Wellbutrin – Uses, Side Effects, and Precautions
Wellbutrin is one of the brand names for the antidepressant bupropion. It is used for the treatment of some conditions such as depression, seasonal affective disorder, and major depressive disorder. The FDA approved it in 1989 for the treatment of dysfunction. In 1997, they accepted it for its use in helping people quit smoking.
One factor that makes bupropion stand out among other antidepressants is that it doesn’t affect your sexual function and libido as much as other depression medications. Doctors sometimes prescribe it alongside other antidepressants to help counter the sexual side effects such as lack of desire you may experience.
It has a lower chance of making a patient experience sexual dysfunction or weight gain. However, Wellbutrin can cause seizures in patients who are prone to them.
Antidepressants are classified into different classes. The commonly prescribed antidepressants are SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor) meaning they boost the serotonin levels in your brain. Wellbutrin or bupropion is in a different class. It is an NDRI (Norepinephrine-Dopamine Reuptake Inhibitor). NDRIs raise the standards of dopamine and norepinephrine (noradrenaline).
Apart from being an antidepressant, Wellbutrin also acts as an inhibitor to nicotinic receptors. Substantially, it blocks the receptors that nicotine usually binds to, making it useful to those who wish to quit smoking.
The usual recommendation is 100 to 150 mg once a day. In some case, the daily dose may be increased up to 300 mg. If the treatment is more than 150 mg, it is split into two doses. Make sure you don’t exceed the recommended maximum dose of 300 mg a day. Additionally, make sure you don’t take more than 150 mg in a single dose.
For bupropion tablets to be useful, you’ll need to swallow it whole. If you chew it, break it, or crush it, it won’t be as effective.
Several factors affect the dose you need such as your weight, other medications, and medical conditions. If your doctor recommends a different prescription from those listed above, stick to it. If you want a different dose, make sure you consult with him/her before you change the way you take the medication. You should always take the medication exactly as your doctor prescribed.
Uses of Wellbutrin
Wellbutrin has been documented to help with treating depression and also with quitting smoking.
• As a treatment for Depression
Wellbutrin is as valid as any other popular antidepressant medication. The chances of experiencing side effects such as sexual dysfunction, sleepiness, and weight gain are also minimal compared to other treatments.
It also helps with the effects of sexual dysfunction caused by previous use of some other antidepressant. Wellbutrin may take weeks, sometimes even months before you start getting any relief from your depression symptoms. There’s no specific period required for it to start working. If it seems like it’s taking a while to kick in, stick with it, and when you do start feeling better, continue making it. This way you won’t have to deal with the symptoms reoccurring.
Wellbutrin is prescribed as additional treatment occasionally to patients dealing with the major depressive disorder if they’re not responding adequately to SSRIs.
• As a means to quit smoking
Wellbutrin also helps to reduce the craving for nicotine. If you take Wellbutrin as a treatment for smoking, it typically requires 7 - 12 weeks to complete the procedure. Nevertheless, by day ten, most people have usually stopped smoking.
Wellbutrin is often described as a safer and less costly smoke cessation agent. One in five people has reported that it helped them quit smoking.
Side Effects Associated with Wellbutrin
Like every other medication, Wellbutrin gas has side effects.
Increased Heart Rate
One in a hundred people may experience heart palpitations (tachycardia). This is where your heart rate is more than 100bpm. If this happens, call a doctor immediately. Your doctor will then order an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) to check if you have any underlying heart conditions.
Increases your Anxiety Levels
According to some patients, it is noted that Wellbutrin makes them feel more anxious. Usually, a doctor will prescribe Wellbutrin to patients whose depression symptoms are ‘sluggish’ or ‘melancholic,’ as it gives them the energy boost they need. However, in some patients, it can get them too excited. If that happens, see your doctor so s/he may prescribe something new for you.
It can cause seizures
The biggest side effect of Wellbutrin is that it increases the risk of seizures in certain patients. One in a thousand people may experience seizures after taking Wellbutrin. Patients with eating disorders such as bulimia have a higher chance of having a seizure while on this medication. It also increases the risk in patients with brain tumors as well as those with a pre-existing seizure disorder. If you ever experience a seizure, please consult your doctor immediately.
Common side effects associated with antidepressants
Most antidepressants usually cause similar side effects in patients such as dry mouth, constipation, heavy sweating, muscle pain, nausea and vomiting, headache, pharyngitis, nervousness, etc.
It can cause difficulty in sleeping
This is another side effect that is fairly common with antidepressants. You may have difficulty falling asleep, and even if you do, it’s for a short period. You should always check it, so it doesn’t start interfering with your daily activities. If you’re having trouble sleeping, your doctor may decide to switch your medication.
Taking Wellbutrin may also impair your ability to operate machinery, perform dangerous tasks, and even drive. This should wear off with time, and you should be able to function without any problems.
What to do if you’re experiencing any side effects
If you’re on any form of antidepressants, Wellbutrin inclusive, then you should expect to experience some side effects. However, if they do get bothersome, severe, get worse in any way, or don’t go away on their own, then you should check with your doctor. The most common side effects are usually quite mild and tend to be temporary. If you experience any side effect that could be life-threatening, you should seek medical help immediately.
