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Wellbutrin and Prozac (The consequences)

In this blog post, we will detail two drugs, Wellbutrin and Prozac. We will first list out the differences between the two medications. Then, we will understand how they interact with each other, following which we will understand their interactions with other drugs. Further, we will briefly discuss the instructions for their consumption. Finally, we will understand the role they play in weight loss. 

Wellbutrin and Prozac

Wellbutrin and Prozac, generally known as bupropion and fluoxetine, respectively, are commonly used as antidepressants. However, there are specific differences between the two despite having similar properties in the treatment of depression. 

Let us understand these differences.

Generic Name

Wellbutrin: 

  • Bupropion 

Prozac:

  • Fluoxetine 

Disorders Treated

Wellbutrin: 

  • Major depressive disorder (MDD); 
  • Smoking cessation 

Prozac:

  • Major depressive disorder (MDD); 
  • Panic disorder; 
  • Bulimia nervosa; 
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder

Drug Classification

Wellbutrin: 

  • Aminoketone

Works by inhibiting the reuptake of dopamine and norepinephrine (also referred to as noradrenaline). Therefore, it leads to higher levels of dopamine and norephedrine in the brain.  

Prozac:

  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI)

It functions by blocking the reuptake of serotonin. Therefore, it leads to increased levels of serotonin in the brain. 

Common Side-Effects

Wellbutrin: 

  • Nausea
  • Light-headedness
  • Arrhythmias (uneven heartbeats)
  • Swearing
  • Shaking or tremors
  • Constipation
  • Vomiting
  • Irritability or agitation
  • Dryness of the mouth
  • Skin rashes
  • Blurred vision
  • Hearing alterations
  • Headaches 

Prozac:

  • Light-headedness
  • Headaches
  • Pharyngitis or inflammation of the pharynx
  • Fatigue
  • Somnolence or drowsiness
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Nervousness
  • Shaking
  • Agitation
  • Anorgasmia

Dosage Forms

Wellbutrin: 

  • Oral tablet (75 mg or 100 mg)
  • Oral tablet, extended-release (i.e., slow-release of the drug, which implies a lower need to take the drug often)
  • The dosage depends on the disorder for which it is being consumed; in some cases, it may be taken multiple times a day. 

Prozac:

  • Oral capsule (10 mg, 20 mg, or 40 mg)
  • Oral capsule, delayed-release (i.e., the drug is released after a while and not immediately after consumption)
  • The dosage depends on which disorder is being treated.

Drug Interactions or Combining the Drugs

Consult your physician before combining Wellbutrin with Prozac. Combining these medications may cause complications, such as increasing the risk of seizures. Such difficulties may not occur commonly with either of the two drugs. 

Moreover, Wellbutrin can augment the levels of Prozac in the bloodstream, which may lead to an increase in other side effects. An individual has a higher likelihood of experiencing strokes with these drugs if they: 

  • Are elderly;  
  • Have a history of seizures;
  • Are experiencing an alcohol or drug withdrawal;
  • Any central nervous system condition, like a brain tumor, or trauma/injury to the head

In such cases, the physician may prescribe some other medications that do not interact. Otherwise, the individual may be suggested an adjustment in the dosage. Further, the doctor may monitor the patient more regularly to ensure the safe consumption of the medications.

It is imperative that the patient avoids the consumption of alcohol during the treatment period. Further, the patient must let their physician know of all the drugs they are currently taking, including supplements and herbs. The patient must not stop the medication without discussing it with the doctor first. 

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Other Drug Interactions

Let us understand other drugs with which Wellbutrin and Prozac each interact.

