Wellbutrin (Bupropion) is a drug which is being used mainly to treat major depressive disorders as well as seasonal affective disorders. It is also used off-label for weight loss, chronic fatigue, sexual dysfunction. It can be used for quitting smoke, but it can’t be mixed with Zyban as therapy combination. It uses a different mechanism than most antidepressants. Unlike others which affect serotonin levels in the body, it acts as a norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitor (NDRI). It is considered to have fewer side effects, except the potential of causing seizures. It affects nicotinic receptors which are the main reason why this medicine is being used as a therapy to quit smoking. It can be used for ADHD as well (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder).
Most antidepressants which are prescribed for depression are SSRI, but since Wellbutrin causes lesser side effects, sometimes it is prescribed prior to SSRI’s. The drug effect depends not just on the drug ingredient and it will not act the same in every individual. Due to its function, some people may want to discontinue the drug from use, so they experience the symptoms with withdrawing it. There are some things you should be aware of if you’re planning to quit using Wellbutrin.
Factors Which Influence Withdrawal Symptoms
There are some common factors which influence on almost any drug withdrawal. These factors include the dosage used, the time span, frequency of usage, etc. It is important to state that because of these factors, not every person will experience the same symptoms when discontinuing the medicine.
The dose can be from 100 mg, 150 mg to 300 mg. It can be in a form of a subtype which includes three formats of a drug:
- Wellbutrin IR (Immediate Release)
- Wellbutrin SR (Sustained Release)
- Wellbutrin XL (Extended Release).
When using the drug in its highest dosage, it will have a higher impact on your body, so you’re going to experience stronger withdrawal symptoms. When on higher doses, it is extremely important to go by the tapering system which uses lesser doses to gradually decrease the levels of the drug in the body in order to quit in a stable condition and not to cause any sudden changes which can result in side effects. When it comes to subtypes, the IR (immediate release) has shorter effects. The SR and XL forms have longer effects. The SR is usually taken twice a day, whereas the XL form only once per day. Given the frequency of usage, the SR will be easier to cut the dose since you can just reduce the pills taken during the day.
Tapering is important when it comes to Wellbutrin withdrawal. It includes gradual reduction of the drug dosage to eliminate the possibility of stronger withdrawal symptoms. For example, if you were using 300 mg, you would slowly taper the dosage by 25 to 50 mg every 2 weeks. When it comes to subtypes, it is a bit harder to cut the dose which is for instance extended release. In that case, you should switch to the sustained release, and then the immediate release. Your doctor should provide you with a tapering plan including dosage and the time of tapering. Quitting cold turkey can result in the heavy occurrence of side effects of the drug withdrawal which can be hard to cope with. It is best to consult with a doctor about Wellbutrin withdrawal plan than to quit by yourself, especially cold turkey.
It does matter how long were you on a Wellbutrin. If you were taking it for a short period of time, i.e. for a few months, you will not experience major withdrawal symptoms even when quitting cold turkey. If you were taking Wellbutrin for over a few years, you may experience heavier withdrawal symptoms. This is due to drug levels in the system for which the body gets used to it. It takes longer to eliminate those levels from the body, so it is best to gradually taper the dosage with minimum possibility of major side effects.
Every individual reacts differently to a drug effect and also its withdrawal. Your body, the nervous system can act in such way that it results in none withdrawal symptoms. A social support can have also a great impact on withdrawal symptoms. Every individual has a different body, so it is completely normal to notice different symptoms among different people.
Wellbutrin Withdrawal Symptoms
There are some symptoms which can affect some people and others won’t. These are the most common ones among all people. Some will experience lethargy, anxiety, anger while others can have body aches and depression.
Fatigue is the feeling of weakness and not having enough energy. It can be such that you will feel extra sleepy and heavy to operate any everyday tasks. It will subside in a few weeks and there is nothing to worry about. This is mainly due to stop of inhibition of dopamine reuptake and norepinephrine effects.
Since this drug was used primarily as antidepressant, withdrawal of it will cause depression. It can be mild to a severe form until your body stabilizes. Some people note that they’ve experienced worse depression after the drug withdrawal than before they were taking it.
Most people feel anxious and nervous after the Wellbutrin withdrawal. It tends to increase with body aches and anger. When the anxiety gets to a point of a severe state, the person can get extremely angry and can feel like that for a few weeks. It is the worst in the beginning of discontinuing the drug.
You can start to feel your muscles hurt and your whole body can be in pain. It can last up to a few days, after which it subsides. Make sure to get some rest, eat healthily and even take some over-the-counter painkillers.
You can experience a feeling of “depersonalization”. This can be a side effect even during the drug effect which can prolong after its withdrawal. It can last for a few weeks after which it gets to your normal state. Don’t panic and be aware that it is just a drug symptom. It will pass over time.
Many people report they have felt strong headaches after the Wellbutrin withdrawal. It can be mild or up to a point of a migraine. It is best to rest, drink enough water, relax and take some painkillers if needed.
Some people reported having trouble sleeping after Wellbutrin withdrawal. It can be normal where your body’s trying to cope with changes and it’s going back to a normal state without the drug in the system. It will subside after some time.
Lack Of Coordination
You can sense your coordination and your task performance to lack after you withdrawal the Wellbutrin. It can be dangerous to drive or maneuver the heavy machines.
Some people can experience appetite increase after Wellbutrin withdrawal. This is due to an effect while taking the medicine, where you have reduced appetite. It will go back to its normal state after you stop taking it.
This is one of the heavy symptoms which can be linked with Wellbutrin withdrawal. It can be dangerous, especially if you’re susceptible to seizures, which is why you should not take this drug in the first place. Consult with your doctor prior to its use.
How Long Does Wellbutrin Stay In Your System?
Wellbutrin stays in your system for 5 days, and its metabolites can last up to 10 days after its elimination. This is why you can have a delay after Wellbutrin withdrawal before you experience any withdrawal symptoms. It subsides after 8 full weeks and among some people after nearly 3 months, depending on many factors.