Signs Wellbutrin is working (Easy to spot)

In this article, we are talking about the signs Wellbutrin is working. If you are interested in how antidepressants work and what to do if Wellbutrin is not working, keep reading.

What are the signs that Wellbutrin is working?

You will know that Wellbutrin is working when your symptoms will become less severe or will happen less often. You will slowly start feeling like yourself again. But you have to be patient, as it may take several weeks before starting to see the effects of Wellbutrin.

Wellbutrin, more commonly know as Bupropion, is an antidepressant drug that stimulates nerve transmission. It is authorized for the treatment of depression, but it is also available as an aid, along with motivational support, to quit smoking, reducing the withdrawal syndrome that is felt in the first days of quitting.

In cases of depression, treatments should last for periods of more than 6 months, and you should be aware that the effect of the drug appears gradually, usually after 2 weeks, but may not be evident until after several weeks have elapsed.

If you notice that the symptoms do not improve with the dose that your doctor has indicated, let them know, but do not change the dose on your own, as you may overdose. 

It is also important that you do not stop bupropion or other antidepressant drugs suddenly. You could trigger a rebound effect, appearing intense symptomatology of depression. Consult with your doctor how you should suspend the drug.

Its use as a smoking cessation aid is aimed at people who are motivated to quit tobacco and highly dependent on nicotine. During the first week of administration, the patient can continue to smoke, but a quit date should be set within the first two weeks (preferably the second week) of treatment.

Its use as a smoking cessation aid is aimed at people who are motivated to quit tobacco and highly dependent on nicotine.

In both uses, the initial dose of bupropion is usually 150 mg/day with a subsequent increase to 300 mg/day, but always as directed by the prescribing physician. 

In the market, there are presentations in the form of prolonged-release tablets with both possible doses. The duration of treatment should not exceed 9 weeks.

What is Wellbutrin?

In the United States, Wellbutrin (also known as Bupropion) is already the most prescribed antidepressant. 

Wellbutrin was synthesized in 1969 by an American laboratory, and it was introduced in the country in 1985. Its experience was brief because a year later it was withdrawn from the market due to a significant incidence of seizures related to its consumption. It took three years for the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to re-approve it – for clinical use only and setting a maximum dose of 450 mg/day. 

Initially, it was marketed under the name of Amphebutamona. The prefix “amphe” was removed in 2000 when it was renamed Wellbutrin. The name is generic, in pharmacies it is marketed under very different brands: Odranal, Bupropion, Zyban, Budeprion, Prexaton, Elontril, Aplenzin.

What is its mechanism of action? 

Bupropion belongs to the group of Dopamine and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs.  Chemically it is a phenylethylamine. Their disinhibitory or stimulating actions are considered to be probably related to their structural similarity with powerful psychostimulatory molecules such as methcathinone and methamphetamine.

But, even if it keeps the scientific community in suspense for its possible “misuse”, it is not a drug. Its only two approved indications are the treatment of mild depression and smoking cessation. Yes, the famous Zyntabac that in 2007 became the great hope for repentant smokers had a good proportion of Bupropion among its assets.

Side effects of Wellbutrin

When taking Wellbutrin you have to have patience, because antidepressants do work. You’ll notice side effects like dizziness, dry mouth, headache, or changes in appetite sooner than its positive effects. That is why many people want to quit before even checking to see if they are doing something or not.

The most relevant adverse effect associated with bupropion treatment is the possible appearance of seizures, with an incidence of around 1 in 1,000 patients treated, mostly in those who present one or more risk factors for the development of a seizure episode, such as diabetic patients, in treatment with other antidepressants or antipsychotics or those who abuse alcohol.

Insomnia is a very common adverse event that can be reduced by avoiding taking the dose of Wellbutrin before bed (as long as there are at least 8 hours between doses).

Due to the possible risk of depression in people who quit smoking, even in those who do not use any medication to do so, it is advisable that you consult your doctor or pharmacist if you notice symptoms such as mood changes, irritability or other symptoms of depression.

