Wellbutrin: A Safe and Effective Depression Medication

By: Sean Cash

Wellbutrin (Bupropion) is an anti-depressant of the aminoketone class. Bupropion is also marketed as Zyban for use as a smoking cessation aid. Most antidepressants available by prescription are of the SSRI class, so Wellbutrin can be effective if common antidepressants fail to combat major depression symptoms. Wellbutrin may, in some cases, also be taken concurrently with SSRI antidepressants.

When Wellbutrin was first introduced onto the market, a high rate of seizures in users caused it to be recalled fairly quickly, and this is still an issue in the minds of those who are considering taking Wellbutrin. However, when the dosage is reduced and spread out over the day, the risk of seizures from taking Wellbutrin can actually be lower than the risk of seizures from other antidepressants. Although no drug is without side effects, Wellbutrin is safer than most SSRI antidepressants. One advantage of Wellbutrin is that it causes no decrease in libido, and in some cases may even increase it. Most SSRI antidepressants can lower or totally eliminate libido.

Zyban is chemically the exact same substance as Wellbutrin except used as a smoking cessation aid rather than as an antidepressant. Zyban therapy is quite effective and lasts a period of twelve weeks. Zyban carries the same risk of side effects as Wellbutrin.

Wellbutrin and Zyban can cause a number of side effects, the most serious of which is the tendency to cause seizures when taken in combination with a great range of any other drugs, prescription or non-prescription. Seizures may also be caused by taking Wellbutrin with alcohol or cocaine. Since Wellbutrin is sometimes combined with another antidepressant such of the SSRI class, it is important to know that there is a risk of seizures when taking Wellbutrin with any other drug. If you have epilepsy or another condition which can lead to seizures, you shouldn't take Wellbutrin, as it can make seizures more frequent. As with most anti-depressant medication, Wellbutrin can increase instances of suicide and suicide attempts in adolescents who are taking the drug.

Wellbutrin can also cause dry mouth, loss of appetite, headache, dizziness, tremors, and excessive sweating. Psychological side effects are a risk as well, as Wellbutrin has been known to cause aggressiveness, insomnia, and irritability. There is also a risk of Wellbutrin causing permanent liver damage, although this is rare. Jaundice and pancreatitis are possible as well, especially if the user has had a history of alcohol abuse.

Taking 150mg of Wellbutrin rather than 300mg of Wellbutrin is a possibility for many who are worried about the risks of side effects, as Wellbutrin still remains effective at this dosage, while the risk of side effects, especially seizures, are reduced.

Wellbutrin is a good choice for those who wish to take antidepressant medication but are worried about the harsh side effects and withdrawal symptoms associated with SSRI and SNRI antidepressants. Although Wellbutrin does have some side effects, they are generally not as serious as the side effects of other antidepressants, and Wellbutrin has no withdrawal symptoms associated with it.

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