Wellbutrin XL (Bupropion XL) is an antidepressant used to treat the major depressive disorder and seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Bupropion XL works by restoring the balance of certain natural substances; dopamine, norepinephrine, in the brain. This medication can improve your mood and feelings of optimism and well-being. It is available in brand name and generic alternative forms. Stay especially alert to changes in your mood or symptoms while taking an antidepressant.
Always use Wellbutrin XL as directed by one’s physician. It is usually taken orally, with or without food, once daily in the morning or as otherwise specified by your doctor. Taking it later in the day may cause sleeping problems such as insomnia. If Wellbutrin XL causes an upset stomach, take it with or after a meal/snack. Do not crush or chew extended-release tablets because this will release the drug at once, increasing the risk of side effects. You can split the tablets that have a visible scoreline if directed by your doctor or pharmacist. If taking a split tablet, make sure to not chew or crush it and simply swallow it whole. Take Bupropion XL regularly to get the optimal results from this treatment. It may take more than 4 weeks before the full benefit of the medication is seen. The dosage of Bupropion XLis based on your medical condition including liver function, and response to the drug. Take only the directed dosage and consult with your doctor if you feel an increase/decrease/halt in dosage is suitable.
Prior to using Bupropion XL, tell your doctor:
- If you are allergic to it or any other allergies you do have
- Your medical history especially pertaining to head injuries, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney or liver problems, use/abuse of drugs and alcohol, brain tumor, eating disorders, personal or family history of glaucoma, etc.
- If you have suddenly stopped regular use of sedatives, drugs to treat seizures, or alcohol consumption.
- If you are planning to, become, or thin you are pregnant discuss the benefits and risks of using this drug with your doctor immediately.
- If you are planning to breast-feed
After taking Bupropion XL, you can become dizzy. Avoid driving, operating heavy machinery, and anything else requiring alertness until your body has adjusted to the medication. Avoid alcoholic beverages as they can increase your risk of seizures. Older adults are more prone to the side effects of Bupropion XL, especially dizziness, which can increase falling risks.
If your condition doesn’t improve or worsens, let your physician know immediately.
Common side effects include but are not limited to:
- Dry mouth, sore throat
- Dizziness, ringing in ears, headache
- Nausea, vomiting, decreased appetite
- Weight loss, constipation
- Trouble sleeping
If any of these effects persist or worsen immediately tell your doctor or pharmacist.
- An empty shell may appear in your stool which is harmless since your body has already absorbed the medicine.
- Check your blood pressure regularly and report the results to your doctor if they are high.
Tell your doctor immediately if you experience any of these serious side effects:
- Fast/pounding or irregular heartbeat
- Mental/mood changes such as agitation and anxiety
- Unusual weight gain or loss
Stop taking Bupropion XL and tell your doctor immediately if you experience any of these very serious side effects:
- Eye pain/swelling or redness; widened pupils, or vision changes
- Signs of a severe allergic reaction such as hives; swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat; difficulty breathing
If you have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to ask your pharmacist or doctor for help. If your condition doesn’t improve or worsens, let your physician know immediately.
Q: What is the most important precaution to taking Wellbutrin XL?
A: Your doctor and family/caregivers should be alert to changes in your mood or symptoms. It is true that some young people have suicidal thoughts when first taking an antidepressant.
Q: Is it safe to take Wellbutrin XL while pregnant or breast-feeding?
A: It is unknown if Wellbutrin XL can harm an unborn baby or it transfers to breastmilk. Ask your doctor about the benefits and risks of this drug while in either of these situations.