Wellbutrin (Buproprion)

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What Is Wellbutrin (Buproprion)?

Wellbutrin is the brand name for buproprion – an antidepressant used in the treatment of depression, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), and nicotine addiction (Zyban). Some physicians may also use buproprion along with other medications in the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD), or as a mood stabilizing agent for people with bipolar disorder. It is important you take buproprion only as prescribed by your physician.

Important Facts About Wellbutrin (Buproprion)

Though buproprion is generally well-tolerated, there are several contraindications to taking this medication:

  • People with seizure disorders should not take buproprion.
  • Do not take buproprion if you have an eating disorder.
  • If you have taken an MAO inhibitor within the past two weeks, you should not take buproprion, as it could cause a dangerous drug reaction.
  • Do not take buproprion if you are withdrawing from alcohol after drinking heavily.
  • If you are taking sedatives or seizure medication, do not take this medication.
  • Breast-feeing mothers or pregnant women who plan to breast-feed should not take buproprion, as it can be passed through the breast milk and may negatively affect your baby.

Children, teens, and young adults are more likely than adults to have suicidal thoughts or actions while taking an antidepressant. It is therefore important to communicate with your physician about any unusual behaviors, thoughts, or actions that occur while taking buproprion. Specifically, if you have sleep disturbances, unusual irritability, impulsivity, hyperactivity, extreme feelings of hostility, agitation, rare or extreme moodiness, or thoughts of suicide, tell your doctor right away. Your medication or dosage may need to be monitored more carefully.

Speak to your doctor about the cost/benefit of taking buproprion if you have ever experienced:

  • An episode of bipolar disorder
  • High blood pressure, cardiac problems, heart disease, or a heart attack
  • Cirrhosis of the liver, or any type of liver or kidney disease
  • Spinal cord injury or tumor
  • Severe head injury, brain tumor, or epileptic seizures

Though it is unknown at this time if buproprion can cause damage to an embryo or fetus, the medication is listed as a category “C” by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and should be taken while pregnant only after careful consultation with your doctor.

If you are taking Zycam for smoking cessation, do not take buproprion for depression or another condition.

Possible Drug Interactions with Wellbutrin (Buproprion)

Be sure to discuss any and all drugs you are taking with your doctor prior to taking buproprion, as many different types of prescription and over-the-counter drugs or vitamins may interact negatively with this medication. Some drugs that can interact with buproprion include:

  • some medications for HIV or AIDS (examples include: tirofiban, ticlopidine, and clopidogrel)
  • some seizure medications (examples include: phenobarbital, phenytoin, and carbamopzepin
  • Blood pressure and heart medication (examples include: propafenone, flecainide, propranolol, antenolol, metroprolol, and others)

Certain medications combined with buproprion may increase your risk of having seizures. These include:

  • Antibiotics, such as ciprofloxacine, cefdinir, cephalexine, amoxicillin, penicillin, or others
  • Psychotropic medications, including other types of antidepressants
  • Hormone replacement drugs or birth control pills
  • Antihistamines, with the exception of non-drowsy types
  • Inhalers, bronchodilators, and other types of asthma medication
  • Medications for vertigo or motion sickness, nausea medication
  • Stimulants, including medications for ADHD or diet pills
  • Oral or injected medication for diabetes, insulin
  • Medication for irritable bowel syndrome, esophagitis or ulcers
  • Medications for malaria
  • Medication for Parkinson’s disease, prolactinoma, or restless leg syndrome
  • Any narcotic pain medication
  • Oral or injected steroid medication, including prednisone or others
  • Theophylline
  • Lidocain, Novocain, or any numbing medication
  • Illegal drugs, including cocaine, amphetamine, heroin, or others

Avoid drinking alcohol while taking buproprion, as it can increase your risk of having a seizure. DO NOT take buproprion while you are withdrawing from alcohol or if you are a frequent drinker, as doing so may contribute to your risk of seizures.

Potential Side Effects of Wellbutrin (Buproprion)

If you experience any signs of an allergic reaction to buproprion, including facial, throat, lips or tongue swelling, itchy skin or hives or problems breathing, call 9-1-1 immediately.

Call your doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • rapid heartbeat
  • glandular swelling
  • malaise, joint pain
  • severe itching
  • seizure, disorientation, visual or auditory hallucinations, or disturbing or intrusive thoughts or behaviors
  • eye pain, or pain with or without a severe rash or discoloration on your body, especially on or near the face, mouth, throat, or upper body.

Mention other side effects to your physician, including:

  • sexual side effects
  • persistent dry mouth
  • stomach discomfort, nausea, or pain
  • ear-ringing, headaches, vertigo, or dizziness
  • an increase in frequency of urination, excessive sweating, slight skin rash or mild itching
  • unusual weight gain or loss; dramatic change in appetite

Other side effects have been reported by patients while on buproprion. Speak to your physician for more information about this medication, and report any unusual side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Do not operate heavy machinery or drive after taking buproprion until you know how it will affect you. Taking buproprion can impair your ability to make quick or appropriate decisions.

Overdosing on Wellbutrin (Buproprion)

Call 9-1-1 or the Poison Help Line at 1-800-222-1222 if you believe you may have accidentally overdosed on buproprion or if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms: hallucinations, hyperventilation, difficulty with or shallow breathing, muscle stiffness, dizziness, fainting, or irregular heartbeat. An overdose of this medication may be fatal.

Wellbutrin (Buproprion) and Drug Screenings

Taking buproprion can lead to a false positive in drug testing. Be sure to notify lab technicians that you are taking buproprion prior to providing a drug screening urine sample.

Taking and Storing Your Wellbutrin (Buproprion)

Take this medication as prescribed. Swallow the pill whole, and do not crush or divide the capsule. Do not take more or less than the dosage indicated on the bottle, as it may increase the risk of having a seizure. Keep your buproprion away from moisture or extreme heat, and store it at room temperature. If you miss a dose, take your buproprion when you remember. If it is almost time for your next scheduled dose, wait to take this medication. Do not double up on your dose, and never take buproprion if you are uncertain about when you took it last. An overdose of buproprion can be fatal.

Buproprion and Smoking Cessation

If you are taking Zyban for smoking cessation, speak to your physician about setting a “quit date” during your second week of medication therapy. If you are unable to quit smoking after more than seven weeks on buproprion, consult your doctor about alternative therapies, including a nicotine patch or nicotine gum. Do not smoke if you are using a nicotine product along with buproprion for smoking cessation. Nicotine overdose can be harmful while on buproprion.

Stopping Wellbutrin (Buproprion)

When you are ready to stop using buproprion, speak to your physician about tapering off the medication. Do not quit suddenly, as doing so can lead to uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.

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