How Long Does Wellbutrin (Bupropion) Take to Work?

September 13, 2021


Wellbutrin, a brand name for Bupropion, is a prescription medication for depression treatment. It is also FDA-approved as one of the first-line antidepressants prescribed for seasonal affective disorder (SAD), major depressive disorder (MDD), and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Wellbutrin also has some off-label uses like treating social anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, nerve pain, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

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Let’s discuss how Wellbutrin acts, its efficacy, and how much time it takes to kick in.

What Is Bupropion (Wellbutrin)?

As discussed above, Bupropion is an antidepressant medication for treating depression and is sold under the brand name Wellbutrin. The antidepressant has on and off-label uses, including helping patients with smoking cessation.

Wellbutrin is a non-controlled substance, so it cannot cause addiction.


How Long Does It Take for Wellbutrin to Work?

You may need some time for Bupropion to kick in. Generally, it takes about one to two weeks to start benefiting from Wellbutrin. However, this may vary depending on age, body mass, sex, food intake, genetics, metabolic rate, and hepatic function, among other factors.

There are some physical signs that will show when the drug is working. This includes improvements in sleep, appetite, and energy within the first two weeks of taking Wellbutrin.


Conditions Treated by Wellbutrin


How Much Time Does It Take for Wellbutrin XL to Kick in?

Bupropion XL is available in 150 mg and 300 mg tablets and should only be taken once a day. Again, it takes one to two weeks to feel the effects of Wellbutrin XL. However, this period may vary slightly depending on the strength of Wellbutrin you take. For example, those taking Wellbutrin XL 300 mg start feeling the effects in 1-1 ½ weeks.

Wellbutrin Side Effects and Interactions

Bupropion is a beneficial medication when taken as directed by your doctor. However, it is possible for some people to experience different adverse reactions from taking Wellbutrin. This is common even with other medications.

Some side effects of Bupropion are more frequent than others. Some common ones include:

  • Headache.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Weight loss.
  • Insomnia.
  • Constipation.
  • Dizziness.
  • Restlessness.
  • Sore throat.
  • Fast heartbeat.

Wellbutrin can also raise your blood pressure, so check it regularly and tell your doctor if you notice anything unusual.

You do not need to do anything to get rid of these side effects as they usually go away on their own after some time. Your doctor may also suggest preventive activities to reduce the likelihood of them occurring while taking Wellbutrin.

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There is another category of severe and rare side effects from taking Wellbutrin. They can be serious and require urgent medical attention. They include:

  • Skin rash.
  • Eye pain, redness, or swelling.
  • Ringing in the ears.
  • Mental health issues including mood changes, panic attacks, worsened anxiety, and depression.
  • Confusion.
  • Hypertension.
  • Vision issues.
  • Seizure.

There is a potential risk of Wellbutrin causing suicidal thoughts or behavior in children, teens, and young adults up to age 24. Particularly when starting Wellbutrin or adjusting the dose.

If you notice that serious side effects like the ones above occur, talk to your healthcare provider right away. They could help adjust the dosage of Wellbutrin or prescribe another medicine that will be more suitable.

Wellbutrin Interactions

In addition to a number of adverse reactions, Wellbutrin may also interact with other drugs when taken together. It’s therefore essential to learn about drug interactions and to avoid certain medications while taking Bupropion.

Some of the medications that Wellbutrin may interact with include herbal products, over-the-counter medications, and health medications. The interactions of Bupropion with other medicines may make it less effective or increase its amount in the body.

For instance, Bupropion and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) — a type of antidepressant medication, — could cause dangerous interactions when taken together. The interaction could still happen even if you took MAOI in the last 14 days. Therefore inform the doctor of all the previous medical history when receiving a prescription for Wellbutrin for depression.

Other medications that could interact with Wellbutrin include beta-blockers, theophylline, dopamine precursors, and blood thinners.

It is uncertain if taking Wellbutrin during pregnancy is safe. Research on animals has shown negative effects on the fetus, but there is no sufficient information on its impact on humans. Before taking Wellbutrin while pregnant, it is important to carefully talk to a medical professional as the potential benefits could potentially be greater than the risks.


Precautions About Wellbutrin


How Quickly Does It Take for Wellbutrin to Work?

Does Wellbutrin work right away? Although you may see changes and improvements within the first two weeks, it takes about 6 to 8 weeks for Wellbutrin to treat depression fully. However, this period may be more or less depending on how the body reacts to the medication.

It’s worth noting that Wellbutrin is regulated just like other antidepressants. It’s also vital to get instructions from a healthcare professional before you start taking the medication. Usually, the doctors recommend beginning at a minimum dosage of Wellbutrin and continue increasing it with time under medical guidance. If you have a history of kidney disease, kidney problems, or liver issues, your doctor will advise you to lower the dose of Wellbutrin. Avoid taking Wellbutrin more than the prescribed dose as this may increase or worsen the adverse reactions.

Bupropion (Wellbutrin) comes in three forms: sustained-release (SR), immediate-release (IR), and extended-release tablets (ER). Find out from your doctor which one is suitable for the treatment of depression.

Do not stop Bupropion treatment halfway until you check with your MD, even if you don’t see any improvements.

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Wellbutrin causes minimal interactions with other drugs, but it’s still important to talk to your doctor about your medical history before using it. Patients, their families, and caregivers should be aware of potential signs of anxiety, restlessness, irritability, aggressiveness, and insomnia to know when to contact a doctor. Alcohol and drug abuse could increase the severity of Wellbutrin adverse reactions in a person, leading to severe seizures, suicidal thoughts, and so on.

If you still have any questions or concerns about your condition, reach us for further guidelines on your therapy and managing your symptoms. We offer specialized services, including weight loss treatment, anxiety and depression treatment, ADD/ADHD treatment, and other treatments for medical conditions.

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