WELLBUTRIN (Bupropion, Zyban) – Side Effects and Withdrawal Symptoms

WELLBUTRIN (Bupropion, Zyban)

Side effects and Withdrawal Symptoms

WELLBUTRIN is an atypical antidepressant. Bupropion, (generic name), is also prescribed as a smoking cessation medication, marketed as Zyban.

Seizures are the most controversial side effect of WELLBUTRIN, and were responsible for its removal from the market in 1986. But the risk of seizures was found to be dose-dependent and WELLBUTRIN was reintroduced to the market in 1989 with a maximum recommended dose of 450 mg per day. In 2006, WELLBUTRIN was the fourth most prescribed antidepressant in the United States.

However, due to its anticonvulsant properties, stopping WELLBUTRIN should be done with a gradual dose reduction (also known as tapering), combined with specific nutritional products to support the body and the brain during the withdrawal process.

WELLBUTRIN depletes the body of essential vitamins, minerals, and Glutathione (the body’s master antioxidant), and alters Melatonin production, which is critical for normal sleep patterns. Glutathione is essential for a healthy immune system and the detoxification process. Low Glutathione levels are associated with immune and liver dysfunction, cardiac disease and premature aging. Dr. Jimmy Gutman describes Glutathione as “Food for the Immune System.” Replenishing the body of critical Glutathione levels not only to help improve immune function, but also allows the body to detoxify naturally.

WELLBUTRIN Side Effects May Include:
Abdominal pain (Wellbutrin SR), agitation, anxiety (Wellbutrin SR), constipation, dizziness, dry mouth, excessive sweating, headache, loss of appetite (Wellbutrin SR), nausea, palpitations (Wellbutrin SR), vomiting, skin rash, sleep disturbances, sore throat (Wellbutrin SR), tremor, Acne, allergic reactions (severe), bed-wetting, blisters in the mouth and eyes (Stevens-Johnson syndrome), blurred vision, breathing difficulty, chest pain, chills, complete or almost complete loss of movement, confusion, dry skin, episodes of over-activity, elation, or irritability, extreme calmness, fatigue, fever, fluid retention, flu-like symptoms, gum irritation and inflammation, hair color changes, hair loss, hives, impotence, incoordination and clumsiness, indigestion, itching, increased libido, menstrual complaints, mood instability, muscle rigidity, painful ejaculation, painful erection, retarded ejaculation, ringing in the ears, sexual dysfunction, suicidal ideation, thirst disturbances, tooth ache, urinary disturbances, weight gain or loss.

WELLBUTRIN Withdrawal Symptoms May Include:
aggression, anxiety, balance issues , blurred vision , brain zaps, concentration impairment, constipation, crying spells, depersonalization, diarrhea, dizziness. electric shock sensations, fatigue, flatulence, flu-like symptoms, hallucinations, hostility, highly emotional, indigestion, irritability, impaired speech, insomnia, jumpy nerves, lack of coordination, lethargy, migraine headaches / increased headaches, nausea, nervousness, over-reacting to situations, paranoia, repetitive thoughts or songs, sensory & sleep disturbances, severe internal restlessness (akathasia), stomach cramps, tremors, tinnitus (ear ringing or buzzing), tingling sensations, troubling thoughts, visual hallucinations / illusions, vivid dreams, speech visual changes, worsened depression.

Patient Feedback on Side Effects:

  • “Sweating, feeling very “out of body” and like my arms are made of lead. Can’t concentrate. Am probably going to stop taking this medication.”
  • “swelling of hands, feet, ankles, legs, muscle pain in hands and knees and long term health effects”
  • “jitters, stomach pains, insomnia, spacing out, lack of focus, dizziness, vivid dreams, agitation”
  • “Angry and Hostile! I felt like I was going to explode and I felt like a hothead and control freak.”
  • “After de-tox in hospital my doctor put me on Wellbutrin XL, 150 mg. Everything was going great for 4 weeks then, boom, I went into anaphylactic shock. I blew up like a balloon…You should have seen my lips and eyes. Worse than any heavyweight bout!! Rash all over. Ambulanced to ER. Doctor’s tried everything to no avail. They DID NOT KNOW WHAT I WAS ALLERGIC TO. They kept telling me it was a seafood reaction. I kept telling them NO. Finally a specialist came in and since he had seen it before, knew it was Wellbutrin right off. I was in the hospital about 10 days to get it controlled. So if this happens to you, you will know it might be Wellbutrin XL.”
  • “Irritability, increased depression, dryness of the mouth, night sweats, hot flashes (I’m male), hand tremors, light-headedness, high-blood pressure. All but high-blood pressure (now take medication for hypertention) and dry-mouth have disappeared.”
  • “brain foginess – someone could say something to me and it sounded like a different language – anxiety and a bit of extra hair loss, vivid dreams and trouble staying asleep.”
  • “Clenching jaw, tension, headache, increased irritability, constipation, dry mouth, tremors–especially after exercise, dizzy and weak spells, decreased sensitivity during sex.”

