Wellbutrin and Alcohol – Mixing Other Common Prescriptions

Wellbutrin is a medication that is commonly used to treat certain mental health disorders. However, there are some medications that you should avoid taking while using this drug. Learn more below.

Wellbutrin

Table of Contents

What is Wellbutrin?

Wellbutrin, also known as bupropion, is a prescription medication used to treat the symptoms of major depression (MD) and seasonal affective disorder (SAD). It belongs to a class of drugs commonly referred to as anti-depressants, dopamine reuptake inhibitors, and smoking cessation aids, which all belong to the Wellbutrin drug class.

While the Wellbutrin generic name is bupropion, the drug also goes by other brand names which include:

  • Wellbutrin SR
  • Wellbutrin XL
  • Zyban
  • Aplenzin
  • Bupropion hydrochloride
  • Bupropion hydrobromide 

What is Wellbutrin Used to Treat?

Wellbutrin is a type of depression medication that has been approved to treat major depressive disorder, seasonal affective disorder, and even has been used to help people quit smoking. Some of the symptoms that Wellbutrin may help alleviate include:

  • Depressed mood
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Loss of interest in usual activities
  • Change an appetite
  • Low levels of energy
  • Trouble concentrating and focusing
  • Thoughts of death
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Nervous energy
  • Psycho motor retardation

While major depressive disorder can occur at any time throughout the year, seasonal affective disorder is a type of depression that typically occurs during the winter season when there is less natural sunlight available.1   

Common Medications Used for Mental Disorders

Medications play an important role in the treatment of mental health disorders. Whether you are looking to learn more about drugs for anxiety or want to learn about the various types of anti-depressants, it is essential to understand how the drugs interact with each other and what you should and should not mix with certain medications. 

Anti-depressants

Anti-depressants are medications that typically treat mood disorders such as depression. However, anti-depressants can also be used for treating other conditions such as anxiety, pain, and insomnia. It is important not to mix anti-depressants and alcohol because this combination can lead to serious, and sometimes lethal, side effects. 

Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders are commonly treated with anxiety pills and other anti-anxiety meds. Medication for anxiety is typically made from some sort of benzodiazepine, such as Xanax. Anxiety meds can cause dizziness, nausea, blurred vision, headaches, confusion, and tiredness. Typically, anxiety medication and alcohol should not be mixed. There may be a possibility of severe side effects if these substances are combined.

Are Wellbutrin and Xanax the Same?

Wellbutrin and Xanax are not the same. In fact, Wellbutrin and Xanax belong to completely different drug classes. While Wellbutrin drug class is an aminoketone antidepressant, Xanax belongs to the drug class of benzodiazepines. Thus, these two drugs are not the same even though dosages of either may be used to treat mental illness.2    

Stimulants

Stimulants are used to increase alertness, attention, and energy. They are generally used to treat children, adolescence, and adults who are diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Those who take stimulants notice a focusing effect wherein the individuals find they can concentrate better on what they are doing so that they can complete their work or school tasks. 

Antipsychotics

Antipsychotic medication is generally used to manage the impacts of psychosis. Psychosis is a condition of the mind wherein the individual loses contact with reality. This issue may in turn cause delusions and hallucinations that can make the individual feel confused. For example, an individual who is diagnosed with schizophrenia may use antipsychotic medication to help manage symptoms.

Wellbutrin Side Effects

There are some Wellbutrin side effects that individuals who are going to take this drug should be aware of. Some of the Wellbutrin side effects are common, but others are rarer and occur in less than 10% of all patients.

Most often, the common side effects will typically go away within the first week or two weeks of taking the Wellbutrin antidepressant. The common effects: 

Some of the more rare and serious side effects of Wellbutrin include: 

While some antidepressants may cause sexual side effects, bupropion typically does not have these issues. Additionally, the risk of seizures while taking Wellbutrin for depression is generally low unless combined with other substances. 

Interactions with Other Drugs

Bupropion should never be taken with monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) or within two weeks of taking monoamine oxidase inhibitors. Several active ingredients in Wellbutrin may increase your risk of seizure if you take them with more anti-depressants and other substances.

