Bupropion extended-release tablets (Wellbutrin® XL)
What are bupropion extended-release tablets?
Bupropion (Wellbutrin® XL) is an antidepressant, a medicine that helps to lift mental depression. Bupropion acts differently from other antidepressants and may be useful for treating patients who have had unusual or limiting effects from other antidepressants. Occasionally bupropion is prescribed for other behavioral or emotional problems. Generic bupropion extended-release tablets are not yet available.
What should my health care professional know before I take bupropion?
They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
- frequently drink alcoholic beverages
- an eating disorder, such as anorexia or bulimia
- Bipolar disorder or psychosis
- Diabetes or high blood sugar, treated with medication
- Heart disease, previous Heart Attack, or irregular heart beat
- Head injury or brain tumor
- High Blood Pressure
- kidney disease
- liver disease
- seizures (convulsions)
- suicidal thoughts or a previous suicide attempt
- Tourette’s syndrome
- use of sedatives
- weight loss
- an unusual or allergic reaction to bupropion, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
- pregnant or trying to become pregnant
How should I take this medicine?
Take bupropion extended-release tablets by mouth. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Swallow the tablets whole with a drink of water. Do not crush or chew these tablets. Do not cut these tablets in half. It is important to take your doses at regular intervals; this medicine is taken once daily at the same time each day. Do not take your medicine more often than directed. Do not stop taking the tablets except on your prescriber’s advice.
Contact your pediatrician or health care professional regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.
What if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose, skip the missed dose and take your next tablet at the regular time. Do not take double or extra doses.
What drug(s) may interact with bupropion?
NOTE: Do not take bupropion with other medicines containing bupropion, like Zyban®?.
Other medicines that can interact with bupropion include:
- kava kava, Piper methysticum
- levodopa or combination drugs containing levodopa
- medications or herbal products for weight control or appetite
- medicines for mental depression, emotional, or psychotic disturbances
- medicines for difficulty sleeping
- medicines called MAO inhibitors-phenelzine (Nardil), tranylcypromine (Parnate), isocarboxazid (Marplan), and selegiline (Eldepryl)
- some medicines for heart rhythm or blood pressure
- some medicines for migraine headache (propranolol)
- some medicines for pain, such as codeine
- St. John’s wort, Hypericum perforatum
- valerian, Valeriana officinalis
- valproic acid
Tell your prescriber or health care professional about all other medicines you are taking, including non-prescription medicines. Also, tell your prescriber or health care professional if you are a frequent user of drinks with caffeine or alcohol, if you smoke, or if you use illegal drugs. These may affect the way your medicine works. Check with your health care professional before stopping or starting any of your medicines.
What side effects may I notice from taking bupropion?
Side effects that you should report to your prescriber or health care professional as soon as possible:
- blurred vision
- difficulty breathing or wheezing
- fast or irregular heartbeat (palpitations)
- increased blood pressure
- redness, blistering, peeling or loosening of the skin, including inside the mouth
- unusual tiredness or weakness
- agitation, anxiety, or restlessness, especially in the first week of treatment or when doses are changed
- skin rash, itching, hives
Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your prescriber or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):
- loss of appetite
- loss of sexual drive
- menstrual changes
- change in taste
- difficulty sleeping
- dry mouth
- increased sweating
- weight loss
What should I watch for while taking bupropion?
Visit your prescriber or health care professional for regular checks on your progress. You may have to take bupropion for several days before you see the effects. If you have been taking bupropion for some time, do not suddenly stop taking it. Your prescriber or health care professional may want you to gradually reduce the dose; ask for advice.
Patients and their families should watch out for worsening depression or thoughts of suicide. Also watch out for sudden or severe changes in feelings such as feeling anxious, agitated, panicky, irritable, hostile, aggressive, impulsive, severely restless, overly excited and hyperactive, or not being able to sleep. If this happens, especially at the beginning of bupropion treatment or after a change in dose, call your doctor.
Alcohol may increase dizziness or drowsiness; avoid alcoholic drinks while taking bupropion. Drinking excessive alcoholic beverages, using sleeping or anxiety medicines, or quickly stopping the use of these agents while taking bupropion may increase your risk for a seizure (convulsion).
You may get dizzy or have blurred vision. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs mental alertness until you know how bupropion affects you. Do not stand or sit up quickly, especially if you are an older patient. This reduces the risk of dizzy or fainting spells.
Bupropion can make your mouth dry. Chewing sugarless gum, sucking hard candy and drinking plenty of water will help.
Do not treat yourself for coughs, colds, or allergies without asking your prescriber or health care professional for advice. Also do not take any herbal or non-prescription medicines for weight loss without your prescribers advice. Some ingredients may increase possible side effects.
If you are going to have surgery, tell your prescriber or health care professional well before your scheduled surgery that you are taking bupropion.
Where can I keep my medicine?
Keep out of the reach of children in a container that small children cannot open.
Store at room temperature between 20 and 25 degrees C (68 and 77 degrees F), away from direct sunlight and moisture. Keep tightly closed. Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.
Revision date: June 14, 2011
Last revised: by Sebastian Scheller, MD, ScD
Drugs & Medications
CONDITIONS OF USE: The information in this database is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of healthcare professionals. The information is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions or adverse effects, nor should it be construed to indicate that use of a particular drug is safe, appropriate or effective for you or anyone else. A healthcare professional should be consulted before taking any drug, changing any diet or commencing or discontinuing any course of treatment.
The drug reference included in this section is provided by Cerner Multum, Inc., of Denver, Colorado. Armenian Medical Network receives monthly updates from Multum.