Learn more about mixing Wellbutrin and alcohol, and how this combination can be harmful to your health.

Article at a Glance:

It’s not recommended to mix Wellbutrin and alcohol because alcohol can cause several different adverse side effects when combined with other medications. One medication that can cause serious and potentially dangerous side effects when mixed with alcohol is Wellbutrin. These include:

  • Dizziness and drowsiness
  • Increased risk of overdose
  • Depression
  • Increased effects of alcohol
  • Increased Wellbutrin side effects
  • Risk of seizures

Side Effects of Mixing Wellbutrin and Alcohol

Wellbutrin, also called by its generic name bupropion, is an atypical antidepressant medication and is used to treat depressionseasonal affective disorder (SAD) and problems with cigarette smoking. How Wellbutrin works is not fully understood, but medical scientists have discovered several negative interactions that occur from mixing Wellbutrin with alcohol.

Most of these side effects are caused because both alcohol and Wellbutrin suppress the nervous system. Side effects of mixing Wellbutrin and alcohol include:

These side effects can be dangerous and, in the wrong circumstances, can be deadly.

Dizziness and Drowsiness When Mixing Alcohol & Wellbutrin

Alcohol naturally causes drowsiness and dizziness on its own. When combined with Wellbutrin, alcohol can lead to even more drowsiness and dizziness, which occurs because both substances suppress the functioning of the central nervous system. The increased fatigue and dizziness can become dangerous or even deadly when they affect activities requiring concentration, such as driving or working in a job that affects public safety.

Related Topic: Alcoholism & Vertigo

Increased Effects of Both Alcohol & Wellbutrin

Alcohol and Wellbutrin both increase each other’s effects. As the liver has to process both substances and is only able to process a certain amount at one time, it will process less of each. This slow processing time leads to increased side effects of Wellbutrin and increased risk of overdose.

If you believe someone is experiencing an overdose, dial 911. If you are unsure what the person has taken, you should also call the National Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 while emergency responders are in route.

Side effects of Wellbutrin that are experienced will be stronger and some side effects that do not typically present may occur. The amount of alcohol that ends up in the bloodstream from a drink will be higher than it usually would be because the liver processes less of the alcohol. This effect can lead to a higher risk of an overdose on alcohol or a DUI (driving under the influence) citation.

Related Topic: How Long Does Alcohol Stay in Your System

Co-Occurring Depression & Alcohol Consumption

One of the side effects of Wellbutrin is depression. When combined with alcohol, existing depression may become substantially worse or depressive symptoms can form in someone who doesn’t have depression. This development or worsening of depression can lead to disruption in normal activities in life and may, in some severe cases, lead to suicidal thoughts or actions.

Feelings of depression or anxiety can lead to suicidal thinking. If you or a loved one is experiencing suicidal thoughts or tendencies, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

Alcohol & Wellbutrin Causes Increased Risk of Seizures

Using alcohol and Wellbutrin together may increase the risk of developing seizures. The interaction of these two substances affects brain function and creates the risk of seizure.

While the risk of seizures increases when Wellbutrin and alcohol are combined, there is also a significant risk of seizures if alcohol use is stopped suddenly while alcohol and Wellbutrin are used together. If you are mixing Wellbutrin and alcohol, you should not suddenly stop using alcohol without first talking with a health care professional.

To stop using alcohol safely, it may be necessary for you to enroll in an alcohol detox program through a rehab center like The Recovery Village. In a medical detox program, you can safely and effectively cleanse your body of alcohol with the help of medical professionals.

If you have any questions about the possible side effects of mixing alcohol and Wellbutrin and how they could apply to your unique circumstances, speak with your doctor. You should also speak with a health care professional if you intend to stop using alcohol while on Wellbutrin, as this can increase your risk of seizures.

If you or a loved one struggle with an addiction to alcohol or are taking alcohol while on Wellbutrin, even though it is unsafe, consider seeking professional help. The Recovery Village offers a variety of alcohol addiction treatment programs that help people begin recovery. Reach out to one of our understanding team members to learn more about how you can start on the path to a full recovery.

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Editor – Camille Renzoni
Cami Renzoni is a creative writer and editor for The Recovery Village. As an advocate for behavioral health, Cami is certified in mental health first aid and encourages people who face substance use disorders to ask for the help they deserve. Read more
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Medically Reviewed By – Benjamin Caleb Williams, RN
Benjamin Caleb Williams is a board-certified Emergency Nurse with several years of clinical experience, including supervisory roles within the ICU and ER settings. Read more

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. “Harmful Interactions.” 2014. Accessed April 23, 2019.

Medscape. “Bupropion (Rx).” Oct. 2018. Accessed April 23, 2019.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration. “Medication Guide Wellbutrin XL.” Aug. 2016. Accessed April 23, 2019.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.