The People's Perspective on Medicine

Bupropion Helps With Mood, Sex and Quitting Smoking

A nurse badly wants to quit smoking. Chantix makes her miserable. Bupropion helps against cravings and improves her mood. Others report sex is enjoyable.
Smoking nicotine

Bupropion (Wellbutrin) was first approved by the FDA in 1985 to treat depression. It remains a totally unique antidepressant. There is no similar antidepressant on the market. Unlike SSRI and SNRI antidepressants such as citalopram, duloxetine, fluoxetine and sertraline, bupropion is far less likely to interfere with love making. In addition, bupropion helps people stop smoking, as this reader reports:

Chantix vs. Bupropion to Quit Cigs:

Q. I am a nurse who has smoked for 17 years. I used to enjoy it. As a single mom, smoking sometimes felt like my only friend.

Now I hate it. I get embarrassed lighting up in public, and I hate to think of the amount of money I have spent not only on cigs but also on body sprays, air fresheners, teeth whiteners, etc.

I tried Chantix when it first came out and it was horrible. I had nightmares, suicidal thoughts and didn’t care about anything. I thought smoking was better than these side effects.

This time around I started Wellbutrin, which is equivalent to Zyban. It has been so much better. My mood has been on an even keel. It’s been a week and I am down to four cigs a day.

Bupropion Helps Do Double Duty:

A. We congratulate you on trying to quit smoking. It is one of the most important things you can do for your health.

Bupropion (Wellbutrin, Zyban) is prescribed to help people stop smoking. It may take two to three months of treatment to overcome the habit. Bupropion is also prescribed for depression, which might explain your stable mood.

Wellbutrin: Tale of Woe and Intrigue:

Wellbutrin (bupropion) has had a checkered career as an antidepressant. It originally had to be taken three times a day. That made it a slow starter compared to drugs like Prozac (fluoxetine) and Zoloft (sertraline). People like to take one pill a day and forget about it.

Eventually a slow release (SR) form of bupropion was developed. It only had to be taken twice a day. That made it a little more convenient and sales picked up. Eventually a once-a-day formulation was introduced (XL). Wellbutrin XL 300 became very popular.

When Wellbutrin XL 300 lost its patent, generic formulations came along. There is a tale of woe and intrigue about some of those products. We were directly involved in getting the FDA to investigate this scandal. Eventually, products were removed from the market. You can read all about this debacle at this link.

We fear that the FDA has let down its guard…again. We have been hearing complaints about generic bupropion…again. Here is a link to the ongoing saga of generic bupropion.

Bupropion Helps Against Depression:

We have heard from many readers that bupropion helps against depression. In some cases, people discover that bupropion helps rather than hinders love making.

Rebecca in Washington shares her story:

“I’ve suffered from severe depression for over a decade. I’ve tried three different prescriptions over that time. None of them helped. Two had negative side effects.

“I started bupropion about 3 months ago, and it has been an absolute miracle worker. I’m happier than I’ve been in a very, very long time. The only negative side effect I experienced was an increase in the migraines that I already had. Even that went away after a few weeks.

“As for increasing libido, yes. It definitely did that for me, although I honestly might consider that a negative too, because for a while it got to the point where I couldn’t focus on anything else. I guess some people would probably enjoy that though.”

More Reader Comments:

Please share your own bupropion story in the comment section below. Have you found that bupropion helps with depression, smoking cessation or love making? Have you experienced side effects? Let others benefit from your experience.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .
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A few days after I was prescribed generic bupropion (in addition to my then-current Rx for generic sertraline) I suffered a grand mal seizure and have refused all antidepressant prescriptions since that time. It appeared my doc didn’t really know what the heck she was doing, and I had no intention of becoming a deceased guinea pig in order to help her learn.

Bupropion helps with ADD

Welbutrin XL was very effective for me for several years – though I might have reached the “age limit.” I tried the generic twice, several years apart, and it was useless. I had to taper myself off the Welbutrin XL when the cost – around $1,000/month – became well beyond my budget. So I manage without it, though I sure do miss its helpfulness.

Longterm user of Buproprion (more than ten years). My depression was immobilizing me. Impossible to make the simplest decision or perform the simplest task (i.e. put a glass in the dishwasher). With Buproprion I feel “normal” and am able to live “normally.” I must emphasize that it does not make me into a euphoric hyperactive being but allows me to feel that I am the normal me that I have been in the past. P. S. While it did not facilitate weight loss, there has been no weight gain as a side effect.

As far as sex goes, the occasion has never come up. However, my dreams tell me I still have some interest. No discernible impact on weight.

I took bupropion for many years for depression. I developed severe tinnitus, which my new psychiatrist says is caused by bupropion. She took me off bupropion and put me back on an SSRI. The tinnitus does not go away after you stop the drug, unfortunately.

I’m 71 years old, and I’ve been on Bupropion SR (150mg twice daily) for the past 18 years. I was prescribed this drug for my general anxiety disorder. My doctor felt that a mood lifter would help keep my anxiety in check. I’ve had no side effects, and my anxiety levels have been lowered significantly. Furthermore, when I do have a bad day or two, the anxiety is shallow and short-lived. I’m also happy to report that I also have a healthy libido!

I’ve been on Welbutrin since 1997 and it’s been a miracle drug for me. I’ve run the gambit of every single depression drug and nothing worked. The side effects were worse than the depression.

Not only that but Welbutrin helped me lose weight when I first started taking it. Not anymore tho and I’ve always wondered if that’s the difference between Welbutrin and the generic. Probably not.

On the other hand, when my daughter took it as a teenager it made her angry and combative.

Bupropion is also on the Beer’s List of drugs not to be given to seniors over 65.

Our doctor gave my 72 year-old husband this drug despite its being on the Beer’s List and despite the fact that he takes Opioids, wears a Fentynal patch, and that she prescribed Zolpidem (also on the Beer’s List). As instructed, I gave him one at bedtime and one in the morning. IT NEARLY KILLED HIM and later he nearly killed both of us when he was sure he could drive and he swerved in and out of our lane and kept running up on the cars in front of us. I was terrified!

At home he was talking out of his head, staggering and falling against furniture, dropping things, shuffling instead of walking, fell on the bathroom floor after also urinating on the floor. When we were out he wet his pants in the supermarket.

I would not give him another pill, so the next time we were in her office he told the doctor I had taken his pills away from him, and she insulted me.

That is the 4th drug she has given him from the Beer’s List, all of them caused similar problems. Either she never heard of the Beer’s List or she is nuts. I found another doctor but hubby still goes to her because he needs his Opioids for chronic pain management. He’s a Vietnam Vet with 2 Purple Hearts.

I make it my business to remain aware so I can protect him, and myself, from incompetent medical practitioners, which is why I have followed the People’s Pharmacy since the 1980’s.

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