And remember, always ask your prescriber or pharmacist, he will inform you about the side effects and doses of  Wellbutrin and any other questions you may have.

It is also necessary to mention that not all people react the same to antidepressants because each body is different and has different levels of adaptation. That is why there are also different types of antidepressants, which should only be diagnosed by a professional so that he prescribes the one that best suits your needs. 

Despite this, sometimes you have to try different types to know which is the one that causes the desired effect and the least possible discomfort at first. Some of the side effects that antidepressants can cause you the first days of consumption are the following:

  • Decreased sexual appetite (sexual anorexia)
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness and on rare occasions may be accompanied by vomiting
  • Drowsiness
  • Oral dryness
  • Headache (mild)
  • A certain degree of anxiety and restlessness

It is necessary to mention that all these symptoms can be normal to a certain extent since if they are presented in an exaggerated way and remain for a long time, it is necessary to consult with the doctor since, probably, as I mentioned before, it should be tried with another type of antidepressant.

What to do if Wellbutrin doesn’t work?

If after having tried different types of antidepressants you find that none of them works for you or after having undergone a long treatment where a certain type of antidepressant worked for you and now it does not, you should know the following:

Antidepressants don’t always work. Do not despair or feel bad about yourself if until now no type of antidepressant has worked for you, you should know that this can happen to some people. 

The exact cause of why antidepressants do not work for some people or exactly why they stop working is still unknown, however, this is not the end since there are other types of treatments such as psychotherapy that are highly effective in relieving it.

You probably don’t have depression. Diagnosing a person with depression can really be very subjective if it is not thoroughly evaluated. So another possible reason that antidepressants are not working for you is that what you really suffer from is not depression but another type of disorder that requires a different drug.

Antidepressant tachyphylaxis. Antidepressant tachyphylaxis refers to a condition in which our body adapts to the antidepressants that are being received and finally these cease to take effect, although previously if the desired results have been obtained.

Psychological therapy. There is increasing evidence that psychological therapy, especially cognitive behavioural therapy, is an extremely effective treatment for overcoming depression. 

However, many people prefer to focus more on drug treatment since it does not require as much effort. It is important that you know that it is worthwhile to carry out a psychological treatment even if it is slower and takes a long process since doing so will finally help you eliminate the root of your problems.

Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.

Signs Wellbutrin is Working for ADHD

Here are some of the signs wellbutrin is working for ADHD:

  • You see an improvement in mood
  • You feel some physical symptoms going away
  • Attention seems to be improving
  • The person is able to focus on things slightly better
  • Irritability is lower than before

Signs wellbutrin is working for ADHD may be seen in about 4-6 weeks, depending on how severe the symptoms were to begin with, and the person may start experiencing relief about 2-3 weeks in as well.

You may look at this review for some signs wellbutrin is working for ADHD:

“I was given 150mg of Wellbutrin XL to help with ADHD symptoms primarily and also anxiety. The only side effects I noticed were headaches (but they responded well to Tylenol and really weren’t very bad anyway), and a mild pounding in my ears on the first day when I would lean over. Maybe a little bit of a fuzzy feeling and pressure in my head. I attribute all of those symptoms to the fact that this drug can raise your blood pressure. Only slight dry mouth/lips. No constipation, ringing in ears, no nervousness. I could tell it was doing something within 2 hours of taking it. I was alert in a way that I haven’t experienced since childhood. Getting things done was much much simpler. My appetite wasn’t really affected. I experienced hunger at mostly the appropriate times but found fighting off the urges to binge on snacks was very easy. Falling asleep took maybe 15-20 minutes longer than usual. Overall I’m very happy.”

Why does Wellbutrin take so long to work?

Wellbutrin takes so long to work because of how it functions, and its mechanism that involves the two main neurotransmitters in the brain namely serotonin and norepinephrine, which is why it takes time for the medicine to bring these levels back up to normal and for the effect on the symptoms to appear.

There have been studies that have been done to understand why it takes Wellbutrin so long to work, even when an increased dosage is given and these involve a study of how these medications work, and it has been seen that because it tends to affect both noradrenaline and serotonin in the brain, it takes some time to get to levels that are effective for the symptoms.