Additionally, other medications may increase your risk of having a seizure when you are taking Wellbutrin antidepressants. These other drugs that should be avoided include: 

As always, you should make sure to talk to your doctor about certain medications that you are on before you start a new medication. Because the side effects of Wellbutrin can be serious when combined with their drugs, give your doctor a full medical history before starting this new medication.  

Benefits of Taking Wellbutrin

Because Wellbutrin is a type of anti-depressant, it can be used to improve your mood and restore the balance between the neurotransmitters in your brain. By taking Wellbutrin as prescribed by your doctor and avoiding mixing it with other medications, you may be able to better manage your depression symptoms. 

Off-Label Uses

Even though Wellbutrin for depression is one of the most common uses, there are some off-label uses of Wellbutrin anti-depressants. For example, this substance may help treat bipolar disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and sexual dysfunction that is due to SSRI anti-depressants.

However, an “off label” use means that it has not been approved by the Food and Drug Association. As such, the mental health provider may not prescribe this drug for these uses. That said, Wellbutrin for depression is the most likely use of this drug. 

Precautions of Using Wellbutrin

As with taking any new medication, it is important to understand the precautions and potential side effects. For example, Wellbutrin for anxiety is not typically recommended because it may increase anxiety symptoms. Additionally, this substance may not be suitable for individuals with the following health concerns:

  • Liver or kidney problems
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure

Additionally, Wellbutrin and alcohol should never be mixed because the two may have negative side effects. Furthermore, the substance should not be used with individuals under eighteen years of age, bipolar disorder, and when a woman is pregnant or breastfeeding.4   

How to Use Wellbutrin

While the exact dosage of Wellbutrin anti-depressants will depend on the prescription you get from a medical doctor, this medication is generally taken by mouth with or without food up to three times a day. On some occasions, individuals may experience an upset stomach in which doctors will advise the individual to start taking the medication with food.

It is important to take the dosage at least six hours apart or as directed by your doctor. If you take the medication more than your doctor prescribes, you may increase your risk of having a seizure. Of course, your exact dosage is based on your medical condition and response to therapy. As always, make sure you consult your doctor if you experience any changes to your health or side effects.

Wellbutrin and Alcohol

Wellbutrin and alcohol should generally not be mixed. However, if you have taken Wellbutrin and alcohol, there is no need to panic. Simply put, the combination increases your risk for certain medical problems.  

Side Effects of Wellbutrin

If you take Wellbutrin and alcohol, you should watch for certain side effects and report them to your doctor. Some of the side effects include:

  • Worsening depression symptoms
  • Worsening Wellbutrin side effects, particularly confusion and disorientation
  • Increased shakiness and tremors

Because the drug may cause anxiety, Wellbutrin for anxiety is not recommended. If you are taking it for anxiety, it is best to contact your doctor. 

Risks

There are some severe risks when combining Wellbutrin and alcohol. If you notice any of the side effects after you have taken these substances together, you should call your doctor immediately and may need urgent care since mixing the two increases the risk for seizures. The following side effects should be monitored and reported :6

  • Severe shaking and tremors
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Significant worsening of depression symptoms 

Counteracting Benefits

In addition to potential health side effects, combining anti-depressants and alcohol may counteract the benefits that you should be experiencing from taking an anti-depressant. For that reason, you should take the medication as directed so that you can experience the most positive side effects of Wellbutrin. 

Other Substance You Should Not Mix with Wellbutrin

Wellbutrin may have serious medical side effects when mixed with certain types of drugs. If you are taking drugs for any of the following conditions, make sure you talk to your doctor about how to proceed with your medical treatment.

Wellbutrin may cause seizures when mixed with some other types of medication. For that reason, individuals interested in taking this drug for depression should be careful about mixing it with other types of medication.

As always, you should consult your doctor if you plan to use, currently use, or would like to use any of the following medications. If that is the case, you may be advised to use another type of anti-depressant or take another course of action with your medications.

  • Over-the-Counter Medication
  • Sleeping Pills
  • Antibiotics
  • Diabetes Medications 

If you or a loved one needs help, please call us at
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