Q. Is there anything new on the generic version of Wellbutrin XL? My wife had done well on the brand name and then the Watson generic bupropion for several years. She was abruptly switched to Teva Budeprion last spring. Gradually, her depression returned. Within a month she was on the brink of suicide.
When I realized how severe her situation was, I ran out and purchased brand-name Wellbutrin. It took less than a week for her to return to her normal cheerful self.
I work for a pharmaceutical company and I would never have thought there could be such an issue with a generic. I reported her case to FDA’s MedWatch, but I wonder if there will be any further study of this issue.
A. The FDA and Teva have come up with a plan to compare blood levels achieved with the generic antidepressant to those with the brand-name drug. Teva intends that this study will reassure people that anecdotes like yours are unrelated to its generic product. The protocol requires volunteers with depression to stay in a clinic for at least 24 days, but travel and a stipend are provided. Anyone who is interested in participating may get more information from California Clinical Trials: 818-254-1600.

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  1. stocks

    I’m here to tell you all that I was having all the above mentioned issues and could only take the brand name Wellbutrin by Glaxo-Klein then when that was an option anymore I went to a generic brand by Teva…. Bad news bears for me and I was freaking out having panic attacks where I was literally envisioning my funeral, migraine headaches and the works…. Then the sky’s opened and it happened! Wellbutrin AKA Buproprion 300XL generic brand by Par Brands. There is no need for me to tell you anymore cause you’ll thank me later. If your pharmacy doesn’t carry the brand and you’re looking for different generic options, tell them to order it! This by far is identical. Good luck to you and let me know if it works out.

  2. rosieposie

    Four years ago, with years of chronic severe depression, I started taking TEVA brand wellbutrin and it is a MIRACLE! No more depression!
    Sadly, they just stopped making it. NOW what do I do? Trying Activis but can’t tell yet if it is working. Any suggestions? Has anyone used GLOBAL generic wellbutrin?
    Did it work for you?

  3. Vicki, the nurse

    Having been on generic Wellbutrin for years, I’ve found Sandoz and Watson to be the least horrible. I won’t say best. But now it appears those brands are no more…My pharmacy is good about ordering the brand I request, something Medico would not do.
    Hospitalized last week, I was given a bupropion that did not cause nausea like my usual pill. With a little detective work it turns out to be Actavis.!!
    My doctor also changed my rx to the XL version. He said the coating is thicker and that may make it less likely to cause nausea. The nausea (and vomiting) are so bad, that on days I won’t have IMMEDIATE access to some crackers, I don’t take the pill.
    Good luck everyone. We have to keep fighting the insurance companies and big pharma to protect our health. They sure aren’t doing a decent job.

  4. JN

    I have been on brand Wellbutrin 300mg XL and then the Watson generic for past 12 years. Last month when the pharmacy filled it they said nothing, I noticed it looked different but thought nothing of it. The first day I took the new brand I was dizzy, jittery, agitated. Basically all the things I experienced when I first took this. I have been on the new brand, Actavis, for a month and nothing has changed, in fact I’ve had to up my Klonopin to counteract it. I am distressed to see that Watson and Actavis merged and they pulled the Watson version, because this is awful, and apparently the effects are very noticeable.

  5. KAT

    I was severely depressed and actually on the verge of suicide 3 years ago and my therapist of 1 year suggested Wellbuterin. I could not afford the name brand so I got Actavis buproptoan SR 150mg and I can tell you this: IT SAVED MY LIFE> I noticed a clear difference the very first day. My memory became sharper, it was easier to chat with new people, I felt motivated-creative-happy. After 6 months on 150mg a day I noticed significant hair loss. My life was much better by then and so I stopped my dosage and did just fine. About a year later my depression returned a little and as a proactive measure I went back on buproprion only the pharmacy gave me Santos (purple pill). That stuff didn’t work and made me itch like crazy all over my body. So I quit it. I am back on Actavis and plan on being on it for about 2 months so I don’t see hair loss just long enough to get through the down cycle I experience once a year. I have read a lot and I think what people need to consider is that everyone reacts differently to each generic brand of any drug. So if something isn’t working for you try the other generic brand by switching pharmacies- call around- do your research- and get what you need. I think you should be able to tell IMMEDIATELY if it is working or not.