You are encouraged to report all adverse side effects to http://www.fda.gov.

Learn how to taper off Wellubtrin safely by visiting http://www.pointofreturn.com.  It involves  self-administered supplements.  If you feel you need professional help tapering off see one of the other Detox links in the right-hand navigation panel.

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43 Responses to “WELLBUTRIN (Bupropion, Zyban) – Side Effects and Withdrawal Symptoms”

  1. stuart wechsler Says:

    I wish I had known about the side effects and withdrawal problems before starting to take welbutrin. I started it to try to substitute it for lexipro because of sexual side effects. Now i’m on both and have read of the side effects of both….sorry I started either one. I have come out of a depression and my psychopharmacologist doesn’t want to reduce either out of concern of a relapse. I am bipolar but think I would have come out of the depression without these drugs

    • Kathryn Padget Says:

      I’m bipolar as well as an insomniac, I have generalized anxiety disorder, depression, OCD and diagnosed borderline personality disorder —

      I’ve been on almost every medicine in the book including anti-psychotics like Geodon that made me shake so bad and my neck tick so bad I looked crazy! I was on Bupropion for about 2 years and just went off of it as directed by my doctor, replaced by Effexor, and i’m having some of the worst withdrawal symptoms.

      I’m also on Buspirone, Lithium, and lately have had to catch myself with Vicodin/Codene (which aggravate my temper) for bad headaches from withdrawal, and Alprazloram *xanax* due to complete anxiety breakdowns and anger streaks.

      I’m wondering if this is going to end soon, but I find myself clawing to get out of the box (depression) and feeling very panicky worrying that I need to go back on it quickly, that the Effexor isn’t working properly and I need the Welbutrin, etc. It’s an awful feeling, to feel like you NEED something to live normally..

      Good luck Stuart.. (and almost every single antidepressant has sexual side effects, even Welbutrin, however Effexor, Celexa and Lexapro are among the worst. Man, we get smacked with nasty disorders for our entire lives AND have to live with sexual dysfunctions due to it, life is wonderful!)

      • Your Friend Says:

        Hello Kathryn,

        Oh my goodness! I feel for you, deeply. No human should experience what you are going through!

        Have you seen an alternative medical doctor? You should see one known to help those with a psychiatric diagnosis. See my link to Alternative to Psychotropic Drugs in the right hand column of my site under Free Online Books and DVDs. Also see Alternatives – List of Alternatives.

        Happy mental health!
        Your Friend

      • Sarah Says:

        I wonder if you are working with a psychiatrist to help manage all those medications. I hope so, because it sounds so complicated with all your diagnoses. I wonder if you were properly weaned off the Bupropion, or did you go off cold turkey? I would also suggest having your hormone levels checked (adrenals, thyroid, parathyroid). If your hormone levels are way off that can mimic some of the symptoms you are having and you might be misdiagnosed. This is a problem for many, many women and they are not even aware of it. If possible, see an endocrinologist. I also recommend checking out http://www.thyroidbook.com. I just finished reading this book as I have hypothyroidism. I am going to see if my endo. has read this and if not I will give her a copy. I think it is revolutionary information. This doctor also has practitioners around the country he has trained who can work with you. That’s probably more than you wanted to know. I hope you can find what you need to be healthy.

  2. John Says:

    I had severe abdominal distress while taking Bupropion HCL/Wellbutrin 150 Mg. I was on 2 pills/day and tapered back to 1/day. This did not help. I quit and the stabbing/cramping stopped within a few days. After a week of abstaining I tried 1/day and within two days the stabbing pains came back. After quitting again, they stopped within two days. My doctor had told me this drug could not cause abdominal distress.

    • Anonymous Says:

      yes it does! I was told to take tums. They even wanted me to get an ultrasound, when you yourself know your own body.

  3. D Says:

    Bupropian HCL XL for almost 5 months now…forgettful, irratible, angry, and how about gas!! Anyone else has excessive gas and think its due to the med. For me, its been about 5 months of excess, just as long as I’ve been on the med. But I am now getting concerned that it may be something else. Is gas a side effect? Anyone else having this? Please!! Thank you.

    • Rhonda Says:

      YES,YES,YES……I have never experienced so much gas and gastrointestinal problems before this medication. I had to stop this medication cold turkey 2 days ago due to all the bad side effects, hope your doing better with it than I did.

