Wellbutrin® Withdrawal Symptoms & Timeline

Wellbutrin® Withdrawal Symptoms & Timeline
Amanda Stevens

Written By

Amanda Stevens
Dr. Po-Chang Hsu -

Medically Reviewed By:

Dr. Po-Chang Hsu

Last Medically Reviewed on February 22, 2024

  • Wellbutrin® is a medication used to treat depression and seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
  • While Wellbutrin® isn’t as addictive as other controlled substances, it can lead to dependence when taken over longer periods of time.
  • Withdrawal symptoms of Wellbutrin® include headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, excessive fatigue, and insomnia.
  • The timeline for Wellbutrin® withdrawal symptoms can vary, but they typically begin within 24 hours of the last dose and can last several weeks, depending on factors like dosage and duration of use.

Depression can be a serious and debilitating condition that not only affects how a person feels but can also impact their physical health. While there are some helpful medications to treat depression, such as Wellbutrin®, many people may be unaware of the potential side effects that can come with taking it.

While understanding potential Wellbutrin® withdrawal symptoms and timelines is important, the decision to use this medication should also involve consideration of its efficacy, potential side effects, individual health conditions, and consultation with a healthcare professional.

Wellbutrin® Withdrawal Symptoms & Timeline

What is Wellbutrin® ?

Wellbutrin® is a medication used to treat depression and seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and help quit smoking. It is an antidepressant drug sold under the brand name Bupropion[1].

Wellbutrin®, unlike other antidepressants, falls under the aminoketones drug classification. This medication works by boosting the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain, two crucial neurotransmitters that regulate mood and energy levels.

Wellbutrin® is primarily used to treat major depressive disorder and seasonal affective disorder. While it may be used off-label for conditions such as ADHD, it is not typically used for anxiety or bipolar disorder. The effectiveness of Wellbutrin® varies from person to person, and it generally takes several weeks to see full results.

Wellbutrin® has a unique side effect profile compared to other antidepressants, with certain risks and side effects that may not be lower overall but different. Although side effects can occur, typical side effects such as dry mouth, constipation, and insomnia are generally mild and manageable. Regular blood pressure monitoring is recommended when taking Wellbutrin®, as it may cause an increase in blood pressure.

Is Wellbutrin® Addictive?

Wellbutrin® is considered to have a low potential for abuse and addiction compared to substances classified as controlled substances, such as opioids or benzodiazepines. Unlike opioids or benzodiazepines, Wellbutrin® does not produce a euphoric high or create cravings.

However, it can lead to dependence when taken consistently over an extended period. Discontinuing Wellbutrin® suddenly can lead to discontinuation symptoms, which may include irritability, anxiety, agitation, and insomnia, among others. It is essential to have a healthcare provider’s guidance when tapering off the medication gradually.

Signs and Symptoms of Wellbutrin® Withdrawal

If you are taking Wellbutrin® and considering ending your treatment, you must be aware of the potential withdrawal symptoms. While not everyone experiences withdrawal symptoms, those often report feeling uncomfortable and possibly even experiencing health issues.

Here are some common signs and symptoms of Wellbutrin® withdrawal[2] to be aware of:

Physical Symptoms

  • Sweating
  • Digestive problems
  • insomnia
  • Tremors
  • Restless legs
  • Numbness

Emotional Symptoms

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Agitation
  • Bouts of Anger
  • Mood Swings
  • Depression

It’s worth noting that these symptoms can vary in severity, depending on how long you’ve been taking Wellbutrin®, how much you take, and other individual factors. While the severity and duration of Wellbutrin® withdrawal symptoms can vary, they are typically mild and short-lived. Most people experience symptoms that last from a few days to a few weeks, with severe or prolonged symptoms being less common.

Wellbutrin® Withdrawal Timeline

To comprehend the duration of Wellbutrin® withdrawal symptoms, it’s crucial to consider the medication’s timeline. The timeline for Wellbutrin® withdrawal can vary, but symptoms usually start within 24 hours after the last dose. They can last several weeks, depending on individual factors such as dosage and duration of use.

Here is what you may experience if you are discontinuing Wellbutrin® [3]:

Days 1-3

During drug withdrawal, you may experience mild symptoms like headaches, nausea, dizziness, and fatigue in the initial few days. However, these symptoms are easily manageable with over-the-counter pain relievers, proper rest, and hydration. Adequate hydration is crucial during this time as it helps flush the drug out of your system.

Days 4-7

By the fourth day of withdrawal, expect mood swings, irritability, anxiety, body aches, and chills. These symptoms can be challenging to manage and are more severe than those experienced during the first few days of withdrawal. You should seek guidance from a healthcare professional to explore management options.

Days 8-14

During the second week of withdrawal, you may have trouble sleeping and experience vivid dreams and increased depression. To combat insomnia, relax before bedtime, like reading a book, taking a warm bath, or practicing relaxation exercises. If your depression worsens, don’t delay seeking additional clinical interventions.

Days 15-28

By the third week of withdrawal, your symptoms should dramatically improve. But you may still struggle with lingering symptoms like fatigue, anxiety, and irritability. Your symptoms will gradually lessen as your body adapts to functioning without the drug.

