For people taking bupropion (Wellbutrin) for depression:
A small number of children, teenagers, and young adults (up to 24 years of age) who took antidepressants ('mood elevators') such as bupropion during clinical studies became suicidal (thinking about harming or killing oneself or planning or trying to do so). Children, teenagers, and young adults who take antidepressants to treat depression or other mental illnesses may be more likely to become suicidal than children, teenagers, and young adults who do not take antidepressants to treat these conditions. This risk should be considered and compared with the potential benefit in the treatment of depression, in deciding whether a child or teenager should take an antidepressant. Children younger than 18 years of age should not normally take bupropion, but in some cases, a doctor may decide that bupropion is the best medication to treat a child's condition.
No matter what your age, before you take an antidepressant, you, your parent, or your caregiver should talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of treating your condition with an antidepressant or with other treatments. You should also talk about the risks and benefits of not treating your condition. You should know that having depression or another mental illness greatly increases the risk that you will become suicidal, especially at the beginning of your treatment or any time that your dose is increased or decreased. This risk is higher if you or anyone in your family has or has ever had bipolar disorder or mania or has thought about or attempted suicide. Talk to your doctor about your condition, symptoms, and personal and family medical history. You and your doctor will decide what type of treatment is right for you.
You should know that your mental health may change in unexpected ways when you take bupropion or other antidepressants even if you are an adult over age 24 or if you do not have a mental illness and you are taking bupropion to treat a different type of condition. You may become suicidal, especially at the beginning of your treatment and any time that your dose is increased or decreased. You, your family, or your caregiver should call your doctor right away if you experience any of the following symptoms: new or worsening depression; thinking about harming or killing yourself, or planning or trying to do so; extreme worry; agitation; panic attacks; difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep; aggressive behavior; irritability; acting without thinking; severe restlessness; and frenzied abnormal excitement. Be sure that your family or caregiver knows which symptoms may be serious so they can call the doctor if you are unable to seek treatment on your own.
For all patients taking bupropion:
Your health care provider will want to see you often while you are taking bupropion, especially at the beginning of your treatment. Be sure to keep all appointments or office visits with your doctor.
Your doctor or pharmacist will give you the manufacturer's patient information sheet (Medication Guide) when you begin treatment with bupropion and each time you refill your prescription. Read the information carefully and ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions. You also can visit the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website: Web Siteor the manufacturer's website to obtain the Medication Guide.
Talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of taking bupropion.
Bupropion (Aplenzin, Wellbutrin, Wellbutrin SR, Wellbutrin XL) is used to treat depression. Bupropion (Aplenzin, Wellbutrin XL) is also used to treat seasonal affective disorder (SAD; episodes of depression that occur at the same time each year [usually in the fall and winter but rarely may occur in the spring or summer months]). Bupropion (Zyban) is used to help people stop smoking. Bupropion is in a class of medications called antidepressants. It works by increasing certain types of activity in the brain.
Bupropion comes as a tablet and a sustained-release or extended-release (long-acting) tablet to take by mouth. The regular tablet (Wellbutrin) is usually taken three times a day, with doses at least 6 hours apart, or four times a day, with doses at least 4 hours apart. The sustained-release tablet (Wellbutrin SR, Zyban) is usually taken twice a day, with doses at least 8 hours apart. The extended-release tablet (Aplenzin, Wellbutrin XL) is usually taken once daily in the morning; doses of the extended-release tablet should be taken at least 24 hours apart. When bupropion is used to treat seasonal affective disorder, it is usually taken once a day in the morning beginning in the early fall, continuing through the winter, and stopping in the early spring. Sometimes a lower dose of bupropion is taken for 2 weeks before the medication is stopped. Take bupropion with food if the medication upsets your stomach. If you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, do not take bupropion too close to bedtime. Take bupropion at around the same time(s) every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take bupropion exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Swallow the sustained-release and extended-release tablets whole; do not split, chew, or crush them.
Your doctor will probably start you on a low dose of bupropion and gradually increase your dose.
It may take 4 weeks or longer before you feel the full benefit of bupropion. Continue to take bupropion even if you feel well. Do not stop taking bupropion without talking to your doctor. Your doctor may decrease your dose gradually.
Bupropion is also sometimes used to treat episodes of depression in patients with bipolar disorder (manic depressive disorder; a disease that causes episodes of depression, episodes of mania, and other abnormal moods) and to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD; more difficulty focusing, controlling actions, and remaining still or quiet than other people who are the same age). Talk to your doctor about the possible risks of using this medication for your condition.
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Before taking bupropion,
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
Skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Always allow the full scheduled amount of time to pass between doses of bupropion. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
Bupropion may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of the following symptoms or those listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING or SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS sections, call your doctor immediately or get emergency medical treatment:
If you experience any of the following symptoms, stop taking bupropion and call your doctor immediately or get emergency medical treatment:
Bupropion may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online ( Web Site ) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from light, excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom).
It is important to keep all medication out of sight and reach of children as many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and young children can open them easily. To protect young children from poisoning, always lock safety caps and immediately place the medication in a safe location – one that is up and away and out of their sight and reach. Web Site
Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA's Safe Disposal of Medicines website ( Web Site) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at Web Site. If the victim has collapsed, had a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can't be awakened, immediately call emergency services at 911.
Symptoms of overdose may include the following:
Keep all appointments with your doctor.
Before having any laboratory test, tell your doctor and the laboratory personnel that you are taking bupropion.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
If you are taking the extended-release tablet, you may notice something that looks like a tablet in your stool. This is just the empty tablet shell and does not mean that you did not get your complete dose of medication.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
¶ This branded product is no longer on the market. Generic alternatives may be available.
AHFS® Consumer Medication Information. © Copyright, The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc., 7272 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland. All Rights Reserved. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized by ASHP.
Selected Revisions: February 15, 2018.