Wellbutrin Experiences
April 8, 2004 8:22 PM   Subscribe

Wellbutrin. Anybody tried it? Experiences you want to share? Good, bad, indifferent? Weight gain? Sex drive? I've read the pharmacology, and chemically understand it...but clinical studies often leave a lot to the imagination when it comes to side effects, or lack thereof.
posted by dejah420 to Health & Fitness (25 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Tried it, didn't like it. Raised my blood pressure to the point where I felt like my head, arms, feet, etc. would explode. If it hadn't done that I probably would have gone with it since as an added bonus it appears to help people quit smoking.
posted by Grod at 8:34 PM on April 8, 2004

Bupropion is a mild stimulant and it does not reduce sex drive like the SSRIs do. In fact, I started taking bupropion in addition to fluoxetine to ameliorate the sexual side-effects of fluoxetine. It did help, though not completely. Since it's not an SSRI, it can be taken in conjunction with an SSRI.

While no one really understands how antidepressants work; bupropion is more of a mystery than most. It does affect two different neurotransmitters, I believe.

An added benefit for me is that it also mildly helps with chronic pain, supposedly.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 8:50 PM on April 8, 2004

I take it for ADD. It gives me a mild buzz, and helps with the distraction. On the negative side, it reigns in my imagination and sometimes, I feel, inhibits the parts of me that give me the energy to write.
posted by mecran01 at 9:30 PM on April 8, 2004

I took it for a while. 150mg twice a day. I didnt have any negative side affects. It helped me not feel tired all of the time. I took it for about 3 months i think it was working but i stopped going to the doctor and paying for it and fell back into a depression. This was two years ago. Now i have started Zoloft and a lot of things in my life have changed. I think antidepressants work best if you are in an additional type of therapy. Even if you are just trying in your own ways to get out of depression. I think the success would be greater than just relying on the chemicals. When I quit taking it i felt nothing bad either.
posted by Recockulous at 9:49 PM on April 8, 2004

I tried it for awhile (I was also having difficulty concentrating), however it made me nauseous.
posted by invisible ink at 10:20 PM on April 8, 2004

What Recockulonous said is worth repeating: countless studies have shown that antidepressants and counseling work quite a bit better together than either does by itself.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 11:14 PM on April 8, 2004

No weight gain. In fact, for me, the opposite. No sexual side effects. I personally felt hyper the first couple of weeks on it. The extended release version helps with that.

It didn't make me feel as artificial as Zoloft did.

I had no problems coming off of it either.
posted by konolia at 4:45 AM on April 9, 2004

Bottom line: you won't know until you try it. People's chemistry is as varied as their reactions to these drugs. Good luck finding the right one with as few trials as possible.
posted by yoga at 4:51 AM on April 9, 2004

I'd second what yoga said about the variability of individual reactions. That said, if you're looking for data points: I took Wellbutrin (low dose, 100-150 mg/day) for a while to help quit smoking, and it was very effective at that; what it seemed to do for me was to cut out the compulsive-behavior circuit, so that I still felt cravings but didn't feel any need to act on them. No side effects, apart from a very faint buzzing in the head (like being near a fluorescent bulb that's burning out).

If I needed to go back on antidepressants, I'd give it a try before going back to Zoloft, which was very effective but which killed my libido dead as a hammer.
posted by Kat Allison at 5:05 AM on April 9, 2004

Took it in a four-med cocktail and spent an indeterminate period of my life without emotion, sex drive, or joy in life. That could've been the mixture of drugs, though. Seroquel, WellbutrinSR (150mg 2x daily), EffexorXR and Neurotin.

Effexor, on the other hand, was brilliant on its own. I guess because I'm bipolar, it tended to have a stimulating effect? Either way, I was never so active. My mom gets that sensation from Risperdal. She's already been through Prozac and Zoloft; it really is a trial and error thing.
posted by precocious at 6:38 AM on April 9, 2004

As you can probably tell by this point, the side effects, and the severity of those effects can vary for each person. For me Wellbutrin was one of the more successful medications I have ever tried - until about five years later when it stopped working. I really had no side effects with Wellbutrin, which is great for a person who needs to be on medication for the rest of their life. Now I am on Paxil, which doesn't make me sleepy exactly, but for some reason I have a really difficult time waking up, if that makes any sense. Try it, pay attention to the effects, and speak with your Dr. if it's not fitting.
posted by lilboo at 7:36 AM on April 9, 2004

Response by poster: Thanks gang. I don't expect it to be a long term thing...or so I hope. I'm not generally a depressed person, but the last few weeks have been devastating...weepy, insomnia, irrational and sometimes just plain ol mean...it's like bad, bad PMS but nonstop. I'm hoping that I can just kick my hormones (or whatever) back to normal. (And the added side effect of helping to finally kick nicotine would be nice too.)

I started the medication this morning, small dose 150 XL, and we'll see if that stops me from weeping in the garage. ;) So far I don't feel anything, but if I read the pharmacology notes correctly, it takes a few days to really get in your system...we'll see. I really appreciate everyone sharing their experiences, I do. :)
posted by dejah420 at 8:27 AM on April 9, 2004

I used to take it along with Prozac, in order to keep me awake. My shrink referred to Wellbutrin used this way as an "activating ingredient."
posted by bingo at 8:42 AM on April 9, 2004

There was a great piece in the NY Times magazine a few months back about a psychiatrist who started Wellbutrin & experienced horrible side effects - very enlightening. It can be hard to really know what's a drug side effect and what's the depression, especially with sudden-onset depression like you describe, but stay in close contact with your doctor. You may also find that some side effects don't occur immediately, but arrive a few weeks in (just as the drug starts to take full effect).
posted by judith at 11:08 AM on April 9, 2004

