Five Differences Between Wellbutrin and Prozac

December 10, 2021
Depression Treatment
Five Differences Between Wellbutrin and Prozac

There are many types and brands of drugs that are used to treat depression. Wellbutrin and Prozac are two types of medication or antidepressants to treat depression. These two drugs that are in a wide spectrum of antidepressants are two of the most commonly prescribed drugs. A look at each one of them will illustrate why they are so popular and what are the differences between both of them.

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What Is Prozac?

Known by the generic name of Fluoxetine, Prozac is an antidepressant that is used to treat not only depression but also other mental disorders. This includes panic disorder, bulimia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). It is among the class of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) which are drugs that are used to increase the levels of serotonin in the brain. Prozac is prescribed depending on the specifics of a patient in terms of the condition they have and its severity. Generally speaking, it is prescribed as following as starter doses for different conditions:

  • 20mg per day for major depression
  • 20mg per day for OCD
  • 60mg for bulimia
  • 10mg for panic disorder

What Is Wellbutrin?

Known by the generic name of Bupropion, Wellbutrin is used to treat depression and seasonal affective disorder (SAD). It can also be prescribed to help one to stop smoking. Although the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved it, Wellbutrin is also prescribed to those who have sexual dysfunction that is triggered by the use of antidepressants and depression that is being treated along with bipolar disorder and obesity. It can also be prescribed to treat attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).


Wellbutrin is among the class of drugs that are known as norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitors (NDRI). These drugs work by blocking the transportation of norepinephrine and dopamine back into the brain cells that released them. This has the effect of availing a higher number of active neurotransmitters in the brain. Over time, these effects changes that help to relieve the symptoms of depression and other mental disorders that it is used to treat. Wellbutrin in the form of bupropion hydrochloride is available in three forms; extended-release (XL), sustained-release (SR), and immediate-release (IR). The different forms are typically prescribed as follows:

  • IR is taken twice or thrice a day with four to six hours in between doses. The typical dose is 100mg twice daily to 150mg thrice daily with the last dose being taken in the middle of the afternoon.
  • SR is typically taken once in the morning and once in mid-afternoon. The dosage ranges from 100mg to 200mg.
  • XL is usually taken once a day and this is specifically in the morning. The typical dose is 150mg to 450mg.
  • Another form of Wellbutrin is bupropion hydrobromide. This one is usually taken once daily in the morning in a dose of 174mg to 522mg.

What Are the Differences between Wellbutrin and Prozac?

While both Wellbutrin and Prozac are antidepressants, there are key differences between them. They are illustrated in the table below:

The Differences between Prozac and Wellbutrin
Prozac Wellbutrin
Prozac is an SSRI. Wellbutrin is an NDRI.
It is available in form of immediate, sustained, or extended release. It is available in the same strength.
The typical starting dosage is 20mg once daily depending on a patient’s specific condition. The typical starting dose is 100mg thrice daily depending on a patient’s specifics.
It can be prescribed to adults and children aged 8 years and above. It is prescribed to adults.
Prescribed for depression with bipolar 1, OCD, panic disorder, bulimia, ADHD, and Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). It is not prescribed for these conditions.

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The Side Effects of Prozac

Some patients who take Prozac have experienced side effects such as:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness
  • Nervousness
  • Fatigue
  • Excessive sweating
  • Sexual side effects include delayed ejaculation or reduced libido.

The other side effects tend to ease in the first week or two as the body adjusts to the drug. This is not the case with the sexual side effects that are not uncommon with all SSRI drugs that typically do not diminish over time. Additional medication may be prescribed to counter them.

Side Effects of Wellbutrin

Wellbutrin may cause side effects such as:

  • Sore throat
  • Headaches
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Constipation
  • Dry mouth
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Insomnia

These side effects often go away in a week or two. Wellbutrin does not cause sexual side effects. Other side effects that may also be experienced but that are less common include skin rash, stomach ache, ringing in the ears, anxiety, and eye problems like redness or blurred vision.

Which One Is More Effective between Wellbutrin and Prozac?

The answer to this question will be determined by your mental health care provider. It will depend on your specific condition, its severity, and your medical history including pre-existing conditions, or if the one you are currently being treated for is a recurring one. One double-blind comparison study found that both drugs were effective for treating depression without any severe side effects. A systematic review of the drugs found them to be safe and effective. It was also found that Wellbutrin has fewer side effects than SSRIs including weight gain and sexual side effects. Another review found that Prozac can be used to treat other mental disorders like OCD compared to a placebo.

Waiting to Help You at Mango Clinic

If you are in the area of Miami, Mango Clinic is the health care facility to visit to get the help you need. The resident team of mental health experts will diagnose your condition and create an effective treatment that may include a prescription for Prozac, Wellbutrin, or other drugs. If these cause side effects that persist, your dosage or prescription may be changed.

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