Bupropion (Wellbutrin)


Please note that Bupropion is not licensed in the United Kingdom for depression. This page is therefore for information purposes, though is still relevant for American visitors – with Bupropion prescribed in the USA for depression. Bupropion’s only licensed use in the United Kingdom is for smoking cessation.


Overview: Bupropion, known by the brand name Wellbutrin, is an antidepressant of the Atypical class. Bupropion is mainly used to treat depression, though outside of mental health conditions, is commonly used to help people give up smoking. Bupropion can act as an antidepressant on its own, though it is commonly used as an add-on medication to an SSRI or SNRI antidepressant. Bupropion is only available on prescription.




Key Facts: Bupropion will normally take around 4-6 weeks to take full effect. Minor improvements might be visible after around a week. There are some side effects to Bupropion, and some cautions too. Bupropion should be used without interruption – you shouldn’t suddenly stop taking the medicine. The medication should help jump start your mood, and slowly make you feel like your old self again.


How do they work?: Unfortunately, it isn’t entirely known how antidepressants work. Atypical antidepressants work by changing the levels of some neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine. These neurotransmitters are linked to mood and emotion. How the exact process works and links together isn’t entirely known, but antidepressants have a proven track record of working.


Dosage: The normal dosage of Bupropion is 200mg per day – split across two 100mg tablets taken twice a day. Bupropion doesn’t upset the stomach, and can therefore be taken with or without food. If there is no response to 200mg, the dose can be increased up to a maximum of 450mg per day. The maximum you can take in one go is 150mg. Therefore, you would need to have a minimum of three tablets if on the maximum dose, preferably four. Finding the right dose can take time. The typical treatment course for Bupropion can change dramatically in regards to why it is being used.


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Side Effects

With each box of Bupropion, there will be an information leaflet enclosed. This will provide an exhaustive list of side effects. Side effects from Bupropion should only last a few days, though can cause issues. It is natural to experience some side effects as your body gets used to the medication.


Common side effects of Bupropion include anxiety, dry mouth, restlessness, drowsiness and insomnia. An increase in epileptic seizures are a risk with Bupropion. Temporary withdrawal from Bupropion can cause seizures. Bupropion does not cause sexual dysfunction, and very rarely causes suicidal ideation.


Serious side effects include suicidal thinking, seizures, chest pain and psychosis. Bupropion is rather dangerous in overdose, with some people having died from an overdose. Severe cardiovascular problems, seizures and hypertension have been reported, along with Serotonin Syndrome. Contact your doctor if any serious side effects take place.




You should always read the information leaflet that comes with your medication as it will include important information. You should tell your doctor if you are taking any other medication. It is important that you don’t use the herbal remedy St. Johns wort. Always ask your doctor if you are unsure on combining medicines. Do not combine MAOI antidepressants with Bupropion. Some opiods such as Oxycodone shouldn’t be used with Bupropion. Lisdexamfetamine (Vyvanse) is unsuitable to use with Bupropion. Read the information leaflet for full disclosure.


It is possible to combine SSRIs and SNRIs with Bupropion, but caution should be taken in the first few days.


People with epilepsy shouldn’t take Bupropion due to the increased risk of seizures.


Alcohol acts as a depressant, therefore it is recommended that anyone taking an antidepressant stays away from drinking alcohol. Combining Bupropion with recreational drugs is also not recommended.


Bupropion is not recommended in pregnancy or the breastfeeding stage. Antidepressants are generally considered unsafe to use in pregnancy.


Bupropion is not normally prescribed to anyone under the age of 18. Instead, some form of psychotherapy is recommended. Younger people have been shown to be more vulnerable to suicidal thoughts when using antidepressants. In the case that an antidepressant needs to be prescribed, Fluoxetine will instead generally be prescribed.


Other Atypical Antidepressants: