Wellbutrin is a brand of Bupropion used to treat depression and seasonal affective disorder (SAD; episodes of depression that occur at the same time each year usually in the fall and winter but rarely may occur in the spring or summer months) Bupropion is also sold under the brand names Zyban, Aplenzin among others.
Bupropion (Zyban) is used to help people stop smoking. Bupropion is in a class of medications called antidepressants. It works by increasing certain types of activity in the brain.
Wellbutrin may also be helpful when prescribed “off-label” for bipolar disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD, and sexual dysfunction due to SSRI antidepressants). “Off-label” means that it hasn’t been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for this condition. Your mental health provider should justify his or her thinking in recommending an “off-label” treatment. They should be clear about the limits of the research around that medication and if there are any other options.
How should Wellbutrin be used?
Bupropion comes as a tablet and a sustained-release or extended-release (long-acting) tablet to take by mouth. The regular tablet (Wellbutrin) is usually taken three times a day, with doses at least 6 hours apart, or four times a day, with doses at least 4 hours apart. The sustained-release tablet (Wellbutrin SR, Zyban) is usually taken twice a day, with doses at least 8 hours apart. The extended-release tablet (Aplenzin, Wellbutrin XL) is usually taken once daily in the morning; doses of the extended-release tablet should be taken at least 24 hours apart. When bupropion is used to treat seasonal affective disorder, it is usually taken once a day in the morning beginning in the early fall, continuing through the winter, and stopping in the early spring. Sometimes a lower dose of bupropion is taken for 2 weeks before the medication is stopped. Take bupropion with food if the medication upsets your stomach. If you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, do not take bupropion too close to bedtime. Take bupropion at around the same time(s) every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take bupropion exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Swallow the sustained-release and extended-release tablets whole; do not split, chew, or crush them.
Your doctor will probably start you on a low dose of bupropion and gradually increase your dose.
It may take 4 weeks or longer before you feel the full benefit of bupropion. Continue to take bupropion even if you feel well. Do not stop taking bupropion without talking to your doctor. Your doctor may decrease your dose gradually.
Why do people abuse Wellbutrin?
People abuse Wellbutrin because it appears capable of producing stimulant-like effects if taken in doses far higher than those prescribed for medical purposes 2,6. The maximum daily dose of bupropion is 450 mg, but reported cases of abuse have involved ingesting from 600 mg to 1200 mg of the drug.
Most people who abuse Wellbutrin take this drug by crushing and snorting (insufflating) the pills. This route of ingestion delivers a high dose of bupropion directly to the bloodstream and defeats the slow-release mechanism built in to some types of bupropion tablets (e.g., Wellbutrin XL, Forfivo XL, Aplenzin). Other reported methods of bupropion abuse include taking more pills than prescribed, and even dissolving pills in water and then injecting the solution.
Individuals who’ve abused the drug have described the high from bupropion abuse as similar to that of stimulants such as cocaine or amphetamine. In at least one case, a man complained of hearing multiple voices and told clinic staff the voices started when he began abusing bupropion.
Some other common signs and symptoms of stimulant abuse include:
• Sense of exhilaration.
• Increased sense of self-esteem.
• Heightened energy and activity.
• Loss of appetite.
• Long periods of wakefulness/insomnia.
In addition to displaying the physical effects of stimulant abuse while high, bupropion abusers may also engage in unusual behaviors connected with obtaining the drug or hiding use from others. These may include requesting Wellbutrin specifically from a physician despite never being prescribed the drug previously or obtaining multiple prescriptions from different doctors (doctor shopping).
Can snorting Wellbutrin kill you?
Yes, Wellbutrin side effects are very common, there have been reports of 19 deaths (including 1 case of liver failure, 1 case of myocarditis, 3 cases of suicide), 172 reports of seizures or convulsions and 37 reports of serum-sickness-like reactions according to a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, a peer-reviewed general medical journal published by the Canadian Medical Association (CMA).
Recently, a 16-year-old Maryland boy suffered a seizure after snorting six crushed tablets of the antidepressant Wellbutrin, doctors say. Dr. Christopher J. Welsh, a University of Maryland psychiatrist who treated the boy, says the youth told him several of his friends had also tried to crush and snort the mood pill. One even injected the drug, which acts somewhat like a stimulant.