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Wellbutrin & Adderall: Are They Safe to Take Together

Physicians do not recommend taking Wellbutrin and Adderall together. Adderall is on the list of major drug interactions for Wellbutrin.
Both medications can cause seizures in users. When combined, the likelihood of seizures goes up in a significant way.

What is Wellbutrin?

According to a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) report, Wellbutrin is an antidepressant that is classified as an aminoketone drug. Wellbutrin is distinctly different than tricyclic, tetracyclic, and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, all well-known antidepressants.

Wellbutrin is primarily composed of bupropion hydrochloride, a white, crystalline powder that is highly water soluble. It has a bitter taste, and it produces an anesthetic sensation.

The medication is administered orally in 75 mg and 100 mg tablets. Each tablet contains bupropion hydrochloride as well as several additive ingredients to aid in the controlled-release process.

The neurochemical mechanism that causes the antidepressant effects of bupropion is not known. Bupropion is also a fairly weak inhibitor of the neuronal uptake of norepinephrine.

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Wellbutrin is typically taken in tablet form three times a day. It is important that Wellbutrin doses are taken at least six hours apart to decrease the risk of having a seizure.

It is also not recommended to take Wellbutrin close to bedtime because it can make sleep difficult. Regular and stable use is the most beneficial way to take medication.

Side Effects of Wellbutrin

Wellbutrin can cause several side effects that should be taken into account before taking the drug. They may include the following:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Diarrhea
  • Strange tastes in the mouth
  • Blurred vision
  • Sore throat
  • Joint aches
  • Increased sweating
  • Constipation
  • Headache
  • Dry mouth
  • Heightened blood pressure

Wellbutrin is only prescribed by a doctor if the benefits outweigh the risks of side effects.

Most people using Wellbutrin do not experience serious side effects. More severe side effects of Wellbutrin that should be reported to your doctor immediately include the following:

  • Chest pains
  • Fainting
  • Unusual weight loss or gain
  • Memory loss
  • Tremors
  • Hallucinations
  • Confusion
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Mood swings
  • Severe headaches
  • Irregular heartbeat

Other side effects are possible, so it is important to talk to your doctor if you feel you are having an adverse reaction to the drug.
There are several precautions that need to be considered before taking Wellbutrin. Before using this drug, let your doctor know if you have a history of seizures or a medical condition that increases your risk of seizures.

The following conditions increase the risk of seizures:

  • Brain injury
  • Brain tumors
  • Arteriovenous malformation
  • Alcohol and/or drug abuse
  • Eating disorders
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Recent heart attack
  • Kidney problems
  • Liver problems
  • Personal or family history of psychiatric disorders
  • Personal or family history of suicidal thoughts or attempts
  • Glaucoma

Wellbutrin should not be taken if you have recently come off sedatives, as this can increase the risk of seizures as well.
Wellbutrin can make you dizzy and uncoordinated, which is why you should not operate heavy machinery or drive while on the drug.

Overview of Adderall

Understanding how Wellbutrin and Adderall interact requires a good knowledge of both medications.

According to WebMD, this is a popular medication that treats attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The drug works by altering the amount of naturally occurring chemicals in the brain.
Adderall is an amphetamine that belongs to the stimulant class of drugs. It increases your ability to pay attention and stay focused on an activity for a longer period of time. It can also improve organizational and listening skills.

Typically, Adderall is taken orally via a tablet from one to three times a day. The first Adderall dose is usually taken early in the morning.
Doctors recommend that each dose is taken four to six hours apart and not near bedtime, as it may interfere with your ability to sleep. Dosages are designated based on the severity of the condition as well as the individual’s reaction to the medication.

According to research published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, nonmedical use of stimulant medications is prevalent among college students. This is a problem because drugs such as Adderall are known to be habit-forming.

Adderall can trigger withdrawal symptoms when use is suddenly stopped. Withdrawal is more likely and common with extended Adderall use, especially at high doses.

Some withdrawal symptoms of Adderall include excessive sleepiness, mood changes, and depression.  To prevent these withdrawal symptoms, a doctor may lower doses slowly over time. It is also important to only take the drug as directed.

Side Effects of Adderall

While effective at treating ADHD, Adderall does come with the potential for certain side effects. These side effects include the following:

  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Nervousness
  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Upset stomach
  • Dry mouth

Adderall could also cause more severe side effects that you should report to your doctor immediately.

  • Strange wounds on the fingers and toes
  • Behavioral changes or mood swings
  • Aggression
  • Depression
  • Intrusive thoughts
  • Uncontrollable movements
  • Teeth grinding
  • Random outbursts
  • Changes in sexual ability and desire
  • Blood flow problems that cause numbness or pain

Some side effects require immediate medical attention.

