Generic name: Bupropion

Why is this medication prescribed?

Bupropion (Wellbutrin, Wellbutrin SR), an antidepressant (mood elevator), is used to treat depression. Bupropion (Zyban) is used to help people stop smoking.

This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

How should this medicine be used?

Bupropion comes as a tablet to take by mouth. It is usually taken one to three times a day and may be taken with or without food. Do not crush, chew, or divide Wellbutrin SR or Zyban tablets. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take bupropion exactly as directed.

Continue to take bupropion even if you feel well. Do not stop taking bupropion without talking to your doctor, especially if you have taken large doses for a long time. Your doctor probably will want to decrease your dose gradually. This drug must be taken regularly for a few weeks before its full effect is felt.

Bupropion can be habit forming. Do not take a larger dose, take it more often, or for a longer period than your doctor tells you.

What special precautions should I follow?

Before taking bupropion,

  • tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to bupropion or any other drugs.
  • in addition to the drugs listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING section, tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription drugs you are taking, or have taken in the last 2 weeks, especially anticoagulants [warfarin (Coumadin)]; antihistamines; antipsychotics; carbamazepine (Tegretol); cimetidine (Tagamet); diet pills; insulin; levodopa (Sinemet, Larodopa); lithium (Eskalith, Lithobid); MAO inhibitors [phenelzine (Nardil), tranylcypromine (Parnate)]; medication for high blood pressure, seizures, asthma, colds, or allergies; methylphenidate (Ritalin); oral antidiabetic medications; other antidepressants; ritonavir (Norvir); sedatives; sleeping pills; theophylline (Theobid, Theo-Dur, others), thyroid medications; tranquilizers; and vitamins. You should not take Wellbutrin or Wellbutrin SR and Zyban together. Also tell your doctor if you drink large amounts of alcohol or are addicted to cocaine, opiates or other drugs so that you can properly taper and end their use. Abrupt withdrawal increases seizure risk.
  • in addition to the conditions listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING section, also tell your doctor if you have or have ever had glaucoma, an enlarged prostate, difficulty urinating, an over active thyroid gland, or liver, or kidney or heart disease.
  • tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking bupropion, call your doctor immediately.
  • if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking bupropion.
  • you should know that this drug may make you drowsy. Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how this drug affects you.
  • remember that alcohol can add to the drowsiness caused by this drug.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

If you take several doses per day, take the missed dose as soon as you remember it and take any remaining doses for that day at evenly spaced intervals. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule.

If you take bupropion once a day at bedtime and do not remember to take it until the next morning, skip the missed dose. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Side effects from bupropion are common:

  • drowsiness
  • weakness or tiredness
  • excitement or anxiety
  • dry mouth
  • insomnia
  • nightmares
  • change in appetite or weight

Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

  • frequent urination
  • difficulty urinating
  • constipation
  • blurred vision
  • change in sex drive or ability
  • excessive sweating
  • headaches

If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:

  • seizures or tremors
  • loss of coordination
  • fever
  • severe skin rash
  • itching
  • hives
  • chest pain
  • shortness of breath
  • muscle or joint pain
  • yellowing of the skin or eyes
  • irregular heartbeat

What storage conditions are needed for this medicine?

Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.

In case of emergency/overdose

In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.

Symptoms of overdose may include:

  • difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • dizziness
  • fainting
  • shakiness
  • sweating
  • confusion
  • blurred vision
  • seizure
  • seeing things or hearing voices that do not exist (hallucinating)
  • loss of consciousness
  • rapid or pounding hearbeat
  • blurred vision
  • lightheadedness
  • confusion
  • lack of energy
  • upset stomach
  • jitteriness

What other information should I know?

Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain lab tests to check your response to bupropion.

Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.


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