  4. S Says:

    Bupropion caused me such extreme dizziness, dry mouth, muscle spasms insomnia and weight gain that I couldn’t stay on it. Most of the data on weight is about weight loss, but, although I did have reduced appetite and ate less than normal, kept exercise at same levels, I could not fit into clothes within two months of being on meds (I had bought just before starting the meds; they were loose then) and in fact had weeks where I could no longer fit in to clothes that fit just a week prior (which in my mind ruled out excess caloric intake or decreased caloric output, since the variation in my diet and activity in that week had not changed from the norm, if not slightly less caloric intke than usual). As a women, rapid weight gain can be so hard on the phyche that it causes worse depression than that which existed before starting the meds. So I’m tapering off. I’d rather be down than feel this bad.

  5. Morph Says:

    Just a brief hello and to say thanks for writing your thinkings in this post. I somehow discovered your weblog while searching exercise related things in Bing… guess I got somewhat distracted! Anyway, thanks again and I’ll try to swing in down the road and read some of your future remarks. See you later!

  6. julius schwartz Says:

    need info about withdrawl from bupropion

  7. Alex Says:

    Before go to my doctor, I did some research on the web on antidepressants with stimulants property and I found Bupropion and Reboxetine,I took in the past years ssri’s but with no benefit: NOTHING !! ( my problem is depression,fatigue,loss of interest in life and ”emotional anesthesia”,extreme difficult to focus on study and memory problems)…Here in Italy methylphenidate or modafinil like meds are impossible to obtain and a psychiatrist can’t prescribe it..I thought I could buy it online but 99% are scam.. So my first experience was Venlafaxine ( that gave me the worst withdrawal ever had,worst then withdrawal from street drugs, brain zaps,nightmares and deep deep depression) so I change it with Bupropion and benzos ( xanax2-3mg/day, and clonazepam or lormetazepam to sleep) now,after1 year I can say that it’s not very different from the other…side effects are a lot more than benefits…I don’t wanna take any chemical medication anymore…after tapering benzos and wellbutrin my next step is to go to a natural doctor..in these years I’ve build the idea that psychiatrists are more out of head than the patient and that kind of meds only damage the body….I just read an article about the immunosuppressing activity of benzodiazepines and antidepressants….never touch this meds again, I hope that a healthy life with no drugs and a good nutrition will handle the problem…the only thing I’m sure is that after my hiv+ diagnosis 2 months ago I’ll never take anti hiv meds nor other drugs that, at the end, do only more harm than good…
    Sorry for my poor engl …good luck and peace!

  8. Rhonda Says:

    My personal opinion is that this medication is very dangerous. I had been on Zoloft for 5 years when I decided to switch to Bupropion/Wellbutrin due to the ‘zombie’ effect that I was experiencing with the Zoloft. I have only been on the Wellbutrin for 3 weeks and I feel like the side effects are slowly killing me ! There are so many things happening with my body, that I can hardly keep track.
    I have been experiencing the following side effects: shortness of air, cough, confusion, dizziness, vomitting, EXTREME gas and bloating (since day one), acid reflux (didn’t have prior to medication), excessive weight gain (have gained 6 pounds in 3 weeks), fluid retention, blurred vision, dry mouth, fatigue, and a feeling of being ‘stoned’. I stopped this medicine cold turkey 2 days ago, I feel as though any withdrawal effects cannot be as bad as the side effects. Bad, Bad, Bad medication for me.

    • Anonymous Says:

      same here! thanks for sharing.

      • Anonymous Says:

        I have been off about 3 weeks and have been to the ER twice with intense pain in my guts. I never had problems with acid and cramping in my stomach and under my ribs till i quit taking it. Ive also never burped so much in my life. I feel worse now than when i started and i only took the crap for 8 months

  9. Jasmin Says:

    About three weeks ago my doctor put me on bupropion sr 150 ml the first weeks seemed great after that week I started feeling dizziness specially while driving so couldn’t drive at all suacidal thoughts hit me preety bad so I quite cold turky about 4 days ago and I felt better the next day but after that I feel week craving more sugar stuff sleepy can’t concentrate
    GAS!!!! and to top it off I got a cold can some body please tell me how long is this withdrawal gonna last

  10. Maria Says:

    I would like to know more about withdrawal from Bupropoin/wellbutrin.
    thank you

  11. Tim Says:

    I’ve been on bupropion for three years, and paroxitine for 6 months. how long do withdrawal symptons last.