  6. SS

    I started taking Bupropion XL 150 mg tablet in September for 2 weeks and felt worse so my Dr. increased dosage to 300 mg tablet and I felt much better. I have been taking the 300mg tablet for 4 months now and my depression is worse then it has ever been. The first manufacturer of the 150mg looks to be Global from Costco.
    My 300mg XL was from Actavis and now Costco has changed to Watson and I am getting ready to start my new script. I don’t know if I should stay with this medication from a new manufacturer and hope I improve ?? Does anyone have any experience with this to share? Thanks

  7. MP

    I have not heard of Sandoz, thank you for your help! There is another company I have read about that seems to get thumbs up – I can’t remember the name, but it was along the lines of North- something. I once read someone’s blog- comment about taking generics with warm water and how it can promote proper ‘absorption”. For what it’s worth, I could possibly see something to do that, given the variation of ingredients/fillers used.
    Oh my.. how this country has changed in just 10 years. The left hand doesn’t know what the right’s doing, S.S. is not ‘ours’ and our pre-school teachers are being equipped with .357’s — I find “People’s Pharmacy” website comforting.

  8. Hlse

    I have been on generic Prozac for several yrs. the Manufacturer is
    Sandoz. The pharmacy switched to the Teva generic once. I found
    It ineffective and asked them to order the Sandoz generic instead.
    Good luck to you. Hope this helps.

  9. MP

    A neuropsychologist has diagnosed me with “ADHD and Depression” about a year and half ago. I am nursing school and have recently tried a couple of stimulant medications. Adderall worked well, most days in the beginning. It did make me incredibly sleepy, until I took about a third of my prescribed dose. Time went on and it, frankly, made me depressed as Hell (on top of Nursing school stress and the monster teachers that seem to be associated with it all – but that’s a different website!) So, after two more unsuccessful tries on different stimulants, I’m back on Prozac. I have decided to go with brand name (with a printed coupon from the web, I was able to get it at 218, instead of 284 – I do not have insurance).
    I did this because years ago I was on it before there was generic and it helped me tremendously (other than some sexual side effects). I have been on the generic and I don’t know if it wasn’t as good as the brand name because the drug “pooped out” or because generic is just junk. We will see….. anyone have any suggestions of what generic name works, rather than what generic name doesn’t? It’s insane students have to take out extra student loans to pay for medication.

  10. joe

    when I first started on Welbutron 300 it was great, then came generic, wow a, lot cheaper. Until I found this site, suddenly realize these periods of feeling like being on a roller-coaster may not be just me, so have bit the bullet and bought name brand, maybe it will answer some questions.

  11. FollyParmacology

    The FDA and Teva have come up with a plan to compare blood levels achieved with the generic antidepressant to those with the brand-name drug. Teva intends that this study will reassure people that anecdotes like yours are unrelated to its generic product.
    Teva FAIL – FDA withdraws Teva’s generic Wellbutrin XL300. The formulation dumps too much drug into the system too quickly, defeating the benefit of sustained release. This is really a critical finding – it’s not just a matter of synthesizing a molecule and wrapping it in a generic time release formulation. Timing matters and now the ‘anecdotes’ are supported by experimental evidence. Sadly, this took years of work and FDA money to conclude what patients had experienced in the first months of release. I’d like to think this will bring more legitimacy to patient experience with generic:brand, but in the end, it’s about insurance providers paying less for what SHOULD be an equivalent drug. Maybe – just maybe – the FDA will revise the guidelines for generics. Guess we’ll see what the future holds for biosimilars!

  12. actavisRULES

    Yes, Actavis drugs are much superior. Any drug I have taken by Teva has never worked. On WB XL Actavis, I am much more alert, feel like myself, productive.
    I also switched to Actavis Klonopin, because Teva, once again, only gave me a headache. I took the Actavis brand and I felt warm, dreamy and not a care in the world.
    The bad news, as of April 2012, Watson purchased Actavis, sale to be final by end of year. I don’t know if they will keep Actavis superior formulations, or consolidate, and the quality of Actavis will be a thing of the past.
    Actavis was a private company, they should have held out and did their own IPO.
    They are releasing their own BRAND NAME pain reliever in June, this is unheard of for generic companies. This is the level of quality and research that goes into their generics. I pray Watson does not kill Actavis innovation.

  13. sls

    I’ve been on generic Wellbutrin for several years, and having read all of the other comments, believe that I was getting the name drug marketed as the generic. This month my pharmacy (Target) switched to Actavis. I’ve had chest pains that made me think I was going to have a heart attack, then my hands started to get shaky. Not good, as I’m a jeweler, and now the chest pains are more or less gone, but I’m so dizzy and jittery I can barely function.
    I didn’t put two and two together until I forgot to take it yesterday, and felt fine all day. Woke up with the usual withdrawal if I forget a dose, took a pill and am shakier than ever. I’m calling the pharmacy tomorrow to see if I can switch back. I’m sure my insurance won’t cover the name drug. Not that I wish bad things on anyone, I’m glad to see that I’m not alone, and that it’s not all in my head. Well, technically it is.

