Wellbutrin and Adderall are both used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The two drugs work differently, and they’re often used to treat different problems. Wellbutrin is typically used to treat depression and nicotine addiction, while Adderall is a common first-line medication for ADHD. Wellbutrin for ADHD isn’t approved by the FDA, and clinical trials that investigated the efficacy of the drug as an ADHD medication are limited. Still, it may be used as an off-label medication. In some cases, Adderall and Wellbutrin may be good options for the same patient. But should they be combined?

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.

But why would someone mix Wellbutrin and Adderall, and what happens if you take them together? Learn more about these medications and how to take them carefully.

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.

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

When you start taking any new medication for the first time, it’s important to be aware of the potential side effects and adverse reactions you might encounter. Wellbutrin has several potential side effects that range from mild to potentially dangerous. The drug is generally well-tolerated, but if you encounter some Wellbutrin side effects, it’s important to speak to your doctor. Your doctor will only prescribe the medication if the benefits of Wellbutrin will outweigh the risks. Still, it’s important to communicate with your doctor about new, persistent, or worsening symptoms.

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

It’s important to note that the drug may be more dangerous if you don’t take an appropriate Wellbutrin dosage. Misusing the drug by taking high doses or dosages that are too close together may be more likely to lead to uncomfortable side effects.

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 vs. Adderall for ADHD

When you’re comparing the use of Adderall and Wellbutrin in treating ADHD, Adderall seems to be the better option. Adderall is a first-line medication in treating ADHD, which means it’s among the first options your doctor may explore if you need medication in dealing with the disorder. On the other hand, Wellbutrin isn’t officially approved for the treatment of ADHD, though it is FDA-approved for other purposes. It’s not certain whether Wellbutrin is actually an effective option in addressing ADHD symptoms. Wellbutrin is approved to treat depression. There may be some cases in which a patient has ADHD and depression symptoms that a doctor might want to try Wellbutrin, especially if other treatment options weren’t effective.

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:

Major

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.

Moderate

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

Minor

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.

Unknown

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

When you take a prescription medication, it’s important that you communicate with your doctor about what other medications you’re taking. It’s also important to make a note of any side effects you experience when you take a new prescription medication. Most people hope that a new prescription will take care of all of their uncomfortable symptoms, but there is no magic bullet for complex issues like ADHD. It’s important to work closely with your doctor to find the right medications for your needs and the right dosage. If your symptoms don’t improve or if you experience side effects, you and your doctor may need to make adjustments to your treatment plan. 

It’s unlikely that you would need to mix Wellbutrin and Adderall. Even if you have co-occurring ADHD and depression, there are other options to treat depression that don’t have dangerous interactions with Adderall. like SSRIs. Plus, it’s not typical for a doctor to prescribe two drugs to treat ADHD. However, if you’ve tried other treatment options with little success and your doctor would like to try combining medications, it’s all the more important to monitor your symptoms.

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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