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 Wellbutrin: It's Use and Benefits

 Wellbutrin (Bupropion): An Overview

Front Image - BUPROPION HYDROCHLORIDEWellbutrin (Bupropion) and Wellbutrin SR are manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline and have been approved by the FDA for the treatment of depression. Although not approved by the FDA for their off-label capacity to treat other illnesses, Wellbutrin is also being used for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), seasonal affective disorder (SAD), and to decrease the sexual side effects caused by other antidepressant medications. Also, Wellbutrin is sold under the brand-name Zyban to help individuals to stop smoking.

How is Wellbutrin like other antidepressants and how is it different?

Wellbutrin has a chemical structure that is very different from other popular antidepressant medications  on the market. Many of the newer antidepressants (i.e. Paxil, Prozac, Zoloft) fall within the chemical classification of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIís). These medications have the effect of blocking the neurotransmitter serotonin from being absorbed back into the originating neuron, thereby increasing the levels of serotonin in the brain, and reducing symptoms of depression. Wellbutrin does not affect the levels of serotonin in the brain . Although it is not really known for sure which neurons are affected by Wellbutrin, it is believed that it may act upon the brain chemicals dopamine and norepinephrine. Because it has a different chemical structure and does not have the same side effects as some of the other antidepressants, it is sometimes used successfully by individuals who have not had improvement with other antidepressants, or are having problems with unpleasant side effects.

 

What is the common dosage and what should I expect?

Wellbutrin is available in 75 mg and 100 mg tablets, as well as in 100 mg, 150 mg and 200 mg sustained-release tablets (Wellbutrin SR). Wellbutrin dosages are usually gradually increased to reduce the incidence of seizures, with the usual recommended beginning dose of 100 milligrams twice daily. Your doctor should probably not increase this dose until after approximately the first three days of treatment. After this initial period of time has passed, the typical dose for Wellbutrin is 300 mg per day (100 mg three times daily), with at least six hours between each dose for standard tablets, and 150 mg twice daily, for the sustained-release tablets. It is not recommended to exceed 450 mg. Sustained-release Wellbutrin, or Wellbutrin SR, should not be chewed, crushed or broken and should be taken whole, so that the body may absorb it correctly. Elderly individuals should usually be prescribed smaller doses of the medication as they seem to metabolize it at a much slower rate.

Front Image - BUPROPION HYDROCHLORIDESee additional pictures of various dosages of Wellbutrin

 

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