Wellbutrin (generic name: Bupropion) is a prescription medication used to treat depression, anxiety, panic attacks, trauma, obsessive compulsive disorder, and other conditions.
It has other off-label uses too. For example, it acts as a stimulant so it is sometimes used to treat ADHD, in particular because children and adults who suffer from ADHD are at increased risk of developing depression.
Research shows that it is as effective for the treatment of adult ADHD as methylphenidate (Ritalin).
In addition, according to research conducted by Columbia University, those in recovery from cocaine addiction who also suffer from ADHD benefitted from treatment with Wellbutrin. (See article about Wellbutrin and cocaine recovery here.)
It usually comes in 75 mg or 100mg tablets. For Adult ADHD, the starting dose is typically 37.5mg which can be increased gradually to maximum of 2-3 doses. For more information, see this helpful dosage guide.
It acts quickly and lasts for 4-6 hours. More importantly, it is helpful for ADHD patients with comorbid (co-occuring) depression, anxiety, and addiction recovery, all of which are common co-occuring conditions with ADHD.
Possible side effects are common to any stimulant medication: restlessness, insomnia, mild headache, increased heart rate, mild nausea, and sleep disturbance/insomnia. (In fact, you are probably familiar with these side effects if you have ever consumed too much caffeine.)
Also, according to studies, up to 28% of individuals taking this medication may experience weight loss as it tends to decrease appetite and increase body metabolism.
Due to the risk of withdrawal, do not quit cold turkey or abruptly stop taking this medication. If you wish to discontinue this medication, work in conjunction with your doctor who can gradually and safely reduce your dosage over time. For more information, see this important safety information about withdrawal.
According to the research, antidepressants may cause an increased risk of birth defects and other health complications in newborns. Great caution should be exercised when considering prescribing antidepressants for pregnant women. Inform your doctor if you are pregnant or are thinking of becoming pregnant. For more information, read this safety warning about antidepressants and pregnancy.
According to some studies, there may be an increased risk of suicide in those who take this antidepressant, especially among children, teens, and young adults. Report any thoughts of self-harm to your prescribing doctor right away, and report an increase in depressive symptoms. For more information, read this important warning regarding antidepressants and suicide.
Alcohol may increase the risk of a seizure while you are taking this medicine. If you drink alcohol regularly, talk with your doctor before changing the amount you drink. This medication can cause seizures in people who drink a lot of alcohol and then suddenly quit drinking when they start using the medication.
No less important, alcohol is a depressant drug that should not be consumed by those who already suffer from clinical depression, as alcohol worsens the symptoms of depression. For more information, read this important warning about antidepressants and alcohol.
Do not take Bupropion if you have taken a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) such as isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), rasagiline (Azilect), selegiline (Eldepryl), or tranylcypromine (Parnate) in the last 14 days.
You should not take Wellbutrin if you have: epilepsy or a seizure disorder, an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia, if you are using a second form of bupropion, if you have suddenly stopped using alcohol or sedatives (such as Valium).
May cause seizures in people with certain medical conditions or when using certain drugs. Tell your doctor about all of your medical conditions and the drugs you use.
If you have any of these other conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely take this drug: heart disease, high blood pressure, history of heart attack; a history of head injury, seizures, or brain or spinal cord tumor, kidney disease, liver disease (especially cirrhosis).
Avoid using Bupropion to treat more than one condition at a time. If you take Bupropion for depression, do not also take Zyban to quit smoking. Too much of this medicine can increase your risk of a seizure.
Bupropion can cause side effects that may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be awake and alert.
It is not recommended for use in children since the side effects of this medication in children under 18 are not fully known.