New Brightside Health research indicates bupropion does not increase anxiety

brightside health bupropion research

There has long been a clinical belief that bupropion exacerbates anxiety. A recent peer-reviewed study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology used Brightside Health’s large patient data set to compare anxiety severity over time in those prescribed selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) versus bupropion. 

What we found

In this naturalistic study, the research team examined archival data from 8,457 Brightside Health patients. Propensity matching was used to create SSRI and bupropion groups using 17 covariates. These samples were then compared using repeated measures analysis of variance on Generalized Anxiety Disorder Scale 7 (GAD-7) scores at start of treatment, six weeks, and 12 weeks. There were no differences in anxiety outcomes between the group prescribed SSRIs and the group prescribed bupropion across 12 weeks of treatment. 

Why this matters

The study suggests the long-held belief that bupropion increases anxiety is unfounded, and that bupropion is just as effective a treatment as SSRIs for anxiety symptoms in patients with comorbid major depressive disorder. Given that bupropion has advantages in tolerability over other antidepressants — it is less likely to cause weight gain or sexual dysfunction, is not sedating and is less likely to induce mania—the results suggest it should be considered more often by clinicians. 

Additional published studies from Brightside Health:

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