  12. Anonymous Says:

    Kay asked:
    How long do withdrawal symtoms last. I slowly tapered off 330 mg. of Wellbutrin and have been completely off 10 days, but feel terrible–flu like symtoms, gas, headaches, etc. I took it for 5 years. From reading all the above I can understand my all the side effects I had,etc. Thanks to anyone who replys. Kay

  13. Anonymous Says:

    I’ve been taking Welbutrin SR for a few years and it has worked well. For the most part I feel great. The one side effect that I’ve had that I really don’t like is crying. I’m a 50 something guy and since I’ve been on Wellbutrin I’ve become a crybaby.
    When I watch TV, any sad scene is likely to bring me to tears. Watching the news, even comercials are lible to set me off.
    Now I have a wedding to attend. I know I’ll be a totaly blubbering fool if I’m still on the Meds. I’ve been tapering down very slowly, and now the withdrawl symptoms are appearing. I’m tired all the time, & have been having dizzy spells.
    Hopefully I’ll find hints on the web on how I can manage these symptoms.

    • Anonymous Says:

      uuhhmm, we have emotions & the ability to feel & show them for a reason. cry. it shows you are human & humane. I am a fellow 20 + year antidepressant user. It sucks. trial of this, crisis comes up, trial of something else. take another med to counteract the side effects of the AD’s. Medical society is too quick to prescribe drugs when sometimes what we need is the natural process of grieving, as opposed to burying and masking the grief w/chemicals. if a love one dies, it is natural & expected to feel sad. I can’t even imagine the damage to my organs after all these years and the mental hell that I numbed myself to not experience so many losses. I am now weaning off multiple meds as I see how much of my life has been robbed by functioning in a state of disassociation. your mind & body don’t connect! even pain meds are taken to make the pain go away. It DOESN’T!!! the pain is still there, just the chemical tells your body for a short period of time it’s all good. if you can find a book called waking the tiger by peter lavigne read it!! deep breathing and crying are an outlet depression and anxiety need to heal!!

  14. Anonymous Says:

    hi. My doctor has prescribed Zoloft instead of Wellbutrin and i have been doing the change over for about 3 weeks now. I feel desensitized and more depressed than ever before, weepy and angry – pls anyone, is this normal? Its affecting everything and everyone around me and I feel like I am going mad!

  15. Jill Says:

    I have been on Bupropion for 10 years and quit cold turkey about a month ago but I’m still having same side effects. I was on 100 mg.. How long should I expect to last?! I have flu-like symptom, headaches, gas, feel sleepy all the time, no energy, can concentrate, etc.

  16. Lain Says:

    Is it possible to not notice the side effects associated with bupropion reduction until a month or two after the reduction?

  17. Jen Says:

    I have been on wellbutrin 150mg xl for 6 weeks now, after the first two weeks I felt quite good, after that it was downhill, pains all over my body, my muscles ache, pains in my chest, God it is freaking me out….. my husband is getting annoyed with me with all these aches I have, one minute I tell him, I am having chest pains, next my ear hurts, and then my shoulder muscles go into spams.. it’s just awful. I am tapering down to one every other day. Hopefully I will be off these horrible meds real soon.

  18. Mikey Says:

    My Dr. started me on Bupropion SR 150 mg, 1 X daly, to augment the Celexa side effect of decreased libido. I have been on it for 2 weeks, and I can not tolerate the side effects which include: severe night sweats (I wake up soaked), day sweats (when not exerting myself), dizziness, hand/finger tremors, nausea, confusion (I couldn’t find a church I’ve been too!) constant ringing in the ears, feeling like I’m dazed, over-active reflexes, and difficulty concentrating.. On the positive side: my libio is more “normal.” However, the side-effects out-weigh the benefits. I’m going to taper off this medication starting today, having only been on for two weeks, I’m not expecting huge withdrawal, but I’ll give feed back if I do.

  19. Deb Cameron Says:

    I have been off Bupropion 100 mg for at least a month and feel sick as a dog. Stomach flu 5 days now and everyother day real bad. Have to leave work for bed. Could this be welbutrin withdrawels still going on ? I too want to know how long this can last. Deb SLC UT, also can`t think or concentrate.

  20. Dave Says:

    I have been on wellbutria-bupropion for 2 + years and my “shrink” want’s me to stay on this suff. Even though I am not depressed any more. Soooo what’s up with that!!!???? I am thinking the sooner I get off this stuff the better. My M.D. said there no medical reason I can’t stop cold turkey. I tapered off to 50% then stop complete
    Two questions 1. does anyone know how long the withdraw effects last??? and 2. Do people ever get back to normal????