After Day 28

After four weeks, most people should feel like their withdrawal symptoms have disappeared. Yet, some might experience prolonged withdrawal symptoms that can last several months. How someone recovers from Wellbutrin® withdrawal depends on the individual. It is essential to always work closely with a healthcare professional to ensure the safe management of your symptoms.

Treatment Options for Wellbutrin® Addiction

Don’t let withdrawal symptoms from Wellbutrin® stop your progress. Seeking professional treatment is critical to managing these symptoms and staying on track for a full recovery. With a range of treatment options tailored to your unique needs, you can successfully navigate any potential short-term discomfort experienced during detoxification.

Below are some treatment options you can explore:

Medically Assisted Detoxification

During a medically assisted detoxification process, a doctor or nurse will assess your withdrawal symptoms and provide medication to ease their intensity. This helps make the withdrawal process more comfortable and ensures that any underlying medical issues are addressed during treatment.

Residential Treatment

Inpatient or residential treatment can be beneficial for individuals with severe withdrawal symptoms or those who need a structured environment to manage their medication discontinuation. However, it is important to note that Wellbutrin® is not typically associated with severe addiction akin to substances like opioids or benzodiazepines. By isolating patients from triggers and stressors of the outside world, they can focus entirely on their recovery.

Patients participate in several therapy types, including individual, group, and cognitive-behavioral. This option for treatment is ideal for those who seek a clear path to recovery with maximum support at all times.

Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient treatment is the perfect solution for patients who require treatment without sacrificing their routine. Unlike inpatient care, patients can attend therapy sessions and maintain work and home commitments.

Although less intense than other therapy types, outpatient treatment provides patients the necessary tools to recover. With personalized one-on-one therapy, group therapy, and behavioral modification therapy, patients receive quality care within their busy schedules.

Support Groups

Support groups are an excellent treatment option for individuals in recovery. They provide a safe place for individuals to share their experiences, connect with others, and receive peer support. For example, Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and Smart Recovery offer a welcoming environment where patients can learn coping strategies and techniques to help them stay sober.

Holistic Treatment

Holistic approaches to treatment can also be effective in Wellbutrin® addiction treatment. Holistic practices typically consider the patient’s mental, physical, and spiritual aspects. The treatment may include yoga, meditation, art therapy, and acupuncture.

Patients who respond well to these therapies may see improved mood, reduced anxiety, and better overall health.

Find More Information About Potential Side Effects and Withdrawal Symptoms of Prescription Drugs

To learn more about the withdrawal symptoms and side effects of their prescription drugs, check out these additional resources.

What is Wellbutrin® ?

Wellbutrin®  treats depression and seasonal affective disorder and helps with smoking cessation by reducing the urge to smoke.

How does Wellbutrin® work?

Wellbutrin®  works by increasing the amount of norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain, which helps to balance mood and regulate emotions. When struggling with depression or other mental health issues, the brain is low in these neurotransmitters, and Wellbutrin®  helps to restore them.

What are the potential side effects of Wellbutrin® ?

Wellbutrin®  can cause common side effects like insomnia, dry mouth, headaches, and nausea. However, it’s essential to be aware that more serious side effects can strike, especially if you take a larger dose than prescribed. 

 

Seizures, chest pain, and high blood pressure are examples of more severe side effects, and you should contact your doctor immediately if you experience any of them.

How long does Wellbutrin® take to work?

Although it may take up to four weeks for Wellbutrin®  to have its maximum effect, some patients may feel symptoms improve within the first one or two weeks. However, remember to follow the prescription and take note of possible side effects. Consult your doctor if any unwanted symptoms occur during treatment.

Can Wellbutrin® cause weight loss or weight gain?

Wellbutrin® ‘s effects on weight can vary widely from person to person. While some may experience weight loss, others might gain weight as a side effect. The side effects of Wellbutrin®  are not consistent for everyone.

Are there any medications or supplements that should not be taken with Wellbutrin® ?

Users should be cautious when taking Wellbutrin® , as it could interact with certain medications like monoamine oxidase inhibitors and opioids. Even other drugs or supplements that increase dopamine levels can lead to side effects. Before taking Wellbutrin® , it’s essential to talk with your doctor about all medications and supplements in use.

We take our music-focused treatment for addiction very seriously, so we are going to hold our content to the same precision standards. Recovery Unplugged’s editorial process involves our editing safeguard and our ideals. Read our Editorial Process.

Sources


[1] MedlinePlus. (2018, February 15). Bupropion: MedlinePlus Drug Information. https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a695033.html

[2] Osborn, C. O. (2023, November 3). How Long Does Withdrawal From Wellbutrin Last? Verywell Mind. https://www.verywellmind.com/wellbutrin-withdrawal-symptoms-timeline-treatment-4176725

[3] Berigan, T. R., & Harazin, J. S. (1999). Bupropion-Associated Withdrawal Symptoms: A Case Report. Primary Care Companion to The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 1(2), 50–51. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC181057/

Amanda Stevens

Amanda is a prolific medical content writer specializing in eating disorders and addiction treatment. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Purdue University with a B.S. in Social Work.

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