  • Severe headache
  • Chest, jaw, or left arm pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Seizures
  • Swelling of the ankles or feet
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Blurred vision
  • Weakness on one side of the body
  • Slurred speech
  • Confusion

It is also important to let your doctor know before taking Adderall if you have a medical history of any of the following:

  • Blood circulation problems
  • Mental health disorders
  • Psychosis
  • Depression
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Psychotic disorder
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Heart problems
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Heart failure
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Family history of heart problems
  • Family history of stroke
  • High blood pressure
  • Overactive thyroid
  • Glaucoma
  • Seizures
  • Personal or family history of substance abuse
  • Personal or family history of uncontrolled movement disorders like Tourette’s syndrome
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease

While it is important to take all of these factors into consideration before taking Adderall, a doctor will not prescribe the drug unless they believe the benefits outweigh the risks.

Wellbutrin Drug Reactions

Many drugs have reactions when taken in combination with other medicines, and Wellbutrin is no exception. According to Drugs.com, Wellbutrin has 811 known drug interactions.

There are different classifications when it comes to drug interactions. The different classifications include:

These interactions are highly clinically significant. It is important to avoid drug interactions in these categories, as the risk attributed to the interaction outweighs the benefits.

Typically, it is recommended to avoid combining drugs with this classification of interaction. It is only supported under special and specific circumstances.

This classification of drug interaction is less severe and has only minimal clinical significance. Combining drugs in this classification is done as long as action is taken to lessen the interaction risk. Drugs are combined with supervision and/or monitoring plan.

Some drugs simply have not been studied enough for it to be known how they will interact with other drugs. These unknown interactions are best avoided until more data can be accumulated.

How Do Adderall & Wellbutrin Interact?

According to data from Drugs.com, Adderall is classified as having a major drug interaction with Wellbutrin.

It is vital to talk to a doctor before attempting to combine Adderall and Wellbutrin. Mixing these medications can significantly increase your risk of having a seizure. Having a seizure is a rare side effect of both drugs, but when they are taken together, this risk is amplified.

The estimated incidence rate of seizures is only about 0.4 percent for immediate-release Wellbutrin tablets at dosages between 300 mg and 450 mg a day. However, the risk of seizure goes up 10 times when the dosage is increased from 450 mg to 600 mg a day.

You are at a higher risk of experiencing a seizure when taking these medications in tandem if you are elderly, are experiencing alcohol or drug withdrawal, have a history of seizures, or have a medical condition that affects the central nervous system, such as head trauma or a brain tumor.If you feel you need the combined effect of these two drugs, your doctor may be able to prescribe substitute medications that don’t interact.

Close Monitoring

Adderall

If you still would like to try to use these two medications together, it can be done with some close monitoring by your doctor and precise dose management.

It is also important to limit or avoid the consumption of alcohol during treatment.

Other medications, including vitamins and herbs, can interfere with drug interactions as well. Fully disclose this information to your doctor.Close monitoring is required in the event someone wants to use Wellbutrin and Adderall together. Extreme caution is advised by doctors to avoid the seizure threshold.

Essentially, any combination of these two drugs is typically avoided. If the combination does occur, it starts with low doses, and the patient is closely monitored to see if there is an adverse reaction.

Conclusion

Combining Wellbutrin and Adderall is generally not recommended, as it is classified as a major drug interaction that could have negative effects.

The drugs could work together in theory — one to increase overall well-being and combat depression and one to increase focus, organization, and listening skills.
However, the risk of combining these two drugs outweighs the benefits. While it can be safe to take these together with proper monitoring, this is rare and requires very special circumstances.

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Sources

from https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2009/018644s039s040.pdf

(2017) Wellbutrin. WebMD. Retrieved February 2019 from https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-13509/wellbutrin-oral/details

(March 2016) Adderall. WebMD. Retrieved February 2019 from https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-63163/adderall-oral/details

(July 2010) Nonmedical Use of Prescription Stimulants among College Students: Associations with ADHD and Polydrug Use. National Center for Biotechnology Information from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2906759/

(November 2017) Wellbutrin Drug Interactions. Drugs.com. Retrieved February 2019 from https://www.drugs.com/drug-interactions/bupropion,wellbutrin.html

(2017) Adderall and Wellbutrin Drug Interactions. Drugs.com. Retrieved February 2019 from https://www.drugs.com/drug-interactions/adderall-with-wellbutrin-190-1645-440-203.html

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