Everything you want to know about Wellbutrin,
Posted 23 June 2004 - 04:42 AM
Classified as a dopamine-reuptake blocking compound, Wellbutrin has a chemical structure unrelated to any other antidepressant medication.
Unlike some of the other recently developed antidepressants (i.e., Celexa, Paxil, Prozac, and Zoloft) that target the brain chemical serotonin, Wellbutrin acts on the brain chemicals dopamine and norepinephrine.
Because of its unique makeup, Wellbutrin also has different side effects, and it may work for individuals who have not had success with other antidepressants.
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What is Wellbutrin?
Bupropion (the generic name of Wellbutrin) is an antidepressant that is sometimes used to treat ADHD. It is chemically unrelated to tricyclic, tetracyclic, selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor, or other known antidepressant agents.
This same medication is also sold as Zyban and used for smoking cessation.
How is Wellbutrin taken?
Tablets are taken orally. The usual adult dose is 300 mg/day, given three times daily. Dosing should begin at 200 mg/day given as 100 mg twice daily. Wellbutrin is also available in a sustained release tablet.
Increases in dose should not exceed 100 mg/day in a 3-day period. No single dose of bupropion HCl should exceed 150 mg. Bupropion HCl should be administered three times daily, preferably with at least 6 hours between successive doses.
As with other antidepressants, the full antidepressant effect of Wellbutrin may not be evident until 4 weeks of treatment or longer.
Why would someone take Wellbutrin instead of a stimulant medication like Ritalin or Adderall?
Some people cannot tolerate stimulant medications. Patients with high blood pressure or heart problems need to be especially careful when using Ritalin or Adderall. Wellbutrin avoids these problems. A study comparing Ritalin with Wellbutrin found that they were equally effective.
For whom is this medication intended?
Wellbutrin has been approved for use in patients age 18 years and older. (See compare with approved ages for other medications).
Who should avoid this medication?
Patients with a seizure disorder should not use Wellbutrin
Patients who are already taking Zyban should not take Wellbutrin as it will result in overdose.
Patients with a current or prior diagnosis of bulimia or anorexia nervosa because of a higher incidence of seizures noted in such patients treated for bulimia with bupropion HCl immediate-relase formulation.
Patients who are taking a monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitor should not use this medication while taking the MAO or within 14 days following the discontinuation of an MAO inhibitor.
Any patient who has shown an allergic response to bupropion or the other ingredients that make up bupropion HCl.
Wellbutrin is not recommended for women who are pregnant.
What are the side effects of Wellbutrin?
The most common side effects are difficulty urinating; constipation; decrease in appetite; dizziness; dryness of mouth; increased sweating; nausea or vomiting; tremors. Other side effects may also occur.
Can I drink alcohol while I am taking Wellbutrin?
It is best not to drink alcohol at all or to drink very little while taking Wellbutrin.
Does Wellbutrin require any special monitoring or lab work?
Compared to the other non-stimulant drugs for ADHD, monitoring is minimal. No blood tests are necessary. Report any adverse reations to your doctor.
How can I decide if Wellbutrin is the right medication for my child?
Wellbutrin is not approved for patients under the age of 18. However, it has been used by some doctors to treat children with ADHD. Ask your doctor
Side Effects of Wellbutrin
Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, inform your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking Wellbutrin.
Seizures are perhaps the most worrisome side effect. Wellbutrin was temporarily removed from the market after its initial release due to the occurrence of seizures in some patients.
Although Wellbutrin occasionally causes weight gain, a more common effect is weight loss: Some 28 percent of people who take this medication lose 5 pounds or more. If depression has already caused you to lose weight, and if further weight loss would be detrimental to your health, Wellbutrin may not be the best antidepressant for you.
More common side effects may include:
Abdominal pain (Wellbutrin SR),
anxiety (Wellbutrin SR),
loss of appetite (Wellbutrin SR),
palpitations (Wellbutrin SR),
sore throat (Wellbutrin SR),
Other side effects may include:
(Note: Some of these S/E are rare)
allergic reactions (severe),
blisters in the mouth and eyes (Stevens-Johnson syndrome),
complete or almost complete loss of movement,
episodes of over-activity,
elation, or irritability,
gum irritation and inflammation,
hair color changes,
incoordination and clumsiness,
ringing in the ears,
weight gain or loss
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