  14. lms

    I am unable to take the generic form of Wellbutrin XL 150mg and am struggling to pay the $200 a month for brand name that I know works for me. In desperation, I ordered a 3 month “name brand” supply from a Canadian Pharmacy. The pharmacist I spoke to assured me they were name brand, and the fact that the stamp on the little white pill was different and now said GS5FV was due to it being manufactured in Turkey. I have been taking it for 3 weeks and am not doing well. I am irritable, dizzy, restless, unable to focus, lethargic, experiencing daily headaches, heart racing, and problems with my sinuses. I am ready to go off completely, but know this is not the answer. I am at my wits end, preparing to battle with insurance and already feeling like I’m losing. What else is there to do?

  15. D. Martin

    The Teva brand of Welbutrin sent me to the hospital thinking I was having a heart attack the anxiety was so severe. Long story short, the doctors didn’t even realize what the cause was. I realized after having to fill my prescription while out of town, at Walgreen’s, they gave me the Teva brand instead of the Watson brand. I had never even heard of Teva before this incident.
    Now, I am taking prozac, and realized when picking up my 20 mg instead of 10 mg, that my pill was in a capsule form. I talked to the pharmacist and she told me it was Teva brand. I will be taking my first pill tomorrow. Wish me luck.

  16. michelle

    Was on Wellbutrin for 2 weeks for bi-polar and anxiety. I felt so much better-had energy, less angry, less depressed, better emotionally overall. Doc put me on Actavis generic bupropion and after 5 days feel have felt lethargic and drugged from day 2, depression is returning and have headaches,am irritable and basically feel worse than when I started. Thank you all who have written-has helped me tremendously. Will call doc. on Monday to see if I can go back on Wellbutrin. Will keep my fingers crossed.

  17. Shannon

    I called Medco recently to check on my meds now that we have another insurance company. The mfg of the meds I have been taking since July ’08 for depression has been Actavis–Bupropion xl 150 mg. Medco only had records available since Feb ’10 which had Actavis listed on bottle as the mfg.(I have never been on the name brand-Wellbrutin xl so I can’t give any comments). My concern now is this—new insurance company has NEW mail in pharmacy and their mfg for my meds is Global.
    I’m wondering if anyone has experienced changing ‘THESE’ mfg for THIS generic prescription? Also, I’m now experiencing more restlessness, unfocused-lack of concentration, unmotivated, irritability & mood swings for about the past 4-5 months. I feel I have ADD bc I’ve always struggled with remembering things/forgetful! Could this be it? Or do I need to finally up my meds dosage & IF SO, would that help?

  18. pd

    Well, did the FDA ever complete the human trials on Wellbutrin vs generics? Can’t find anything that reports an outcome. What the heck is going on? Does anyone know anything?

  19. JRJ

    I have to say named brand like PROZAC is way better for me then generic types I have tried. I have to be on Prozac it works great for me and others check it out.

  20. SRS

    I have been on Welbutrin XL for a couple years now with excellent results. The pharmacy filled my prescription with the generic drug and within a couple of weeks my symptoms had returned and the medication was of no benefit in treating my depression.
    I recently changed insurance coverages and the insurance company now has refused to pay for the name brand due to the availability of the generic formulation of the medication. I and my doctor have provided documentation supporting my claim against the generic, but to no avail. To me, it is of no benefit for the patient if the medication is available to treat an illness but the price is so expensive that it makes treatment cost prohibitive.

  21. S

    They have the Sandoz brand at my Target. It is the only one I can take. If they are out of it they will find it for you (I’m in Houston).

  22. KLG

    If the generic companies can make a product like Wellbutrin XL and sell it at a reasonable price; why can’t the company that makes the brand name product reduce their price? If the true Wellbutrin XL was less expensive they would sell much more and probably come out ahead in the end.

