wellbutrin and alcohol

Interactions and Side Effects of Using Wellbutrin and Alcohol Together

Wellbutrin and alcohol, when consumed together, put the patient at high risk for serious health impairments, nausea, vomiting, and seizures. We know that antidepressant medication is an important tool for people who struggle with depression and anxiety on a daily basis. As is the case with all drugs, most antidepressants can have certain dangerous side effects if consumed with alcohol. Wellbutrin is one such antidepressant that interacts dangerously with alcohol.

What is Wellbutrin?

Wellbutrin is the brand name of the generic drug Bupropion. It is a prescription drug used to treat different types of clinical depression. Wellbutrin is a norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitor (NDRI). It is usually prescribed to people who don’t respond well to other antidepressant medication. It is available in different tablet forms, including extended-release (XL), sustained-release (SR), and immediate-release (IR) variations.

Wellbutrin is an FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approved treatment for major depressive disorder (MDD) and seasonal affective disorder (SAD), also known as “winter depression”. Wellbutrin is distinctive from other antidepressants because it doesn’t affect your weight, libido and sexual desires as some other antidepressants are wont to do. Because of this quality, Wellbutrin is often prescribed in combination with other antidepressants to help counteract the side-effects that affect sexual desire.

Off-Label Uses for Wellbutrin:

While the FDA approved use for Wellbutrin is to treat MDD and SAD, wellbutrin is frequently prescribed off-label to alleviate the symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, bipolar disorder, and obesity. It can also be used to help people quit smoking. Furthermore it can help with PTSD, social anxiety disorder, and nerve pain.

Interactions of Wellbutrin with other medication:

As with other drugs, there are potential interactions that may occur when Wellbutrin is taken at the same time as other substances. Some medications that increase the risks of side effects include:

  • Antipsychotics
  • Blood thinners
  • Corticosteroids
  • Thyroid medications
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors
  • OTC pain relievers such as ibuprofen
  • Amphetamine and dextroamphetamine
  • Diabetes medications including metformin
  • Other antidepressants including Prozac, Zoloft, and Effexor

Interaction of Wellbutrin with Alcohol:

Wellbutrin and alcohol have a complicated relationship. Even though some people can drink occasionally without side-effects while on Wellbutrin, abusing alcohol regularly while you are on Wellbutrin can have seriously adverse effects on your health. If you are not a frequent or regular drinker, drinking alcohol while you are on Wellbutrin can induce side effects like seizures and having suicidal thoughts. On the other hand, heavy drinkers may also experience seizures if they abruptly stop imbibing while on Wellbutrin.

Some known risks of mixing Wellbutrin and alcohol:

  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Seizures
  • Paranoia
  • Vomiting
  • Blackouts
  • Dizzy spells
  • Blurred vision
  • Poor judgment
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Alcohol poisoning
wellbutrin and alcohol

Long-Term Effects Of Mixing Alcohol And Wellbutrin

Alcohol should be used cautiously, but even more so for people battling depression. Alcohol is a natural depressant. Mixing alcohol with Wellbutrin increases the side effects of both Alcohol and Wellbutrin, and it also increases the likelihood of developing an unhealthy dependence or addiction to alcohol.

Combining Wellbutrin and alcohol regularly can have long-term effects including:

  • Increased overdose risk
  • Increased risk of alcohol addiction
  • Decreased Wellbutrin effectiveness

If you take Wellbutrin and want to know how it will interact with alcohol, consult your doctor and discuss your alcohol habits truthfully. Wellbutrin is not the only antidepressant that is not supposed to be taken with alcohol. It is highly inadvisable to consume Lexapro and Alcohol together. You should consult your doctor before making any changes in your drinking routine.

FAQs:

Is it safe to drink alcohol while taking Wellbutrin?
Short answer, No. Long answer, still no. It can cause suicidal thoughts and tendencies and cause more depression.

Can Wellbutrin cause personality changes?
Wellbutrin may cause some people to become nervous, ill-tempered, agitated, and display other abnormal behavior.

How much weight can you lose on Wellbutrin?
Weight loss is a purported side effect of Wellbutrin but the reasons may not be directly related to the drug. Studying the correlation of Wellbutrin and weight change Both weight loss and weight gain have been observed.

Does Wellbutrin increase your sex drive?
Wellbutrin has a positive impact on libido, but it does not cause hypersexuality.

Does Wellbutrin help you focus?
Wellbutrin is a norepinephrine and dopamine reuptake inhibitor (NDRI). It operates by keeping the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and dopamine available to your brain’s neurons for longer. This helps improve concentration, focus, and other ADHD symptoms.

Will Wellbutrin help me sleep?
The antidepressant Wellbutrin (bupropion) is linked to insomnia. However, studies examining the electrical activity in the brain of patients taking bupropion indicate that the drug actually increases REM sleep time.

References:

Fava, Maurizio et al. “15 years of clinical experience with bupropion HCl: from bupropion to bupropion SR to bupropion XL.” Primary care companion to the Journal of clinical psychiatry vol. 7,3 (2005): 106-13. doi:10.4088/pcc.v07n0305
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1163271/

Grover, Sandeep, and Partha Pratim Das. “Can bupropion unmask psychosis.” Indian journal of psychiatry vol. 51,1 (2009): 53-4. doi:10.4103/0019-5545.44907
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2738405/

Karam-Hage, Maher et al. “Bupropion-SR for smoking reduction and cessation in alcohol-dependent outpatients: a naturalistic, open-label study.” Current clinical pharmacology vol. 9,2 (2014): 123-9. doi:10.2174/1574884708666131112124429
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4056335/

Schramm, Preetam J et al. “Bupropion response on sleep quality in patients with depression: implications for increased cardiovascular disease risk.” European neuropsychopharmacology : the journal of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology vol. 24,2 (2014): 207-14. doi:10.1016/j.euroneuro.2013.09.007
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3948318/

Hill, Stanley et al. “A case report of seizure induced by bupropion nasal insufflation.” Primary care companion to the Journal of clinical psychiatry vol. 9,1 (2007): 67-9. doi:10.4088/pcc.v09n0114a
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1894833/

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