Wellbutrin

Wellbutrin would likely react with: 

  • Hypoglycemic agents like insulin;
  • Diet pills; 
  • Asthma medications;
  • Cardiovascular or hypertension medications;
  • Seizure medications;
  • Bladder or urinary medications;
  • Blood thinners;
  • Medications to treat other psychiatric disorders;
  • Other antidepressants;
  • Hormone replacement estrogens;
  • Oral diabetes medications;
  • Malaria prevention medications;
  • Antihistamines that cause drowsiness;
  • Stimulants;
  • ADHD medications;
  • Narcotics;
  • Medicines to treat restless leg syndrome;
  • Medicines for nausea or vomiting;
  • Immunosuppressants (e.g., for prevention of rejection of organ transplant);
  • Ulcer or irritable bowel medications
  • Analeptics
  • Medicines to treat a tumor in the pituitary gland;
  • Medication for Parkinson’s disease; and
  • Numbing medicines 

Prozac

Prozac can interact with:

  • Sleeping aid pills;
  • Narcotics for pain control; 
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), another antidepressant;
  • Other antidepressants;
  • Anti-convulsants or seizure medication;
  • Anxiolytics or anti-anxiety medication; 
  • Migraine or headache medicines;
  • Blood thinners
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs);

Prozac may, additionally, interact with clozapine, haloperidol, nebivolol, alprazolam, clopidogrel, and vinblastine. 

Please note that it is dangerous to stop consuming these medications without consulting with your doctor. Moreover, if you are consuming any drug, especially the ones mentioned above, kindly let your doctor know. 

Instructions for Consumption

Wellbutrin

The following must be kept in mind while taking Wellbutrin: 

  • The manner of consumption as directed by the physician must be followed;
  • No alterations to the dosage must be made without consultation with the doctor;
  • Do not stop taking the medication without talking to your physician;
  • Regularly space the dose consumption, with a minimum of 6 hours apart;
  • Wellbutrin may be consumed with or without food;
  • Take the medication at the same time each day;
  • Do not skip a dose. If you do, please do not take an extra amount. Wait and take the next amount at the regular time as consuming above the recommended dosage may increase the risk of stroke;
  • Do not chew, cut, or crush the tablet. Swallow the entire pill;
  • Do not take any other medication while on Wellbutrin. If necessary, talk to your doctor;
  • In the event of an accidental or intentional overdose, alert your physician and, if possible, the poison control center immediately;
  • If Wellbutrin is consumed for treating depression, please note that it may take a few weeks for the medication to start working. As you start feeling better, do not stop the medicine. Continue consuming as prescribed; and
  • On the off chance you feel the drug is ineffective for you, kindly call your physician. 

Prozac

The following must be kept in mind while taking Prozac: 

  • The manner of consumption as directed by the physician must be followed;
  • No alterations to the dosage must be made without consultation with the doctor. Sometimes the physician may alter the dose based on what is right for the patient;
  • Do not stop taking the medication without talking to your physician;
  • Prozac may be consumed with or without food;
  • Do not skip a dose. If you do, take the missed dose immediately upon remembering. If there is not much time before the next scheduled dose, wait and consume that at the usual time;
  • It is dangerous to take two doses at once;
  • Do not take any other medication while on Wellbutrin. If necessary, talk to your doctor; and
  • In the event of an accidental or intentional overdose, alert your physician and, if possible, the poison control center immediately;

Weight Loss

Both Prozac and Wellbutrin are known for their effects on individuals’ weight. Keep in mind that every drug reacts differently to different people. 

Wellbutrin and Weight Loss

Wellbutrin is an atypical antidepressant, and it does not change serotonin levels. Instead, it inhibits the reuptake of the neurotransmitters dopamine and noradrenaline. Apart from weight loss, Wellbutrin is linked to improved sexual performance, the dysfunctionality of which is a common side-effect with other antidepressants.

Prozac and Weight Loss

Prozac is an SSRI, which implies an increase in serotonin levels in the brain. It is the third most prescribed antidepressant. Weight loss experienced as a consequence of Prozac is usually transient and may lead to weight gain in the months following the drug’s cessation.  

Conclusion

In this blog post, we understood Wellbutrin and Prozac in much detail. We listed out the differences between the two medications. Further, we gained insight into their interactions with each other and with other drugs. Next, we briefly discussed the instructions for their consumption before understanding their role in weight loss. 

