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Wellbutrin

What are the Uses?

Bupropion Hydrochloride, or Wellbutrin, is a relatively new medication that is used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Depression

Wellbutrin is also prescribed to help people quit smoking. In this version, it is called Zyban. Zyban and Wellbutrin are the same exact medication, Bupropion Hydrochloride, but are marketed differently. The doses used are different also because Wellbutrin is used to treat depression and ADHD and Zyban is used for smoking cessation.

This medication works by increasing the levels of the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain and thereby relieving the symptoms of depression.

Recommended Dosage: At the beginning, your dose will probably be 200 milligrams per day, taken as 100 milligrams 2 times a day. After at least 3 days at this dose, your doctor may increase the dosage to 300 milligrams per day, taken as 100 milligrams 3 times a day, with at least 6 hours between doses. This is the usual adult dose. The maximum recommended dosage is 450 milligrams per day taken in doses of no more than 150 milligrams each.

When Will My Medication Start to Work?

Usually, you should start feeling the effects of Wellbutrin within one to four weeks. It may take longer to experience the full effects of Wellbutrin, which depends on dosage and varies from person to person.

Most Important Fact About This Drug

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.

Any Other Important Information?

If you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or breastfeeding, discuss the potential risks of this or any medication with your doctor.

If you take Wellbutrin, you may be more vulnerable to seizures if your dosage is too high, have suffered brain damage, or have had seizures before. In recent studies, 28% of patients exhibited weight loss of 5 lb. or more (Rybaki & Long, 1998). Caution should be taken if weight loss is a major factor in your depressive illness.

Also, many patients experience a period of increased restlessness, especially when first taking the drug. This may take the form of agitation, insomnia, and anxiety.

What are the Side Effects?

Remember that only some people will experience side effects and that no one experiences side effects in exactly the same way. If you experience any side effects, contact your doctor or clinician right away and continue taking your medication. The following list may not contain all of the side effects associated with this medication.

Most common side effects: Weight loss, insomnia, nervousness

Infrequent side effects: Agitation, constipation, dry mouth, headache, nausea, increased libido, skin problems, tremors, excessive sweating

Rare side effects: Risks hypomania, seizures, tinnitus, white blood cell decrease

Symptoms of Wellbutrin overdose may include: Hallucinations, heart failure, loss of consciousness, rapid heartbeat, seizures

Symptoms of Wellbutrin SR overdose may include: Blurred vision, confusion, jitteriness, lethargy, light-headedness, nausea, seizures, vomiting

Are there any Drug Interactions? Remember, always follow your physician's recommendations on how to take your medication. Even if you are taking one of the following substances, continue taking your medication as prescribed and consult your physician. Also, if you are taking any herbal remedies, vitamins, and/or over-the-counter medications, be sure to tell your physician. The following section offers some, but not necessarily all, of the possible drug interactions.

Avoid excessive use of alcohol; it can increase the risk of seizures. Do not use Wellbutrin and marijuana; there have been cases of induced psychotic behavior. Adverse interactions have been found with other medications such as MAO inhibitors, Levadopa, major tranquilizers such as thorazine, other antidepressants, tagamet, tegretol, and phenobarbital.