Wellbutrin Uses, Effects and Warnings
Depression, anxiety, irritation and lack of concentration may become a huge problem for modern people. Good career, success make us sacrifice our personal life, free time and favorite amusements. Life became too hectic and overwhelming, and our nervous system cracks sometimes under this burden. What should we do, you may ask? Give up and let the word rush forward without you? No! There are effective, legal and budget-friendly pills that can boost our energy and ease the stress of the everyday chores.
In this web drugstore ModafinilXL you can find effective and inexpensive wakefulness promoters and cognitive enhancers.
Anyway, in this article we would like to tell you about another medication which is a strong antidepressant and antipsychotic drug used for serious mood and mental disorders. Wellbutrin cannot be found in our catalogue, but many users have asked about its benefits and warnings at our help center. We hope that the present review will be helpful for those who want to know more about this medication.
What Is Wellbutrin?
One of such medicines is Wellbutrin. It is not new, but rather a well-known and widely used drug. The chemical name of the active ingredient is bupropion hydrochloride. It was developed in 1969 by the American chemist of Indian origin, Nariman Mehta.
He worked for the company Burroughs Wellcome Fund, now known as the GlaxoSmithKline pharmaceutical company. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) licensed this drug in 1974 for treating major depression disorder (MDD), under the brand name Wellbutrin. Since that time, the pharmaceutical company had to make certain changes in formulations and recommended dosages, as there were numerous complaints of cerebral seizures. Wellbutrin was applied for approval again at the end of 80s and it acquired several official indications, such as SAD (or Seasonal Affect Disorder) or nicotine dependence. Wellbutrin is sold in the form of round yellow or red lens-shaped tablets with strengths of 75 or 100 mg.
What Class of Drug Is Wellbutrin?
So, what is Wellbutrin? Let’s look deeper into its chemical formulations and mechanism of action. Medical specialists claim that it is not the usual type of antidepressant. Thymoleptics mostly are the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) and have a three-cyclic structure. Bupropion hydrochloride works by inhibiting the reuptake of noradrenaline and dopamine. First of all, it makes this medicinal product not only good for depression on its own, but also as an additional treatment when other therapies do not work. In addition to its effectiveness for emotional and cognitive disorders, Wellbutrin helps those patients who are trying to stop smoking.
Still, what class of drug does bupropion hydrochloride belong to? Chemically, it is a racemic mixture, belonging to the aminoketone family and has a similar structure to amphetamines. It does not block the reabsorption of monoamine oxidase and has no direct serotonergic action, but as the result of the regulation of norepinephrine levels, it improves the nutrition of the serotonergic neurons.
The users of this medication write a lot about its special qualities and what Wellbutrin feels like. First of all, they report advanced motivation and energy, and sometimes nervousness and agitation, especially with higher doses. Some say that Wellbutrin does not decrease sexual energy and that it can even raise amorous activity. Others credit it with the quality of being a good cognitive stimulant and concentration enhancer. In general, people define this medication as a smooth but forcible remedy for mood problems, troubles with cognition, sleep, motivation, and smoking withdrawal.
What Is the Generic Name for Wellbutrin?
Our atypical antidepressant is traded under various names, and some of the brands have different indications and medication guidelines. Nevertheless, if you look into their description and find generic names for all of them, you will see that they all have the same root.
When there was a need to correct the formulation and doses of the original drug, the developers introduced two other names, two modifications, one after another. The original Wellbutrin was taken three times a day, and it was the immediate-release drug. Wellbutrin SR was licensed in 1996. Adult patients took 150 mg of this medication twice a day. Another name, and another formulation of the medicine, was first marketed in 2003. It was Wellbutrin XL, also prescribed for MDD and SAD, and it had the recommended daily dose of 300 mg once a day.
This medicine is one of the most prescribed for depression and nicotine addiction in America, Canada, and around the world.
In different countries it is known under different trademarks:
- Budeprion XL;
- Forfivo XL;
- Zyban, etc.
Let’s come back to the question we are trying to answer — what is the generic for Wellbutrin XL and SR and other brands? It is bupropion hydrochloride, or simply bupropion. By the way, in the USA and Canada, this medication is distributed in the generic form — bupropion XL and SR.
What Is Wellbutrin Used For?
Thanks to its chemical formulation and efficient action, Wellbutrin has a wide range of uses and benefits. Not all of them are on-label, moreover, the list of the legal indications is different in different countries. Bupropion was tested for various mental diseases in children and adults, and some of the trials showed the firm evidence of its effectiveness. Let’s review some of the on-label and off-label administration of bupropion hydrochloride: what does Wellbutrin treat and where its effectiveness is not proven by users and researchers.
Depression and Bipolar Disorder
Depression is the direct indication for bupropion, as it was originally developed as the treatment for major depression and seasonal depression. There are countries where this use is off-label, in France and Australia, for instance, but GlaxoSmithKline PLC got the license for its medication in the Netherlands for treating MDD in 2007 and now is waiting for approval in all of Europe. In Northern America, bupropion XL and SR are prescribed by doctors for this purpose, and many people prefer Wellbutrin for its moderate side effects and low risk of addiction as compared to other antidepressants.
