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Wellbutrin for Bipolar Disorder: Everything You Need to Know

Wellbutrin xl 300 mg

Bipolar disorder is a complex cognitive health condition described by severe mood fluctuations, ranging from depressive lows to manic highs. Addressing bipolar disorder often involves a combination of therapy, lifestyle changes, and medication. One medication that has gained attention for its potential benefits in treating bipolar depression is Wellbutrin (bupropion). Research suggests that it can be an effective treatment option, but there are side effects and precautions to consider before you start taking this medication. Keep reading the blog to learn more about the beginning guidelines of Wellbutrin xl 300 mg for bipolar disorder, potential risks, and interactions you should be aware of.

What Is Wellbutrin?

Wellbutrin, also known by its generic name bupropion, is an atypical antidepressant. Unlike typical antidepressants that work in one specific way, Wellbutrin 300 mg affects multiple neurotransmitters in the brain. It comes in two tablet forms: sustained release (SR) and extended-release (XL). While Wellbutrin is FDA-approved to treat depression in adults, it is not specifically approved for bipolar disorder.

How Does Wellbutrin Help Bipolar Disorder?

Wellbutrin increases levels of norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain. These chemicals play an essential part in managing mood and emotion. For individuals with bipolar disorder, stabilizing these neurotransmitters can help regulate and control symptoms of depression. Mood changes with bipolar disorder may include depressive episodes or chronic depression. Bupropion stabilizes levels of norepinephrine and dopamine. Doing so can help people with bipolar disorder manage and reduce symptoms of depression.

A 2023 trial published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that continuing adjunctive antidepressant therapy with escitalopram or bupropion XL for 52 weeks post-bipolar I disorder depression remission may reduce mood episode and depression recurrence risk compared to switching to placebo at 8 weeks.

How to Start Wellbutrin Treatment for Bipolar Disorder?

Although Wellbutrin isn’t FDA-approved for bipolar disorder, if you’re beginning treatment, your healthcare professional will recommend a low dose and slowly increase it to minimize side effects. Initially, take no more than 200 mg/day, divided into two 100 mg doses spaced 12 hours apart. This may rise to a target of Wellbutrin 300 mg/day by the fourth day, taken as 100 mg doses at minimum six hours apart. The maximum daily dose is 450 mg, split into three 150 mg doses. If you experience agitation, restlessness, or insomnia, lower the dose and increase gradually. These side effects typically subside over time. 

Keep in mind that you may not notice an immediate improvement in your depression. It could take two to three months before you start experiencing the antidepressant effects of the medication.

Potential Risks of Wellbutrin for Bipolar Disorder

In some cases, Wellbutrin may cause serious side effects. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately.

Phase Shifts

Phase shifting switching between states within bipolar disorder, which are:

  • Mania (intense emotional highs)
  • Hypomania (mild form of mania)
  • Depression (overwhelming sadness).
  • Mixed episodes (combinations of manic and depressive symptoms).

According to a 2019 study published in the Turkish Journal of Psychiatry, bupropion can trigger manic or hypomanic episodes in people with bipolar depression. Importantly, no causal relationship has been demonstrated between bupropion and mania.

Currently, there is no clear evidence that bupropion, the active drug in Wellbutrin, can cause phase shifting. Therefore, it’s important to discuss the benefits and risks of starting Wellbutrin with your healthcare professional. You should tell your doctor if you experience phase shifting while taking Wellbutrin. In case alternative treatments are needed, they can recommend them.

Suicidal Thoughts or Behaviors

It is possible for some people to experience suicidal thoughts or behaviors while taking Wellbutrin. It is more likely to occur when starting Wellbutrin or changing the dosage of the drug.

Suicidal thoughts and behavior can be exacerbated by antidepressants, including bupropion, in adolescents who suffer from depression.

Unusual Thoughts or Behaviors

Delusions, hallucinations, and confusion are some of the unusual thoughts or behaviors that may occur. Some people may also experience these symptoms after drinking alcohol. Therefore, it is best to avoid or minimize the consumption of alcohol while taking Wellbutrin 300 mg. Whether you can drink alcohol while taking Wellbutrin should be discussed with your healthcare professional.

Be sure to discuss all possible risks and side effects with your doctor before taking Wellbutrin. Taking certain steps to manage your risk can be recommended by them.

Possible Interactions with Wellbutrin for Bipolar Disorder

There are some products that may interact with Wellbutrin. You should tell your doctor about any medications, supplements, or herbal products you are taking. Also, Wellbutrin may affect your body’s reaction to these medications.

The following medications may interact with Wellbutrin, although they are not an exhaustive list:

  • Antipsychotics
  • Heart rhythm medications
  • Drugs that increase seizure risk
  • Medication that increases dopamine levels

Wellbutrin can also interact with other antidepressants, including:

  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
  • Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs)
  • Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)

How to Safely Discontinue Wellbutrin for Bipolar Disorder?

You should always speak to your doctor or therapist before stopping Wellbutrin. If you stop taking the medication prematurely, you may experience depressive symptoms again.

Antidepressants may cause physical and mental effects if you stop taking them or lower their dosage too quickly. As your body readjusts, these symptoms may disappear.

After stopping an antidepressant like Wellbutrin xl 300 mg, you might experience these symptoms:

  • Excessive sweating or flushing
  • Sleep problems
  • Digestive issues
  • Problems with balance or movement
  • Uncommon feelings, such as ear ringing or a sense of a “zap” in your head
  • Mood changes, including anxiety or irritability
  • Feeling depressed
  • Suicidal ideas

If your bipolar disorder symptoms exacerbate or you encounter serious side effects, call your doctor right away. They may change your dosage or look for alternate medications. Additionally, if you are willing to buy Wellbutrin from Canada, then look no further than Polar Bear Meds, the best Canadian online pharmacy. Here, you get 100% genuine medicine at the most exclusive price range with convenient delivery.

To Sum Up

Wellbutrin can be a valuable adjunctive treatment option for managing bipolar disorder-related depression. Beginning with a low dose and slowly titrating upwards while being mindful of potential side effects and interactions is essential. Research suggests its effectiveness in reducing mood episodes and depression recurrence, as highlighted in the NEJM trial. However, be cautious of rare but serious side effects such as phase shifting and suicidal thoughts. Always consult with your healthcare professional before you initiate or discontinue Wellbutrin to ensure safe and effective management of your bipolar disorder symptoms.

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