  21. christine Huber Says:

    I have been on 450 mg of buproprion XL for a few years ( I didn’t need antidepressants before I got married, LOL)
    Now that I have been divorced for awhile, and quit the job I hated I am hoping to taper off. I am also on Lexapro. I have had night sweats, but thought maybe I was going through peri-menopause. I have excessive sweating, even with little activity. In fact, my hair would be soaked from just walking a few flights of stairs. I have hand tremors, which isn’t good for a nurse to have. I have had other neurological events, where my hand or my foot would just start to flap uncontrollably. My edema for years in my legs has been bad at the end of the day. sometimes my lower legs are like clay. My doctor knows about the edema but just shrugged it off. The ringing in my ears is almost painful. The beginning of this week I decided on my own to decrease to 300 mg. No “hot flashes” at all today.

  22. wonderingwhereallthegoodmenage Says:

    My personal opinion is that these drugs are seriously over-prescribed here in the US. I was on Paxil for over 10 years and finally tried to get off. It’s been 8 weeks and with the help of accupuncture the withdrawl symptoms have eased up. Now I feel more depressed than ever though because I see things so differently and wonder what the heck I was thinking staying on that drug for so long. Medical doctors are seriously under-skilled to deal with depression.

  23. Joel Says:

    I’ve been on 300 mg for a couple of years. Had Buspiron with it. Doctor changed to Clonazapam 3 mg….bad drug, long half life. I’m down (on my own) to 1/4 of a 150mg Bupropion SR pill cut (I know it absorbs faster but what can I do?) My ears are ringing and I have 3 more quarters of a pill. Back to the real world! I haven’t been prescription drug free or sober for 7 years. Man what happened when I was away? The world fell apart.

  24. Squeaky Says:

    Also! I just wanted to note that I am 23, female, 100lbs.

  25. Anonymous Says:

    where are your sources?

  26. Marcelo Says:

    How is the best and more effective way to get off Wellbutrin? Is there a special technique or way to slowly wean off of it?

  27. Deborah Hurley Says:

    I have been on Wellbutrin for 2 months and decided I had to stop taking it to have a better life. In those 2 months I had an enormous amount of gas, hot flashes all day and night, crying spells over nothing but the worst was the anger. I broke up with my boyfriend twice in 2 weeks for no reason. I have to get off this medicine because I will end up alone because no one wants to be around me, even my dogs.

  28. kabasaman Says:

    God, I hate this medicine… It has given me the jitters, terrible dry mouth, sweaty palms, and most of all dry mouth and loss of appetite. I am loosing weight and feeling like total crap. Flu like symptoms I would like to know how long the withdrawl from this med takes….. Been off it for a week now and still feeling sick..

  29. Hip Says:

    You say that Wellbutrin depletes the body of essential vitamins, minerals, and glutathione. Do you have any reference for that? That is to say, where did you read this information?

    I tried Wellbutrin recently, and I experienced the “Wellbutrin honeymoon,” which is where for the first two weeks on Wellbutrin you feel great, and the drug seems to be working very well, but then at the end of that two weeks, the benefits and effects of Wellbutrin disappear, even though you continue to take it. The “Wellbutrin honeymoon” is a known phenomenon that some people experience with this drug. It works great, but then after two weeks it stops working.

    I was trying to work out why the effects of Wellbutrin disappeared all of a sudden after two weeks, and one theory I had was that this drug depletes a vital nutrient in the body, and it is this which causes the cessation of the benefits.

    The other obvious possibility is the build up of tolerance to Wellbutrin; but tolerance is usually reversible after a week or so, and I found that even after stopping Wellbutrin for a couple of weeks and then restarting, I still could not recreate the original benefits that Wellbutrin produced in the first two weeks that I took it.

  30. Shelley Says:

    I was put on this to get me off Effexor because I felt stuck I n a rut and had no energy and lack of interest in most everything, the sad thing was he started me on 300 mgs which made me numb to everything. I called back three days later and it was decreased to 150 mgs, every day I feel worse blurry vision, dizzyiness, tremors in my hands, excessive sweats, worst of all stabbing pains in my entire back which made me feel like I was having a heart attack. I am going to go back to the Effexor and figure out something else for sure. I have suffered from depression, panic disorder and anxiety for years and have also been on numerous medications, if I didn’t have a chemical imbalance I wouldn’t ever take another medication in my life. There is one sad truth about all of this and it’s that all of the chemicals ( medications ) have done irresverseable damage to each of our bodies, wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to afford a natural pathologists to help us with our probems.
    I did work as a Crisis Counselor in Mental Health for years and understand why some of the clients would go off their meds at times, not that it didn’t send them into a downward spiraling cycle which was detrimental to their health, but they could no longer tolerate the side effects. Good luck to all of you and God Bless

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