Are you taking, or considering taking, Bupropion for depression, bipolar disorder, or to help stop smoking? This page provides information on the medication’s benefits, side effects, and other properties.
Type of Medication: Antidepressant
Variants include Wellbutrin, Wellbutrin SR, Wellbutrin XL, and Zyban.
Benefits of Bupropion (Wellbutrin) for Depression, Bipolar and Smoking Cessation
Bupropion is widely prescribed to treat depression, and under the brand name Zyban, it is prescribed to help with stopping smoking. I have also known Bupropion to be prescribed to clients suffering from Bipolar Disorder.
Side Effects of Bupropion (Wellbutrin)
Please note that the following side effects include only some of the most common and somewhat less common but do not include rarer side effects; the list is not exhaustive. Many people taking Bupropion (Wellbutrin, Zyban) experience none of these side effects. Please consult a physician about any unusual symptoms.
Some of the more common side effects of Bupropion (Wellbutrin, Zyban), depending upon dosage, include:
- hypertension (high blood pressure)
- dry mouth
- tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- abdominal pain
- myalgia (muscle pain)
- altered urinary frequency
Some of the less common side effects of Bupropion (Wellbutrin, Zyban) include:
In addition, the Wellbutrin SR product insert (linked below) includes the following warning on page 22:
At a dose of up to 300 mg each day, there is a chance that approximately 1 out of every 1000 people taking bupropion hydrochloride, the active ingredient in WELLBUTRIN SR, will have a seizure. At a dose of 400 mg each day, there is a chance that approximately 4 out of every 1000 people will have a seizure. The chance of this happening increases if you:
- have or have had a seizure disorder (for example, epilepsy)
- have or have had an eating disorder (for example, bulimia or anorexia nervosa)
- take more than the recommended amount of WELLBUTRIN SR; or
- take other medicines with the same active ingredient that is in WELLBUTRIN SR, such as ZYBAN (bupropion hydrochloride) Sustained-Release Tablets (used to help people quit smoking).
Bupropion (Wellbutrin) and Alcohol
Because alcohol consumption can alter the threshold at which Bupropion (Wellbutrin, Zyban) induces seizures, alcohol consumption should be minimized or avoided completely. However, suddenly lowering alcohol consumption can also alter the seizure threshold, so it is important to discuss alcohol consumption patterns with a physician.
Stopping Bupropion (Wellbutrin): Discontinuation Effects or Withdrawal Symptoms
Although specific discontinuation effects are not listed for this medication, it is best to consult a physician before discontinuing any prescription drug. There is, however, one specific exception indicated in the case of this medication. The Wellbutrin SR product insert (linked below) contains the following warning on page 24, regarding stopping the medication immediately should signs of an allergic reaction develop:
Stop taking WELLBUTRIN SR and contact your doctor or health care professional if you have signs of an allergic reaction such as a skin rash, or difficulty in breathing. It is not possible to predict whether a mild rash will develop into a more serious reaction. Therefore, if you experience a skin rash, hives, fever, swollen lymph glands, painful sores in the mouth or around the eyes, or swelling of lips or tongue, tell a doctor immediately, since these symptoms may be the first signs of a serious reaction.
Should You Buy Bupropion (Wellbutrin) Online?
Particularly in the United States, many individuals choose to purchase medications online, either for reasons of cost savings, privacy, or both. Both brand-name Wellbutrin and so-called ‘generic Wellbutrin’ (i.e., Bupropion without the Wellbutrin brand name) can sometimes be purchased at deep discounts (and sometimes without a prescription) in this way. Before undertaking any purchase of medications online, however — and certainly if you are contemplating doing so without a prior prescription — please consider the integrity of the supplier and the national and/or local laws which may apply where you live.
For more on the political and safety controversies about buying drugs online (including VIPPS, price-gouging, and more) see our separate site MedsDebate.com.
Information Sources and Disclaimer
The information provided here has been summarized in good faith purely for educational purposes. It is not intended in any way to replace the advice of a qualified medical professional. Please do not take any action on the basis of information contained here without consulting a physician. Unless otherwise specified, information is intended to apply only to adult use of the medication. Drug interaction precautions have not been included; please consult another source for this information.
All registered trademarks are the property of their respective owners.
- United States FDA-approved Product Insert for Wellbutrin (PDF)
- United States FDA-approved Product Insert for Zyban (PDF)
- (The publication Your Medicines — Any Questions? did not include this medication at the time of writing.)
- British National Formulary
- Medication Reference Materials
- Drug Information by Generic Name
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- Bupropion, or Amfebutamone (Wellbutrin, Zyban) for Depression, Bipolar, and Smoking Cessation
- Citalopram (Celexa, Cipramil, Seropram) for Depression
- Clonazepam (Klonopin, Rivotril) for Anxiety
- Escitalopram (Lexapro, Cipralex) for Depression or Anxiety
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- Guanfacine (Tenex, Estulic, Dipresan) for ADHD and Social Anxiety
- Medication List With Brand Names
- Nefazodone (Serzone, Dutonin) for Depression
- Olanzapine (Zyprexa) for Bipolar Disorder or Schizophrenia
- Olanzapine + Fluoxetine (Symbyax) for Bipolar Disorder
- Paroxetine (Paxil, Seroxat, Deroxat) for Depression, PTSD and More
- Quetiapine (Seroquel) for Schizophrenia and Bipolar
- Risperidone (Risperdal) for Schizophrenia and Hypomania
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- Venlafaxine (Effexor or Efexor): Benefits and Side Effects
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- Medication Action Mechanisms and Warnings
- NIMH Medications Booklet
- Research Literature and Clinical Trials of Mental Health Drugs
- Resources on Psychotropic Medications
- Drug Information by Generic Name
All clinical material on this site is peer reviewed by one or more clinical psychologists or other qualified mental health professionals. This specific article was originally published by Dr Greg Mulhauser, Managing Editor on .on and was last reviewed or updated by