Today’s Medication Monday takes a look at the antidepressant Wellbutrin (Bupropion).
Unlike some of the other antidepressants that this series has covered, Wellbutrin is chemically distinct from selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), instead belonging to a group of drugs known as aminoketones. However, like SSRIs, Wellbutrin can be used to improve mood, treating both major depressive disorder and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). It can also be used to help people quit smoking.
Wellbutrin can cause stomach problems, in which case individuals can take with it food. It can also cause trouble sleeping, so it shouldn’t be taken just before going to sleep. Other side effects can include nausea, vomiting, dry mouth, headache, constipation, increased sweating, joint aches, sore throat, blurred vision, a strange taste in the mouth, diarrhea, or dizziness. It can also cause a rise in blood pressure, so be sure your doctors know if you have a history of high blood pressure or heart disease. This medication can also cause an increase in anxiety.
Additionally, this medication shouldn’t be used with MAO inhibitors. It may have other interactions or may inhibit the ability of certain diagnostic tests to be performed, such as screening for Parkinson’s Disease.
Interestingly, it can also be used as an off-label medication to treat bipolar disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and sexual dysfunction due to SSRI antidepressants. However, its effectiveness in treating these conditions have not been assessed by the FDA, hence why those treatments are considered ‘off label.’
At the end of the day, finding that medication that is right for you and your condition is important. Medication Monday isn’t intended to be medical advice. Rather this series is meant to offer a brief introduction to the various mental health medications out there, and hopefully reduce the stigma associated with mental health medications. If you have questions about Wellbutrin, or any of the medications discussed in this series, I suggest you talk to your doctor or a mental health professional.
And as always, thanks for reading.
Sources: WebMD: Wellbutrin and the National Institute of Mental Illness (NAMI): Wellbutrin pages.