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Wellbutrin Side Effects

Wellbutrin is a fairly popular antidepressant medication that is prescribed specifically for the relief of 'major depression'. This type of depression is said to involve a severely depressed mood (for two or more weeks) and loss of interest or pleasure in usual activities accompanied by a range of other symptoms including possibly sleep and appetite disturbances, agitation or lack of energy, decreased sex drive and an inability to concentrate. Wellbutrin tends to have a somewhat stimulating effect and is available in regular and sustained-release formulations (Wellbutrin SR). In 2003, the FDA also approved Wellbutrin XL (bupropion hydrochloride extended-release tablets) as a once-daily norepinephrine and dopamine reuptake inhibitor (NDRI) for the treatment of depression in patients 18 years and older.

Common Wellbutrin Side Effects

Dizziness, dry mouth, skin rash, sleep disturbances, excessive sweating, headache, loss of appetite (Wellbutrin SR), abdominal pain (Wellbutrin SR), agitation, anxiety (Wellbutrin SR), constipation, nausea, palpitations (Wellbutrin SR), vomiting, sore throat (Wellbutrin SR), tremor.

Other Possible Wellbutrin Side Effects

Extreme calmness, fatigue, fever, fluid retention, flu-like symptoms, acne, allergic reactions (severe), painful ejaculation, painful erection, breathing difficulty, chest pain, chills, complete or almost complete loss of movement, confusion, dry skin, episodes of over-activity, elation, or irritability, gum irritation and inflammation, hair color changes, hair loss, hives, impotence, incoordination and clumsiness, indigestion, bed-wetting, blisters in the mouth and eyes (Stevens-Johnson syndrome) blurred vision, itching, increased libido, menstrual complaints, mood instability, muscle rigidity, retarded ejaculation, ringing in the ears, sexual dysfunction, thirst disturbances, tooth­ache, urinary disturbances, weight gain or loss.

Stop taking Wellbutrin and contact a doctor immediately if you have difficulty breathing or swallowing; notice swelling in your face, lips, tongue, or throat; develop swollen arms and legs; or break out with itchy eruptions. These are warning signs of a potentially severe allergic reaction to this medication.

Since Wellbutrin may impair your coordination or judgment, you should not drive or operate dangerous machinery until you find out how this antidepressant affects you sepcifically.

It is quite possible for side effects other than those listed here to occur. If this happens and/or if any seem particularly strange or bothersome, contact a healthcare provider.

Special Wellbutrin Precautions

Although Wellbutrin occasionally causes weight gain, a more common effect is weight loss. An estimated 28% of those who take Wellbutrin lose 5 pounds or more. If depression has already caused you to lose weight, and if further weight loss would actually be detrimental to your health, Wellbutrin may not be a suitable antidepressant medication for you.

Wellbutrin should not be taken if the patient is sensitive to it or has had an allergic reaction to it in the past.

Wellbutrin is known to cause seizures in some people, thus it should not be taken by a patient that has had any type of seizure disorder or if the patient is currently taking another medication containing bupropion (such as Zyban, the quit smoking aid). If you have a seizure while taking Wellbutrin, stop taking it immediately and let your doctor know. The danger of seizures is greater in people who are addicted to certain narcotics or stimulants, and in those using over-the-counter stimulants or diet pills. Alcohol abuse or withdrawal also increases the risk, as does the use of other antidepressants or major tranquilizers. The risk is higher, too, if you are taking insulin or oral diabetes medication.

Wellbutrin should not be taken while abruptly giving up alcohol or sedatives, including tranquilizers such as Librium, Valium, and Xanax. Rapid withdrawal increases the risk of seizures.

If you have had any kind of heart trouble or liver or kidney disease, be sure your doctor knows about it before you start taking Wellbutrin. It must be used with extreme caution if you have severe cirrhosis of the liver. A reduced dosage may be needed if you have any sort of liver or kidney problem.

You should not take Wellbutrin if you currently have, or formerly had, an eating disorder. For some reason, people with a history of anorexia nervosa or bulimia seem to be more likely to experience Wellbutrin-related seizures.

Do not take Wellbutrin if, within the past 14 days, you have taken a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAO inhibitor) drug, such as the antidepressants Marplan, Nardil or Parnate. This particular drug combination could cause you to experience a sudden, dangerous rise in blood pressure.

If Wellbutrin is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor before combining Wellbutrin with any of the following drugs - Beta blockers (used for high blood pressure and heart conditions) such as Inderal, Lopressor, and Tenormin; Carbamazepine (Tegretol); Cimetidine (Tagamet); Cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan); Heart-stabilizing drugs such as Rythmol and Tambocor; Levodopa (Larodopa); Major tranquilizers such as Haldol, Risperdal, Thorazine, and Mellaril; MAO inhibitors (such as the antidepressants Parnate and Nardil); Nicotine patches such as Habitrol, NicoDerm CQ, and Nicotrol patch; Orphenadrine (Norgesic); Other antidepressants such as Elavil, Norpramin, Pamelor, Paxil, Prozac, Tofranil, and Zoloft; Phenobarbital; Phenytoin (Dilantin); Steroid medications such as Prednisone; Theophylline (Theo-Dur).

Warning: This information is intended to supplement, not be a substitute for the expertise and judgment of a doctor. Please consult a doctor for final and more detailed information about the possible side effects of this prescription medication.
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