Both Wellbutrin and Prozac are effective antidepressants. Wellbutrin is commonly prescribed with other antidepressants such as SSRIs and Selective Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs) to enhance antidepressant properties and nullify associated side-effects. 

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Frequently Asked Questions: 

Is it wrong to take Prozac and Wellbutrin simultaneously?

No, it is not wrong but only in consultation with your physician. These two medications together can increase the risk of stroke, which is uncommon in the context of either of the two drugs. Moreover, Wellbutrin may increase the levels of fluoxetine in the blood, which, in turn, increases other side effects.

Is Prozac different from Wellbutrin?

No, Prozac and Wellbutrin are different from each other, although both are prescribed for depression. Prozac is a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI), which restricts the reabsorption of serotonin. On the other hand, Wellbutrin is an aminoketone, which restricts the reuptake of the neurotransmitters noradrenaline and dopamine. 

Is it okay to combine Wellbutrin with Lexapro?

Yes, they are often prescribed in combination. Lexapro is an SSRI, while Wellbutrin is an aminoketone. A particular clinical trial showed that prescription of the two together significantly greater response and remission than monotherapy with SSRIs.

Can you consume SSRIs and Wellbutrin simultaneously?

No, it is not an approved indication to take Wellbutrin with an SSRI or an SNRI. With that said, it has been reported to be generally well-tolerated. Wellbutrin, Wellbutrin can reduce the sexual side effects commonly caused by SSRIs and can even augment antidepressant properties.

Between Prozac or Wellbutrin, which is better for depression?

Both Prozac and Wellbutrin have their advantages and disadvantages. 

Prozac helps with the treatment of depression and anxiety. However, it increases energy levels more than other antidepressants and may not be ideal for people with sleep difficulties. On the other hand, Wellbutrin is useful for treating depression, has few to none sexual side effects, but the patient must be okay with not consuming alcohol. 

Is Wellbutrin good for weight loss?

Yes, Wellbutrin is effective for weight loss. Unlike other antidepressants that usually lead to weight gain, Wellbutrin typically results in weight loss upon consumption and weight gain upon cessation.

Is Prozac considered a “happy pill”?

Yes, Prozac is deemed a happy pill owing to its off-label properties. Prozac is typically prescribed for depression, bulimia, anxiety disorders, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. It gained its publicity through attractive advertising to doctors in medical journals and gained popularity through media.

Does anxiety get better with Wellbutrin?

Yes, Wellbutrin does help with anxiety. One case study reported that 150 milligrams of a daily dose of Wellbutrin helped with anxiety and panic symptoms in an individual with panic disorder. Anecdotal evidence exists to show the effective treatment of anxiety using Wellbutrin along with other medications.

Which is the most prescribed antidepressant?

The most commonly prescribed antidepressant is Zoloft. Almost 17% of the participants from a study investigating antidepressant use indicated consuming this medication.

Does Prozac have harmful effects on the liver?

Yes, Prozac can lead to acute liver injury, albeit rarely. It is an SSRI and is mainly used as an antidepressant. Treatment using Prozac can be related to temporary asymptomatic elevations in certain liver enzymes (transaminases), which is potentially dangerous.

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:

https://www.singlecare.com/blog/wellbutrin-vs-prozac/#:~:text=Wellbutrin%20regulates%20norepinephrine%20and%20dopamine,a%20daily%20basis%20for%20depression.

https://www.drugs.com/drug-interactions/prozac-with-wellbutrin-1115-648-440-203.html

https://www.rxlist.com/wellbutrin_vs_prozac/drugs-condition.htm

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Sara Quitlag is an Applied Psychologist, with a deep interest in psychopathology and neuropsychology and how psychology impacts and permeates every aspect of our environment. She has worked in Clinical settings (as Special Ed. Counselor, CBT Therapist) and has contributed at local Universities as a Faculty member from time to time. She has a graduate degree in English Literature and feels very connected to how literature and psychology interact. She feels accountable and passionate about making a "QUALITY" contribution to the overall global reform and well-being. She actively seeks out opportunities where she can spread awareness and make a positive difference across the globe for the welfare of our global society.