  23. MW

    I had the same thing happen in Feb 2010. I was originally on Wellbutrin SR 150. But what I thought was a generic form, was actually a brand pill, sold under generic label. It had been a big white pill with black lettering. Smooth coated. It worked very well. Then suddenly I receive a purple pill. It was horrible. Crying jags, sever thoughts, symptoms I never had except when in my initial trauma.
    I researched and discovered that GLAXO SMITH KLINE had ORIGINALLY sold their own brand name to the Watson. Watson was not at the time manufacturing their own pill. I HAD receive a brand name drug for $60 a month! I was lucky. Then When GSK stopped selling their product to Watson, Watson manufactured their generics. SO THE PURPLE WATSON made me very sick.
    I quit meds altogether until I got worse. Then again, my doctor put me on Brand only, and I bought it in Canada for $90 a month. It is $240 a month in US. (I don’t have insurance). After many months of this, I got a bottle that made me feel sick. I swore it felt wrong, they swore it was brand. So I switched to the American bottle. Same thing. A few months ok, now this bottle feels weird. Clutching feeling in throat, like a nicotine withdrawal. In conclusion I think even the BRAND GSK has quality control issues with the coating.

  24. J.Goodman

    I have been taking brand name WELLBUTRIN SR 150MG FOR 8 YEARS. I can not take the generic brand. It does not have the same effect that the brand name does. I am taking it for depression and anxiety. While employed my insurance co-pay was 50.00. When I retired this year and went on Social Security, my coverage for the name brand Wellbutrin is not covered. For your infor it is under AARP (United Healthcare). United Healthcare was the name of the insurance co. at my place of employment. They filled it one time only. at $86.00.
    I received a letter from AARP (United Health care claiming that the FDA did not say it was for depression or anxiety. It is to help people quit smoking. Well, I do not smoke and it is the only medication that has kept me sane. Also said that they would pay for the generic. It just doesn’t make a lot of sense.
    The Company that makes the Name Brand Wellburtin should get together with the FDA and explain what other uses this great medication can be used for. Also, My Doctor that prescribes my medication called my insurance Co. and also wrote a letter and they just ignored everything and said what they could do. Now I have found a pharmacy that I can get it for $112.00 for a 30 day supply.
    I had to cut out most of my medications so I could remain on the name brand wellbutrin. It is not fair to have to pay out of pocket that much on a fixed income. Please, please get with the FDA and bring your medication up-to-date.

  25. Isis

    My sister’s insurance ended so she settled for generic effexor. 2 weeks later she shot herself in the head. She was very aware of the 2 week time period for many med change effects to hit. She felt it happening, spoke to a close friend about her concern and stayed home from work (unheard of) 2 days later she was found in her locked apartment with a suicide note. Dead.
    I was nearing functional life after 8 years on wellbutrin xl. For about 2 years I’ve practically lived in bed. Looking back, I’m fairly certain that’s when my pharmacy started dispensing the generic that was called budeprion. Now I get the one called bupropion, which is possibly the least effective for me. Time to insist on brand name.

  26. W Weil

    Caremark pharmacy changed my prescription also. My doctor wrote brand name required for Prozac. I just received fluexetine instead. The customer service person said they had called and received verbal authorization to substitute the generic. I was furious.
    I wasn’t notified, have tried 3 times to take a generic form, and went back into a depression. That’s why my doctor wrote brand name medically necessary on the mail order form. This is the mail order pharmacy practicing medicine in the interest of money.

  27. JanC

    My insurance company, MEDCO, will charge me about $385 for 30 days worth of Wellbutrin 300 XL. I can’t afford it. They charge me 15 or 20 for Buproprion XL. I have been taking this for about 8 months. Since the beginning, I have felt like my throat is tight, I have a cough constantly, I have developed itchy skin, and my chest is very uncomfortable, pressure & achy, much of the time during the late day as more of the drug gets in my system.
    The longer I’m on it, the worse I feel. I’m going to tell my psychiatrist I need to get off this stuff.

  28. HLSE

    My pharmacy recently switched manufacturers for generic fluoxetine. My 11 year old son and I have both been doing well on the Sandoz brand. His last 6 weeks meds have come from Teva. He and I have noticed a definite difference in His mood. Calling all over trying to find the Sandoz brand with no luck.
    The insurance company says I can pay $500 a mo. for the name brand, and that’s just for his prescription. I’ll be completely broke if I have to switch mine too. This is so frustrating! The pharmacy treats you like your literally crazy if you suggest the new generic is not working. If they only knew how much time, money, Dr’s and tears it took to get my son on track. There is a definite ignorance or denial about generics. Glad I found this website!

  29. Charlie

    I have the same experience with Wellbutrin XL, the medical aid will not pay for it. My doc is busy sending a motivation for it be chronic medication.

  30. Sheila

    I have been taking the Barr brand of Prozac for many years but the last time I needed a refill the pharmacist informed me that this brand is no longer available and gave me the Teva brand. It’s only been two days and I’m feeling irritable and depressed again. Is this all in my head or are others experiencing the same thing? How can I obtain the Barr brand or is it no longer even being made? PLEASE HELP!

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