My husband is on it, and a friend took it for a while. They both noticed problems with increased anger and dificulty controling it. My husband has had less sexual side effects with this than with his last medication (zoloft).
posted by rhapsodie at 11:49 AM on April 9, 2004

Interesting all the comments about Zoloft killing sex drive. I found that depression killed my sex drive, Zoloft, if it is effecting my sex drive, is not doing so in a detrimental way. So, if you're worried about side effects and wellbutrin doesn't work for you try on of the SSRIs. I found both Zoloft and Paxil to be effective but stopped taking Paxil for about a year and when I started it again it made me sick so I switched to Z.
posted by Grod at 12:16 PM on April 9, 2004

I tried it, but it made my heart race and gave me palpitations. Of course, I was drinking 12+ cups of coffee per day at that time. I since have moved to Lexapro and then Prozac (which also made my heart race, so I quit caffeine). IANAD, but I guess what I'm saying is that you should limit the other "crap" that you ingest to give this stuff a chance to work, therapy in addition helps, and everyone has a different physiology.

I was on a low dose and I take Depakote, as I too am bipolar.
posted by pissfactory at 12:23 PM on April 9, 2004

Response by poster: They both noticed problems with increased anger and difficulty controlling it.

Eeek...that one's kinda spooky. I've got a Mediterranean temper to begin with...making it worse would be bad. After reading everyone's comments and whatnot, I've decided to limit my caffeine to the "give me my coffee or die" cup in the morning, and after doing some reading on pharmacology boards, I'm going to eliminate drinking too...although that one's pretty easy, since I don't drink much any more. I'm also going to keep a little journal, and jot down anything weird or unusual that I notice, so when I go see my doctor in 3 weeks, I have a record of things I've noticed.
posted by dejah420 at 1:27 PM on April 9, 2004

if you ever get cold sores/canker sores, you might get them a lot more if you take welbutrin.
posted by lotsofno at 1:37 PM on April 9, 2004

Wellbutrin exacerbated my social anxiety during the few weeks that I took it. But YMMV. Good luck.
posted by bendy at 3:04 PM on April 9, 2004

They both noticed problems with increased anger and difficulty controlling it.

I noticed the same thing on Paxil. Although, actually, I'm generally very timid, so it mostly just brought me up to what most people would call normal male assertiveness levels. I realized it was a problem when I realized a bank teller was so afraid of me she was actually shaking. (She was about a third of my size.) That made me feel terrible and I subsequently learned to rein myself in. Still, it felt... cleansing. Righteous. I can see how easy it would be to fall prey to the dark side.

From what I've read, anger (or "irritability" as it is euphemistically called) is a modestly common side effect of many antidepressants.
posted by kindall at 3:28 PM on April 9, 2004

Irritability and anger is the other major sympton of my chronic, major depression; and, for me, SSRIs are effective at essentially eliminating it. I love this. I really, really, really hate being irritable.

I keep being surprised at the people that say they are taking antidepressents, particularly SSRIs and even more particularly bupropion, when they are bi-polar. It has been my long understanding that bi-polar/manic-depression is not effectively treated with antidepressants; and, in fact, they tend to make it worse. This is because in bi-polar disoders, the "engine" driving the mood swings is the mania portion and that is the part that needs to be treated. An antidepressent can actually push people into hypomania or full-blown mania and really bad things happen then. I can't help but wondering is those above who have found that bupropion made them irritable and angry weren't having this sort of reaction.

But I'm not a doctor. Still, I'm deeply suspicious of antidepressants being used to treat bi-polar disorder. I suppose that they might be used in conjunction with an antimanic (?) drug--or an antipsychotic--to offset its effects. Finally, bipolar and manic-depression are really hard to treat because most folks really, really like their manic or hypomanic swings and thinks it's a bad thing to lose them.

Deja, this sudden onset and (it sounds like) very acute depression--there is no situational basis for it? Or am I misunderstanding you? If there's no situational basis for it, though, and it has come out of nowhere with no history of anything like it before, I dunno (again, I'm not a doctor), but I'd be looking for some other phsyiological things. I assume your doctor has? Um, also, bupropion has a short half-life and its effects should be relatively quickly felt--a matter of days, if even that long. This is in contrast to some of the SSRIs where it may take weeks to go on (and off).
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 6:05 PM on April 9, 2004

Response by poster: Deja, this sudden onset and (it sounds like) very acute depression--there is no situational basis for it?

Na, things are pretty good. Normal stress, fairly happy baby, lead on a possibly very good gig. That's why it just didn't make any sense to me that I was having the PMS from hell (for lack of a better descriptive) for this extended time frame. All my blood work comes back normal...the only physiological thing I can think of is hormone shifts...maybe I'm going through something like early menopause or something... I dunno.
posted by dejah420 at 7:53 PM on April 9, 2004

Depression = angry for me, too.

I'm using Celexa (citalopram). Sexual side-effects are manageable through the herb. I've not noticed any other significant side effects.

Effexor, though, was a trip. Literally. Visual distortions, ringing, whoo. And teeth-grinding. Gahd.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:54 PM on April 9, 2004

As stated above, YMMV. But I had a cocktail of Wellbutrin and Celexa, and that worked for me. Much better than my forays into Zoloftland and Prozacville (neither of which worked...and both of which torpedoed the sex drive and damn near made the act itself no fun.)

Only side effect that I could tell from Wellbutrin was that it exacerbated my normal tendency toward insomnia. Doc prescribed Sonata to take as needed, and it was fine.
posted by Vidiot at 9:50 PM on April 13, 2004

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