Welbutrin side effect, however, was not significantly higher than similar side effects caused by other commercial antidepressants, as well as placebo treatments.

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    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 4 years ago from Florida

      My doctor prescribed this drug to help me quit smoking. It caused me to loose sleep, and when I did sleep I had terrible dreams. I also had bad headaches. I won't take it again.

      Good Hub and good info. I voted this UP, and will share.

    • tlmcgaa70 profile image

      tlmcgaa70 4 years ago from south dakota, usa

      i wouldnt mind using it to lose weight, but i bet the risk for seizures would be even higher in my case since i already have epilepsy. great hub. voted up and more

    • abbykorinnelee profile image

      Abigayle Malchow 4 years ago from Ripon Wisconsin

      Wellbutrin made me cry all the time and I was sick to my stomach and I think it made me more anxious. I heard that it makes a lot of people have more depression. I wrote some about ADHD medications, especilly after my experience with Depakote and the rare side effects

    • tlmcgaa70 profile image

      tlmcgaa70 4 years ago from south dakota, usa

      i used to take depakote for my epilepsy. changed it though because it made me gain weight.

    • Gail Meyers profile image

      Gail Meyers 4 years ago from United States

      This is an interesting hub. I was prescribed this drug more than a decade ago for smoking cessation. It is my understanding that it was called one thing if it was precribed for depression (in which case insurance would cover it) and another if it was prescribed for smoking cessation (in which case the insurance would not cover a dime of it). I was able to take it about two days before my doctor told me to stop taking it immediately. I was driving, got a very strange feeling I am not sure I can clear articulate and felt like I was going to pass out. Voted up and interesting.

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