Wellbutrin takes about seven hours to take full effect on a patient and can stay in the body for weeks, as it has an unusually high half-life for an antidepressant. Be sure to inform any doctors performing drug tests about your prescriptions, even if you’ve stopped taking the medication, to avoid any false positives on the drug test.
Wellbutrin is the brand name for the prescription drug bupropion, and it is used to treat depression. Wellbutrin (bupropion) can also be prescribed to help the patient quit smoking or to treat seasonal affective disorder (SAD). It belongs to the group of antidepressants called aminoketone. Wellbutrin works by affecting the levels and activity of norepinephrine and dopamine (neurotransmitters) in the brain. As with all prescription medications, there is a risk of side effects while taking this medication. Any changes you experience while on this medication should be reported to and monitored by your doctor to ensure your best possible care. These side effects may include the following:
- dry mouth
- joint aches
- sore throat
- blurred vision
- strange taste in the mouth
There is also a possibility of more serious side effects that should be reported immediately; these may include seizures, chest pain, fainting, irregular heartbeat, hearing problems or ringing in the ears, headaches, undesired mood or mental changes, tremors, and weight loss or gain.
It’s important to give your doctor an accurate medical history and a complete list of all medications you are taking to avoid side effects from bupropion.
Wellbutrin is regulated similarly to other antidepressants on the market. They can be obtained only through a prescription from a qualified doctor who has determined, based on examination, that you will benefit from this prescription in treating your condition.
Bupropion is found not only in Wellbutrin, but also in the prescription Zyban, which is used to assist in quitting smoking, and in the generic form bupropion hydrochloride. There is a stimulant component to bupropion that can be misused by patients to receive more of the stimulant effect, but such misuse carries huge risks.
Those misusing or taking more bupropion than prescribed have a high chance of suffering from seizures. If you or anyone you know is having difficulty taking this medication only as prescribed, please get help from a qualified doctor to guide you to recovery and safety.
Bupropion changes your brain chemistry by affecting the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and dopamine. Exactly how bupropion works in the brain to have the desired effect is still unknown by doctors, but because the medication affects chemicals in the brain, there is a possibility of side effects. In addition to the side effects listed above, there is a possibility of increased suicidal thoughts in patients taking Wellbutrin, so speak to your doctor if you have any of these thoughts or undesired changes in mood.
The half-life of any medication is the amount of time it stays in your system when it hits half of its effectiveness. At between 33 to 37 hours, the half-life of Wellbutrin is exceptionally long for an antidepressant.
As with most medications, do not abruptly stop taking Wellbutrin without the assistance from your doctor because of the risk of side effects from withdrawal. Your doctor can help wean you off the medication safely.
There are a few factors that affect how long Wellbutrin will stay in your system — like how long you have been taking the prescription, the dosage, and other medications you are taking.
Other characteristics that may influence how long the prescription stays in your system include:
- Body Mass
- Food Intake
- Hepatic Function
- Metabolic Rate
If you’re unsure about what factors may influence the length of time bupropion will stay in your system, talk to your doctor.
Taking Wellbutrin (bupropion) may cause a false positive for amphetamines in a routine drug test, so be sure to let the tester know you are taking the prescription.
Bupropion stays in the blood for several days, but it’s unknown how long the prescription stays in urine, making it more important to let a tester know you were taking it. This medication is not typically tested for in hair drug tests, but it may stay there for up to 90 days.
If you or a loved one is struggling with Wellbutrin misuse, don’t wait to get help. Contact The Recovery Village to learn more about the road to recovery.
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.