Wellbutrin is an antidepressant, and its generic version is known as bupropion. It is prescribed to patients suffering from the major depressive disorder and seasonal affective disorder (SAD – which usually strikes in fall or winter).
These disorders are believed to be caused by an imbalance of neurotransmitters in the brain and the medication, therefore, restores this balance. Unlike many SSRIs, it does not only work on the level of serotonin but also re-establishes the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine.
Common side effects include dry mouth, sore throat, anxiety, irritability, hyperventilation, restlessness, shaking, trouble sleeping, nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, headache, increased perspiration, joint aches, blurred vision, unpleasant taste in mouth and dizziness. Call your doctor promptly in case these symptoms become very bothersome.
Check your blood pressure frequently as the medication may cause it to shoot up. If it’s high, contact your doctor right away.
Serious side effects include fainting, chest pain, irregular heartbeat, hearing problems, uncontrolled movement, unusual weight changes, mental or mood changes, suicidal thoughts, heightened anxiety or depression, panic attacks, impulsive behaviour (including mania), muscle pain or tenderness, hallucinations, swelling in eyes, vision changes and widened pupils.
Seek immediate medical help in case of a seizure (a rare side effect).
Symptoms of overdose include light-headedness, dizziness, fainting, irregular heartbeat and unusual tiredness.
If you have abruptly stopped using alcohol, seizure medication or sedatives, do not take Wellbutrin. This medication is also sold under the brand name of Zyban to help quit smoking. Do not take these two together.
Beware of harmful drug interactions; if you’re taken an MAO inhibitor in the past two weeks, avoid Wellbutrin. Consult your doctor before starting any other medication as it may make you more susceptible to seizures. Also, tell your doctor about any narcotic pain medications that you may be taking.
Initially, using an antidepressant may trigger suicidal thoughts in younger people. Make sure that you regularly visit your health care provider and that all your friends and family know that you’re taking this drug, so that they may be alert to any symptoms.
Wellbutrin is not suitable for people with a seizure disorder, any type of eating disorder (such as anorexia or bulimia) and for people allergic to bupropion. Moreover, it is also advisable that check with your doctor if you use this medicine and drink alcohol.
Before taking this medicine, you must inform your doctor about your medical details including a head injury, previous seizures, brain tumor, narrow-angle glaucoma, diabetes, kidney or liver diseases, bipolar disorder, other mental illnesses, heart disease (including heart attack) and high blood pressure.
Notify your doctor if you are pregnant or if you are breastfeeding (as this drug passes on to breast-milk).
This drug might affect your alertness and make you dizzy – avoid things that add up to this condition such as alcohol and marijuana. Moreover, try not to drive or use machinery while under the influence of this drug.