Wellbutrin, a brand name for bupropion, is a medication designed to aid in smoking cessation by curbing nicotine cravings. Nicotine, found in tobacco, is the addictive component that makes quitting challenging. Wellbutrin is available as sustained-release tablets, taken orally with water.
What Is Wellbutrin?
In addition to helping individuals quit smoking, Wellbutrin may also assist in alleviating withdrawal symptoms. It is recommended to use this medication in conjunction with a stop-smoking program for optimal results. While its primary purpose is aiding smoking cessation, healthcare providers or pharmacists might sometimes prescribe Wellbutrin for other medical purposes; if you have any questions, do not hesitate to consult them.
The active ingredient of the medicine is bupropion. It was initially developed as an antidepressant but later found effective for several other conditions. One of its essential applications is aiding smoking cessation, for which it has gained recognition as a valuable tool in helping individuals quit tobacco use.
As an aid for quitting smoking, bupropion targets the neurochemical processes associated with nicotine addiction. It acts as a norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitor (NDRI), increasing the levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, such as norepinephrine and dopamine. This, in turn, helps reduce the intensity of nicotine cravings and withdrawal symptoms, making it easier for people to quit smoking gradually.
Numerous clinical studies have supported bupropion's effectiveness in promoting smoking cessation and have earned healthcare authorities' approval. When used as part of a comprehensive smoking cessation program, it has been shown to improve long-term abstinence rates and increase the chances of successfully quitting.
Besides its use in smoking cessation, bupropion is also prescribed for treating major depressive and seasonal affective disorders (SAD). Its unique mechanism of action, distinct from other antidepressants, makes it a valuable option for individuals who do not respond well to other medications or have specific concerns about side effects.
How to Use
Take this medication orally with a glass of water, following the instructions on the prescription label. You can take it with or without food, but if it causes stomach upset, it is better to take it with food. Avoid cutting, crushing, or chewing the pill. Stick to regular intervals for taking your doses. If you are required to take it multiple times a day, ensure there are at least 8 hours between doses. To prevent potential sleep disturbances, avoid taking this medication right before bedtime. Never exceed the prescribed dosage or alter the frequency without proper guidance.
Consult your care team regarding the use of this medication in children, as special care may be necessary in such cases.
If you miss a dose, skip the missed one and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Maintain at least an 8-hour gap between doses. Under no circumstances should you take double or extra doses.
If you suspect you have taken an excessive amount of this medicine, promptly contact a poison control center or seek immediate medical attention.
Important reminder: This medicine is meant for your use only. Please do not share it with others.
Schedule regular check-ups with your care team to monitor your progress while using this medication. It is crucial to combine this treatment with a patient support program, which may include behavioral therapy, counseling, or other recommended support programs by your care team.
Pay attention to any changes in your thoughts or mood, especially feelings of depression or thoughts of suicide. These changes can occur at any time, but they are more common during the initial phase of treatment or after a dose adjustment. If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your care team immediately.
For patients with bipolar disorder taking this medication, be vigilant for manic episodes, which may manifest as feelings of anxiety, nervousness, agitation, hostility, impulsiveness, or extreme restlessness. Such symptoms can occur at any time but are more likely at the beginning of treatment or after a dose change. If you observe any of these signs, contact your care team promptly.
This medication can cause severe skin reactions, which might occur weeks to months after starting the treatment. If you notice fevers or flu-like symptoms accompanied by a rash that turns red or purple and leads to blistering or peeling of the skin, or if you experience a red rash with swelling of the face, lips, or lymph nodes in your neck or underarms, contact your care team immediately.
While using this medication, avoid alcohol-containing beverages. Also, be cautious when using sleeping or anxiety medications, as abrupt discontinuation of such agents in combination with this medication may increase the risk of seizures.
Please do not engage in activities that require concentration or coordination, such as driving or operating heavy machinery, until you understand how this medication affects you, as it may impair your ability to perform these tasks.
Avoid taking this medication close to bedtime, as it may interfere with your ability to fall asleep.
A dry mouth may be a side effect of this medication. You can alleviate this by chewing sugarless gum, sucking on hard candy, and staying hydrated with plenty of water. If the problem persists or becomes severe, contact your care team.
Consult your care team before using nicotine patches or chewing gum while taking this medication. Regular blood pressure monitoring may be necessary if your doctor recommends using both nicotine and this medication concurrently.
What Should I Tell My Care Team Before Taking This Medication?
Please inform your healthcare provider about any of the following conditions you may have:
- an eating disorder (anorexia or bulimia);
- brain tumor or head injury;
- psychosis or bipolar disorder;
- irregular heartbeat, heart disease, previous heart attack;
- liver or kidney disease;
- diabetes or high blood sugar, treated with medication;
- high blood pressure;
- weight loss;
- currently pregnant or trying to become pregnant;
- Tourette's syndrome;
- suicidal thoughts or a previous suicide attempt
- an unusual or allergic reaction to bupropion, other medications, foods, dyes, or preservatives.
Avoid taking this medication in combination with any of the following:
- MAOIs (Monoamine oxidase inhibitors) such as Azilect, Carbex, Eldepryl, Marplan, Nardil, and Parnate;
- Methylene blue (when administered intravenously);
- Other medications containing bupropion.
Additionally, this medication may interact with the following substances or medications:
- certain medications for anxiety or sleep;
- certain medications for blood pressure, like metoprolol and propranolol;
- certain medications for depression or psychotic disturbances;
- certain medications for HIV or AIDS like efavirenz, lopinavir, nelfinavir, ritonavir;
- certain medications for irregular heartbeats, like propafenone and flecainide;
- certain medications for Parkinson's disease, like amantadine, levodopa;
- certain medications for seizures like carbamazepine, phenytoin, and phenobarbital;
- steroid medications like prednisone or cortisone;
- stimulant medications for attention disorders, weight loss, or to stay awake;
Please note that this list is for informational purposes only and should not be used as medical advice. Always consult your healthcare provider or pharmacist for personalized medication interactions and safety guidance.
Notify your care team immediately if you experience the following side effects:
- Mood and behavior changes: anxiety, nervousness, confusion, hallucinations, irritability, hostility, thoughts of suicide or self-harm, worsening mood, feelings of depression.
- Allergic reactions: skin rash, itching, hives, swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat.
- Increase in blood pressure.
- Redness, blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin, including inside the mouth.
- Sudden eye pain or change in vision, such as blurry vision, seeing halos around lights, or vision loss.
While the following side effects are generally not serious, report them to your care team if they persist or become bothersome:
- dry mouth;
- trouble sleeping;
- loss of appetite;
- tremors or shaking.
Keep in mind that this list may not encompass all possible side effects. If you have any concerns or experience other symptoms, you must seek medical advice from your doctor.
Ensure that this medication is kept out of the reach of children and pets.
Store the medication at room temperature, 20 to 25 degrees C (68 to 77 degrees F). Please protect it from light, and keep the container tightly closed. Dispose of any unused medication after the expiration date.
Please note that this information serves as a summary and may not include all possible information. If you have any questions about this medicine, don't hesitate to discuss them with your doctor, pharmacist, or healthcare provider.