As for bipolar disorder, it is not in the official instruction on medical applications, but many consumers report positive changes in their mood and emotional state without causing manias, weight gain, and loss of libido. The newest research evidence that Wellbutrin used for bipolar depression, does not harm but can help to ease the patient’s distress. However, you should take it carefully, as it may increase the risk of panic attacks and excessive nervousness and agitation.
Using Wellbutrin to Stop Smoking
Being a noradrenaline-dopamine reuptake inhibitor (NDRI), Wellbutrin also represents another kind of drug — the nicotinic antagonist. It suppresses acetylcholine in the nicotinic receptors in the central neural system and help to overcome the addiction to drugs, specifically to tobacco. Simply speaking, it stimulates the same receptors as nicotine, thus serves as a substitution therapy for patients who are trying to quit smoking. Wellbutrin doubles the chances for successful nicotine cessation in patients without mental impairments. Usually, the consumers of bupropion do not feel the need to smoke on the tenth day of the therapy, but the whole course may last for 7 or 10 weeks, to minimize the risk of relapse.
In some countries, including Great Britain and Australia among others, Zyban, one of the bupropion brands, has only one legal indication — smoking cessation. It is usually administered twice a day, 150 mg per intake. It is not recommended to use it with any other nicotine replacement therapies.
As it was said, the usual tricyclic antidepressants belong to the SSRI group, and their action is to boost the serotonin level in the brain. Wellbutrin works with dopamine and norepinephrine, and has some additional effects:
- enhances concentration and self-control;
- improves focus;
- stabilizes emotions, relieves the mood swings;
- stimulates the cognitive functions of the brain.
This makes it similar to such stimulants as Ritalin or Adderall. These stimulants, alongside other indications, treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or attention deficit disorder (correspondingly, ADHD and ADD). Bupropion was also tested for effectiveness against ADHD in kids, adolescents, and adults. The users report positive changes in their emotional stability and cognitive functioning. Medical authorities, though, do not see any scientific-based evidence to approve Wellbutrin for attention deficit disorder. They claim that it can be only not the first line medication, which is administered only after several other stimulants have not helped.
Most users report decreased anxiety and agitation after using bupropion. Anxiety can be a symptom of depression and ADHD, and it is effectively eliminated by Wellbutrin if you keep the doses in recommended measures. Thus, keep in mind that bupropion hydrochloride is from the aminoketone and amphetamine class of medicinal agents, and it can elevate nervousness, stress, and agitation, and sometimes cause panic attacks. Do not use it without professional medical assistance.
Using Wellbutrin for weight loss is not allowed, and in the beginning of the 2010s the developer was charged a big penalty for advertising its potency to help users to get rid of extra pounds. In 2014, another pharmaceutical company got the license from the FDA for the combination of bupropion and naltrexone, and now trades it as the medicine Contrave. The European medical authorities approved this combination in 2015, and this medication is known there as Mysimba. These drugs have only one indication — obesity, and they effectively help people with extra weight to get fit. This effect is achieved by boosting energy, self-control, and motivation. It decreases the appetite and reduces the consumption of food.
Effects on Brain
Wellbutrin influences the brain in a similar way as other NDRI stimulants and antidepressants. Dopamine and noradrenaline together make the central nervous system work faster. People feel energy, better cognition, and motivation. Dopamine and norepinephrine are the neurotransmitters, and they transport the signals from one nerve cell to another. It affects all brain functions, from emotions and mental conditions to physical activities.
Wellbutrin Warning Signs
If you use Wellbutrin or any other bupropion-based medication, you should necessarily look through the medication guide and find there the warnings for the tablets you take. Bupropion is an antidepressant, and it has to contain the bolded note that the condition of the patient should be strictly controlled, as there is a risk of worsening some of the depression symptoms and even suicide. The warning signs are:
- low mood, significant and fast changes in mood;
- panic attacks, anxiety and agitation, sleeping problems;
- no interest in life, lack of energy and motivation;
- suicidal thoughts.
You should report these symptoms to your doctor immediately.
There are other very important precautions and contraindications you should pay attention to:
- it is very dangerous to take bupropion, if you have epilepsy, hepatic or kidney impairments, seizures, serious eating disorders, alcohol or illegal drug withdrawal, or if you experience serious brain traumas or have brain tumors. Take your time for a medical consultation, and the specialist will either reduce the dose or withhold the drug;
- those who are on any dietary supplements, antidepressants or stimulants, take insulin or smoking-substitutional therapy, should avoid taking Wellbutrin, or carefully follow their doctor’s recommendations;
- pregnant women and nursing mothers should consider the risk and seek medical advice, as the harm can be higher than the positive effect;
- Wellbutrin may cause such side effects, such as arrhythmia, rapid heart, insomnia, dizziness, fainting, and fatigue.
You should monitor all changes in your health and general well-being while taking antidepressants. If you feel any unwanted reactions — call for medical help.
Other Medications for Depression
In spite of its popularity and comparatively mild adverse effects, Wellbutrin is a very serious and strictly regulated medication. It is not recommended to take it without a doctor’s prescription and further assistance, as it may influence your health differently. You should not choose the dose on your own, and there is no way you can discontinue this drug abruptly, so here you will also need help.
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