What is bupropion?

Bupropion is an antidepressant medication used to treat major depressive disorder and seasonal affective disorder. The Zyban brand of bupropion is used to help people stop smoking by reducing cravings and other withdrawal effects.

Bupropion may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Important information

You should not take bupropion if you have seizures, an eating disorder, or if you have suddenly stopped using alcohol, seizure medication, or sedatives. If you take Wellbutrin for depression, do not also take Zyban to quit smoking.

Do not use bupropion if you have used an MAO inhibitor in the past 14 days. A dangerous drug interaction could occur. MAO inhibitors include isocarboxazid, linezolid, methylene blue injection, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline, or tranylcypromine.

Bupropion may cause seizures, especially in people with certain medical conditions or when using certain drugs. Tell your doctor about all of your medical conditions and the drugs you use.

Some young people have thoughts about suicide when first taking an antidepressant. Your doctor will need to check your progress at regular visits while you are using bupropion. Your family or other caregivers should also be alert to changes in your mood or symptoms.

Report any new or worsening symptoms to your doctor, such as: mood or behavior changes, anxiety, panic attacks, trouble sleeping, or if you feel impulsive, irritable, agitated, hostile, aggressive, restless, hyperactive (mentally or physically), more depressed, or have thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself.

Before taking this medicine

Do not use bupropion if you have used an MAO inhibitor in the past 14 days. A dangerous drug interaction could occur. MAO inhibitors include isocarboxazid, linezolid, methylene blue injection, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline, tranylcypromine, and others.

You should not take bupropion if you are allergic to it, or if you have:

epilepsy or a seizure disorder;

an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia; or

if you have suddenly stopped using alcohol, seizure medication, or a sedative (Valium, Nembutal, Seconal, Solfoton, and others).

Bupropion may cause seizures, especially in people with certain medical conditions. Tell your doctor about all of your medical conditions.

Do not take bupropion to treat more than one condition at a time. If you take Wellbutrin for depression, do not also take Zyban to quit smoking.

To make sure bupropion is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:

  • a history of head injury, seizures, or brain or spinal cord tumor;
  • narrow-angle glaucoma;
  • heart disease, high blood pressure, history of heart attack;
  • diabetes;
  • kidney or liver disease (especially cirrhosis); or
  • bipolar disorder (manic depression).

Some young people have thoughts about suicide when first taking an antidepressant. Your doctor will need to check your progress at regular visits while you are using bupropion. Your family or other caregivers should also be alert to changes in your mood or symptoms.

FDA pregnancy category C.

It is not known whether bupropion will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medicine. 

How should I take bupropion?

Take bupropion exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Too much of this medicine can increase your risk of a seizure.

Do not crush, chew, or break an extended-release tablet. Swallow it whole.

You should not change your dose or stop using bupropion suddenly, unless you have a seizure while taking this medicine. Stopping suddenly can cause unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.

Ask your doctor how to safely stop using bupropion.

If you take Zyban to help you stop smoking, you may continue to smoke for about 1 week after you start the medicine. Set a date to quit smoking during the second week of treatment. Talk to your doctor if you are having trouble quitting after you have used Zyban for at least 7 weeks.

Your doctor may prescribe nicotine patches or gum to help support your smoking cessation treatment. Read all directions and safety information for the nicotine product. Do not smoke at any time if you are using a nicotine product along with Zyban. Too much nicotine can cause serious side effects.

You may have nicotine withdrawal symptoms when you stop smoking, including: increased appetite, weight gain, trouble sleeping, trouble concentrating, slower heart rate, having the urge to smoke, and feeling anxious, restless, depressed, angry, frustrated, or irritated. These symptoms may occur with or without using medication such as Zyban.

Smoking cessation may also cause new or worsening mental health problems, such as depression.

This medicine can cause you to have a false positive drug screening test. If you provide a urine sample for drug screening, tell the laboratory staff that you are taking bupropion.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222. An overdose of bupropion can be fatal. Overdose symptoms may include muscle stiffness, hallucinations, fast or uneven heartbeat, shallow breathing, or fainting.

What should I avoid while taking bupropion?

Drinking alcohol with bupropion may increase your risk of seizures. If you drink alcohol regularly, talk with your doctor before changing the amount you drink. Bupropion can also cause seizures in people who drink a lot of alcohol and then suddenly quit drinking when they start using the medication.

Bupropion may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be alert.

Bupropion side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction to bupropion: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

You may have changes in thinking or behavior while taking Zyban to help you quit smoking. If you have any of the following symptoms, stop taking Zyban and call your doctor right away:

  • mood or behavior changes, unusual thoughts or feelings;
  • feeling anxious, restless, or depressed;
  • agitation, hostility, aggression;
  • impulsive or risk-taking behavior;
  • confusion, paranoia, hallucinations, panic; or
  • thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself.
  • Report any new or worsening symptoms to your doctor.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

a seizure (convulsions);

a manic episode – racing thoughts, increased energy, reckless behavior, feeling extremely happy or irritable, talking more than usual, severe problems with sleep;

blurred vision, tunnel vision, eye pain or swelling, or seeing halos around lights;

fast heartbeats;

severe skin reactionfever, sore throat, swelling in your face or tongue, burning in your eyes, skin pain, followed by a red or purple skin rash that spreads (especially in the face or upper body) and causes blistering and peeling.

Common bupropion side effects may include:

  • dry mouth, nausea, stomach pain;
  • headache, dizziness, ringing in your ears;
  • vision changes;
  • loss of interest in sex;
  • sore throat, muscle pain;
  • mild itching or skin rash, increased sweating, increased urination; or
  • changes in appetite, weight loss or gain.
  • Immediate release tablets:
  • Initial dose: 100 mg orally twice a day.

Maintenance dose: The dosage may be increased in 75 to 100 mg/day increments not more often than every 3 days up to the usual maintenance dose of 100 mg orally 3 times a day. The maximum dose is 450 mg/day, given in 4 divided doses; bupropion should be discontinued if there is not an adequate response to this dose. Single doses should not exceed 150 mg.

Sustained release tablets:

Initial dose: 150 mg orally once a day in the morning.

Maintenance dose: After at least 4 days, the dose may be increased to 100 to 150 mg twice a day. If there is not adequate improvement after several weeks, the dose may be increased to a maximum of 200 mg twice a day.

Extended release tablets (Wellbutrin XL):

Initial dose: 150 mg orally once a day in the morning.

Maintenance dose: After at least 4 days, the dose may be increased to 300 mg once a day. If there is not adequate improvement after several weeks, the dose may be increased to a maximum of 450 mg once a day in the morning.

Extended release tablets (Aplenzin):

Initial dose: 174 mg orally once a day in the morning (equivalent to 150 mg bupropion HCl).

Maintenance dose: After at least 4 days, the dose may be increased to 348 mg once a day (equivalent to 300 mg bupropion HCl). If there is not adequate improvement after several weeks, the dose may be increased to a maximum of 522 mg once a day in the morning (equivalent to 450 mg bupropion HCl).

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