Written by Shannon,
6 Minute Read
Medically reviewed by:
Jen Miller, PMHNP-BC
10 Minute Read
Wellbutrin is an antidepressant medication commonly prescribed for the treatment of depression. It is a norepinephrine and dopamine reuptake inhibitor — norepinephrine and dopamine are two neurochemicals that can affect mood, and a reuptake inhibitor works to prevent neurochemicals from being reabsorbed to help make them available for use longer and usually in higher amounts at once. When used properly, Wellbutrin may be highly effective at improving symptoms.
Working to build a better understanding of how you should be using your medication can help you achieve better results.
If you are not sure which medication might be best for you, or if you have tried other medications but have not noticed any improvements, it may be a good idea to consult your provider about Wellbutrin. Your provider can answer any questions or concerns you may have, and they can also work with you to come up with a tailored treatment plan.
How does Wellbutrin work?
Wellbutrin is the brand name for bupropion, which is a norepinephrine and dopamine reuptake inhibitor often used to treat depression. It is not used to treat anxiety. Wellbutrin works by preventing your body from reabsorbing norepinephrine and dopamine, which can lessen symptoms of depression.
Wellbutrin is thought to have comparable effects to other antidepressants, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which makes it a good option if other medications have proved to be ineffective for your needs.
Like many other antidepressants, Wellbutrin can take a few weeks to start causing noticeable changes, and it may even take up to 12 weeks to produce its full effects by building up in your body. Patience is key, and unless your provider tells you otherwise, it’s generally recommended to give it the appropriate time before determining whether or not the medication is working for you.
What should I do about side effects?
There are some potential side effects of taking Wellbutrin, including:
- Lightheadedness or dizziness
- Nausea and vomiting
- Dry mouth
- Muscle twitches
- Weight loss
- Sleeping disturbances
These side effects are often mild and temporary but you should always alert your provider of the side effects you are experiencing regardless.
There are also some rare, but more serious side effects that may occur in which case you should call your provider immediately:
- Suicidal thoughts
- Significant worsening of any symptoms of depression
- Dizziness and fainting
- Severe headaches
- Irregular, fast, or pounding heartbeat
- Rashes, such as hives
- Confusion or hallucinations
- Seizures or convulsions
If you experience these more serious side effects, this may indicate that your body is not tolerating your medication properly, and a change in medication may be in order. Your provider will be able to work with you to get to the root of the problem and help you find a solution.
Proper usage: Here’s everything you need to know
Proper usage of Wellbutrin involves consideration of several factors. Before you start taking Wellbutrin, you should inform your provider of the following:
- Any symptoms you are experiencing that you find particularly bothersome
- If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts or are harming yourself
- Any medications you have previously taken for your symptoms, including how effective they were or were not
- Any adverse effects you have previously experienced from medications
- Any health conditions you are experiencing aside from the condition you are currently looking to treat
- Any other medications you are already taking, including vitamins and supplements
- If you are pregnant, trying to conceive, or are breastfeeding
- If you have a history of seizures or epilepsy
Some medications may not be recommended for use by people with certain medical conditions or who are taking certain medications. The first step when it comes to proper usage of your medication is making sure that you have informed your provider of all pertinent information that could harm your health if not disclosed.
There are three main forms of Wellbutrin available, including immediate release, sustained release, and extended release, and the proper dosing for you will depend on your individual situation as well as which form of Wellbutrin your provider has prescribed.
If the medication is not providing relief from your symptoms, you should consult your provider. Your provider will work with you to determine if your dosing needs to be adjusted, and by how much.
You should take care to follow the specific instructions included with your medication as well as any instructions your provider has personally given you. If you have any questions or concerns, it is always best to play it safe and consult your provider rather than trying to guess what may be the correct way to use your medication.
If you are seeking high-quality care that you can access right in the comfort of your own home while still also having access to effective medication, Brightside is here to help.
With Brightside, you have unlimited access to the care you need, including precision prescribing, psychiatry and therapy experts, and science-backed approaches that can help you feel like yourself again. Depression can be difficult, but Brightside is here to get you the care you deserve, whether that’s therapy, medication, or a combination of both.
The bottom line
Wellbutrin is one of many commonly prescribed antidepressants, specifically a norepinephrine and dopamine reuptake inhibitor. This means that the drug works by blocking your body from reabsorbing dopamine and norepinephrine, resulting in higher levels of both of these chemicals, which are associated with the regulation of your moods and emotions.
Wellbutrin is the brand name for bupropion, and while it may be highly effective, it can take several weeks to work. In fact, it may take around 12 weeks for Wellbutrin to produce its fullest effects after building up in your system, so patience is key with this medication as with many others.
When you begin taking Wellbutrin, you should carefully follow your provider’s instructions alongside any instructions that come along with the medication itself.
If Wellbutrin proves to be ineffective at bringing you relief from your symptoms, your provider will recommend other medications that may be a better fit for you.
Brightside provides you with access to both psychiatric experts as well as medication so that you can get the care you need all in one place. Get started with Brightside today and see if medication like Wellbutrin may be helpful for you.