Either way, don’t stop your medication until after you’ve spoken to your doctor. Your symptoms may return or get much worse if you just ended abruptly. It could also lead to something called “discontinuation syndrome.” This is where your body experiences an array of flu-like symptoms such as muscle aches, headaches, stomach upset, and other strange sensations. Your doctor will help you if you are willing to stop taking the Wellbutrin.
Before you start taking any medication – antidepressants or otherwise – you should inform your doctor of any allergies or medical condition you might have. You should also notify your doctor if you’re breastfeeding, pregnant, or taking any other medication. Do not take Wellbutrin if you have any of the following:
- High blood pressure
The decreased liver function can cause it to build up in your body, which can lead to side effects. Speak with your doctor to know if this medication will affect your liver problem and if your liver problem will affect the effectiveness and dosage of this medication.
- Bipolar disorder
Kidney problems can cause Wellbutrin to build up in your body, which can lead to side effects. Speak with your doctor to know if this medication will affect your kidney problem and if your kidney problem will change the effectiveness and dosage of this medication.
- If you drink alcohol regularly, you should speak to your doctor before you start this medication.
- Do not take Wellbutrin if you’ve made an MAOI in the past 14 days. You should also avoid any MAOI for 14 days after you’ve been on Wellbutrin.
- Store in an area that is protected from moisture and light and is at room temperature.
- Ask your pharmacist will tell you how to dispose of expired or unneeded medication. Do not dump this medication in wastewater, either in the toilet or sink.
Antidepressants are the most prescribed class of drug that is helped to reduce the symptoms of depression, seasonal affective disorders, or mild chronic depression. The mechanism of the antidepressants is to correct the chemical imbalances of the neurotransmitters. These chemical are believed to respond to change the behaviour and mood.
How do antidepressants work?
The theory behind the antidepressants is that they increase the concentrations of neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are the links between the nerve cell and brain, so they are essential. These neurotransmitters are found in the small blisters between the cells. The neurotransmitters released by one nerve imparts to another nerve through the vessels. This transmit ion takes place in a process called “reuptake” in the process, the neurotransmitters that are not received by other nerve are taken back by the same nerve. The neurotransmitters in the brain affected by the antidepressants are dopamine, serotonin, and noradrenaline (norepinephrine).
Are the antidepressants different from one another?
In general, the antidepressants class differs in the way they affect to different neurotransmitters. On this basis, one can determine the side effects along with potential drug interaction. All antidepressants are effective; there is no evidence that one antidepressant is more effective than another. It depends on the patient, in what way will they respond to a particular antidepressant.
Conditions for which antidepressants are used:
Depression is a severe disease that requires a particular therapy to treat. Antidepressants are helpful in these cases to handle the several conditions other than depression like agitation, manic-depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, major depressive disorder, bedwetting, and social anxiety disorder, etc.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
SSRIs are the widely used and most prescribed class of antidepressants. They are called SSRIs as they mainly effect on serotonin. They are competent to treat depression by increasing the level of serotonin in the brain.
SSRIs also have some side effects and with particular drug interactions:
- Sexual dysfunction
- Weight gain or loss
- Sometimes when the SSRIs combines with any specific drug may result in death.
Serotonin and noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
SNRIs are meant to treat the significant problems of disorder, and possibly anxiety disorders, chronic neuropathic pain, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Unlike SSRIs, they also increase the level of norepinephrine along with the serotonin. These two transmitters in the brain play a vital role in changing and stabilizing the mood.
The side effects and the drug interactions of SNRIs are similar to that of SSRIs, and it also increases the blood pressure at high doses.
Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs)
As the name suggests, the antidepressants work in a three-ring in a chemical structure which is used to treat fibromyalgia, depression, and anxiety.
Tricyclic also have the following side effects:
- Nausea and vomiting
Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
MAOIs are the first antidepressants that were used before the SSRIs and SNRIs. The primary function of MAOIs is to break the neurotransmitters like serotonin. The theory MAOIs works on breaking Serotonin which reveals that there will be more circulating serotonin. This will provide more stability to the mood.
Side effects are as following:
Noradrenaline and specific serotoninergic antidepressants (NASSAs)
NASSAs are the antidepressants used to treat some personality disorders and depressions.
Side effects of these antidepressants are as following
- Weight gain
- Blurred vision
Side Effects of Antidepressants
Most often the side effects do not occur if antidepressants are taken care. If they do, they happen only in the first two weeks, and they wear off gradually.
The common side effects include anxiety, Dizziness, and nausea but most probably it depends on the type of antidepressant taken as given above.
The side effects like thinking about suicide should be taken seriously, and a doctor should be consulted about this.
Antidepressants are known to work slowly in the starting. Sometimes it takes several weeks to notice the effect of the antidepressant. Moreover, people stop using them as they say that the antidepressants are not working with their system. This may be because of these reasons; the patient has skipped the dose, the drug is not suited to them.
For this it is recommended that the patient must keep in contact with the doctor, a doctor may change the medicine as required.
Period of treatment
Antidepressants are the slow working as mentioned above; it may take about six months for a person who uses medication. The side effect is that if you stop using the antidepressants before eight months or prescribed time by a doctor the symptoms may come back.
Antidepressants are the medications used to treat the depression and other several diseases. Every antidepressant is made for different, and this is recommended to use these according to the prescriptions of doctor and do not overtake the dose of antidepressants.