Wellbutrin for ADHD: Usage and Effectiveness

March 1, 2021


ADHD is a mental condition that affects both children and adults. It begins in childhood and persists into adulthood. The disorder disrupts the patients’ attention and makes it difficult for them to focus. 

Nonetheless, the pharmaceutical industry provides medications such as Wellbutrin to help those suffering from the condition. If you are looking into the use of Wellbutrin for ADHD, continue reading for details on dosage, usage, and medication effectiveness.

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What Is ADHD?

ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is a mental condition that causes cognitive and behavioral symptoms such as inattention and impulsivity. It affects an individual’s personal, social, and work-life, which might interfere with one’s relationships and productivity. 

The symptoms of ADHD include the following. One might have one of the symptoms or more:

  • Short attention span
  • Lack of focus 
  • Inattention
  • Excessive activity
  • Impulsivity 


What Is Wellbutrin?

Wellbutrin is a non-stimulant, anti-depressant medication that helps in treating ADHD. Note that the FDA has not approved the use of Wellbutrin for ADHD. Nonetheless, doctors prescribe it as an off-label treatment option.

When a drug has the ‘off-label’ tag, it means there is scientific proof that the medication might alleviate the given condition, even if the FDA has not approved it for that use yet. 

While stimulant drugs have been found to be the most effective for treating ADHD, some patients do not respond to them as well as others do. Therefore, Wellbutrin is an alternative, among other non-stimulant medications. It is also ideal for people who cannot tolerate stimulant drugs due to their side effects.

Besides, if you have a health condition that does not allow you to use stimulant drugs, Wellbutrin for ADHD might help improve your focus and attention without endangering your wellbeing. Stimulant drugs worsen health issues such as sleep disorders and heart conditions. 


Causes of ADHD


Wellbutrin is an appropriate ADHD treatment instead of stimulant drugs if:

  • Your body cannot handle the side effects of stimulants.
  • Stimulant medications have not helped you manage your symptoms.
  • You have a health condition that stimulants worsen.
  • You are dealing with a substance use problem.
  • You are addicted to nicotine.

Wellbutrin is the brand name for bupropion, an anti-depressant. Below is a bit of history about the medication. 

  • In 1985, the FDA approved Wellbutrin for treating depression
  • However, its high dosage caused epileptic seizures.
  • The drug was removed from the market from 1986-1989.
  • It returned in 1989 with a lower maximum dose.
  • In 2016, it was approved as the first medication to treat the seasonal affective disorder (SAD). 

However, Wellbutrin for ADHD research is ongoing, and the results are promising. One study discovered that the medication significantly lessened the symptoms of ADHD. 


Does Wellbutrin Help With ADHD? 

Wellbutrin is an anti-depressant. However, it can also assist with managing ADHD. Studies have shown it to have benefits for the condition, although more research is ongoing. 

The medication works by ensuring dopamine and norepinephrine are available to the brain for longer. It inhibits the two substances’ reuptake and leads to better focus and concentration, which relieves ADHD symptoms. Wellbutrin can be used with another ADHD medication or on its own, with or without food. 


How Long Does It Take for Wellbutrin to Work for ADHD?

Stimulant medications start working within an hour after ingestion. Wellbutrin is a non-stimulant drug and can take 3-7days to begin relieving ADHD symptoms. However, it can take 4-6 weeks for you to feel the drug’s full relief.  

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Is Wellbutrin Similar to Adderall?

No, Wellbutrin is not similar to Adderall. Wellbutrin is a non-stimulant anti-depressant, while Adderall is a stimulant medication. However, non-stimulant medications such as Wellbutrin are not as effective as stimulant versions like Adderall. 

Adderall is one of the many stimulant medications, which are most tested and widely accepted for treating ADHD in children and adults. Nevertheless, stimulant drugs have a higher risk for misuse among adults and teenagers. Non-stimulants are less addictive. 



There are three forms of Wellbutrin. They include Wellbutrin, Wellbutrin SR (sustained-release), and Wellbutrin XL (extended-release). The XL type is usually prescribed for ADHD, as it enhances effectiveness throughout the day and reduces the medication’s side effects. 

Wellbutrin comes in a 100mg pill, which you should take thrice per day. The SR pill has 150mg of the Wellbutrin formula, and ingesting one or two days is enough. However, the XL pill has 300mg of the drug, and you should take one pill daily in the morning. The dosage can be lower depending on the assessment your doctor makes. The maximum daily dose is 450mg. 

However, using Wellbutrin for ADHD in children under 18 years is not recommended. Its effectiveness and safety require more research to provide concrete evidence that the drug is safe for children. 

Your body slowly absorbs Wellbutrin XL and SR over several hours, so the drug formula is present in your bloodstream consistently. The SR version of the medication lasts for 12 hours in your body, and you should take it twice a day. However, the XL type lasts for 24 hours, and you should take it only once per day. 


Precautions About Wellbutrin


Side Effects of Wellbutrin for ADHD 

Like any other medication, Wellbutrin comes with its share of downsides. The likely side effects of the medication include the following: 

  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety 
  • Agitation
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Tremors
  • Restlessness 
  • Loss of appetite
  • Headache

If you are pregnant or breasting, do not use Wellbutrin. Consult your doctor for guidance on which medications you should use to manage ADHD symptoms. Besides, if you are taking other medications or have a medical condition, speak to your physician before using Wellbutrin, as it interacts with several drugs. 

A person with a history of eating disorders or seizures and people with bipolar disorder should not use Wellbutrin. The Wellbutrin label has a black box FDA warning, which usually depicts that a given medication may have severe or life-endangering risks. Wellbutrin has an increased risk of suicidal behavior and thoughts among teens, children, and young adults.

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Closing Thoughts 

Wellbutrin might not be as effective as stimulant medications for ADHD, but it is helpful for many patients. It is not as addictive as stimulant drugs, and studies have shown that it helps relieve ADHD symptoms. With the guidance of your doctor, Wellbutrin can be used with other ADHD medications. 

Nonetheless, it has side effects like any other medication and is not approved for those under 18 years old. If you are breasting or pregnant, do not use this medication. Consult your clinician about using other medications. If you have ADHD, reach out to us at Mango Clinic. We have experienced, expert doctors to help you get the right treatment for ADHD and enable you to live a healthier life.

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