Another reason it may take Wellbutrin so long to work is because it has recently become clear that antidepressants don’t just alter how serotonin gets absorbed in the brain, it also changes some other important mechanism of serotonin prevalence in the neurons.

Neuroscientist Mark Rasenick explains why antidepressants like wellbutrin take so long to work, and he says:

“It’s been a puzzle for quite a long time why SSRI antidepressants can take up to two months to start reducing symptoms, especially because we know that they bind to their targets within minutes. We thought that maybe these drugs have an alternate binding site that is important in the action of the drugs to reduce depressive symptoms.”

“The process showed a time-lag consistent with other cellular actions of antidepressants. “It’s likely that this effect on the movement of G proteins out of the lipid rafts towards regions of the cell membrane where they are better able to function is the reason these antidepressants take so long to work.”

“Determining the exact binding site could contribute to the design of novel antidepressants that speed the migration of G proteins out of the lipid rafts, so that the antidepressant effects might start to be felt sooner.”

“This very minor change in the molecule prevents it from binding, so that helps narrow down some of the characteristics of the binding site.”

Conclusions

In this article, we talked about the signs Wellbutrin is working. We also discussed how antidepressants work and what to do if Wellbutrin is not working.

Bupropion belongs to the group of Dopamine and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs.  Chemically it is a phenylethylamine. Their disinhibitory or stimulating actions are considered to be probably related to their structural similarity with powerful psychostimulatory molecules such as methcathinone and methamphetamine.

Antidepressants don’t always work. Do not despair or feel bad about yourself if until now no type of antidepressant has worked for you, you should know that this can happen to some people. 

If you have any questions or comments on the content, please let us know!

FAQ on signs Wellbutrin is working

How long does it take for Bupropion to kick in?

You have to be patient, as it may take several weeks before starting to see the effects of Wellbutrin. Once our serotonin levels are finally regulated, we can experience the benefits of consuming this type of drug. 

Why does it take so long for antidepressants to work?

It takes so long for antidepressants to work because of their mechanism of affecting one’s nervous system. The drugs used to combat depression are (SSRIs), which means selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.  Generally, when you start this drug treatment, it takes several days or even weeks to take effect and this is often a cause of frustration and despair for some people. 

Is it possible for antidepressants to work right away?

No, it is nos possible for antidepressants to work right away. Most of them take between 1 to 4 weeks to start working. You have to be patient and combine the treatment with psychotherapy methods. 

Is Wellbutrin highly addictive?

No, Wellbutrin is not considered to be highly addictive, nor habit-forming. However, like any other drug, it can be abused and develop into an addiction.

Will I lose weight on Wellbutrin?

According to a 2005 study,  the aspect of weight loss is discussed and it affirms that of all the antidepressants analyzed, weight loss “is more frequent with fluoxetine and fluvoxamine, although during long-term treatment, this effect usually disappears.” 

Further reading

The Anti-Depressant Book: A Practical Guide for Teens and Young Adults to Overcome Depression and Stay Healthy, by Jacob Towery MD 

Lost Connections: Why You’re Depressed and How to Find Hope, by Johann Hari  

The Pill That Steals Lives – One Woman’s Terrifying Journey to Discover the Truth About Antidepressants, by Katinka Blackford Newman 

The Antidepressant Solution: A Step-by-Step Guide to Safely Overcoming Antidepressant Withdrawal, Dependence, and “Addiction”, by M.D. Joseph Glenmullen M.D. 

What we recommend for depression

Professional counselling

If you are suffering from depression then ongoing professional counselling may be your ideal first point of call. Counselling will utilize theories such as Cognitive behavioural therapy which will help you live a more fulfilling life.

References

psychologytoday.com – Number One Reason SSRIs Take Four to Six Weeks to Work

Sciencedaily.com – Why do antidepressants take so long to work?

Nami.org -Bupropion (Wellbutrin)

Drugs.com – Bupropion: 7 things you should know

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