taking, titrating, and tapering Wellbutrin (bupropion)
I <3 Wellbutrin
Medicated for your Protection
Taking & Titration Overview
One of the most important aspects of any medication is how to go about taking it. This includes:
- how much to take (the dosage or dose)
- when and how often to take it (dosing schedule or doses)
- how much to start with and how to increase the dose/dosage until you’re taking the target amount (titration or titration schedule).
Although we often disagree with them, we’ll always give you the manufacturer’s recommendations from Wellbutrin’s full US Prescribing Information. If, for some reason, that isn’t available, we’ll use information for patients leaflets, SPCs from overseas, or whatever official sources we can find. Most doctors will give you some idea of what it will be like, and this is what every pharmacist is trained and paid to tell you.1 As “often” doesn’t mean “always”, whatever is in the PI sheet works for us a lot of the time.
We usually advocate starting at a lower dosage than recommended. One of our core philosophies is increasing the dosages as slowly as one’s condition allows, and staying at the dosage that works instead of a target dosage2. More and more doctors are agreeing with us3. You and your doctor can always discuss increasing the dosage when you need to in advance.
And since you never really know how a drug might affect you, it’s best to start when you have some time off of work. Like Friday night / Saturday morning, or your equivalent. Better still would be to get someone to stay with you or at least check on you frequently, especially if you’re the primary caretaker of young children and similar critters.4
Wellbutrin (bupropion) Dosage and Doses
The initial dose of Wellbutrin SR (bupropion hydrochloride) is 150mg in the morning. If that is tolerated the target dose of 300mg a day may be tried as early as four days later, split into two 150mg doses with at least eight hours between each dose. But you really should wait at least a week. If after four weeks there is no improvement you may opt to go up to 400mg a day, split into two 200 mg doses.
The initial dose of the older immediate release flavor of Wellbutrin (bupropion hydrochloride) is 100 mg a day, which may be increased by 100 mg a day with a titration period of at least three days. With the immediate release flavor you can really play around with things, dosing you in 75–150 mg increments three to four times a day with a minimum of four hours between each dose up to a maximum of 450 mg a day.
The dosage for the XL form follows that of the SR form, except that it is taken once a day, and your only titration option is in 150mg increments.
I really think you should wait at least seven-eight days (see steady state below) before going up to the next higher dosage. The wacky metabolism of Wellbutrin (bupropion hydrochloride), and the fact that it’s one of the metabolites that works on norepinephrine tells me that you should wait until things settle down in your system first.
Aplenzin (bupropion hydrobromide) is equivalent to Wellbutrin XL (bupropion hydrochloride), but at a slightly different dosage:
- 174mg of Aplenzin (bupropion HBr) = 150mg of Wellbutrin XL (bupropion HCl)
- 348mg of Aplenzin (bupropion HBr) = 300mg of Wellbutrin XL (bupropion HCl)
- 522mg of Aplenzin (bupropion HBr) = 450mg of Wellbutrin XL (bupropion HCl)
Special Instructions/Best Way to Take Wellbutrin (bupropion)
As with all controlled-, sustained-, extended-release medications, you should never, ever, cut Wellbutrin SR or XL, Budeprion SR or XL, or Aplenzin in half, or in any way cut, split, crush, chew, dissolve, fold, spindle, or mutilate Wellbutrin SR or XL, Budeprion SR or XL, or Aplenzin. Or anything else with CR, ER, SR, XL, XR or whatever the marketing guys come up with to denote there’s also an immediate release version of the med.
If a tablet isn’t scored, i.e. doesn’t an indentation, usually down the middle, where you can line up your pill splitter, don’t try to cut it. For example:
|T is for Trileptal. It’s OK|
to split Trileptal tablets.
|Stop! Never split Depakote ER|
or Wellbutrin SR tablets!
Wellbutrin (bupropion) Titration (Dosage Increase)
Pile of Pills
Vaccines Cause Immunity
Medicated For Your Protection
One thing PI sheets and doctors infrequently discuss, and don’t go into enough detail about, is how to discontinue a medication. With some meds it’s not too bad, but with others (most notably SNRIs like Effexor and Cymbalta) it can be a nightmare if not done carefully.
How to Stop Taking Wellbutrin (bupropion)
Based on its complex pharmacokinetics, your doctor should be recommending that you reduce your dosage by 100–150mg a day (for the more popular SR and XL forms, 75mg for the immediate release form), every week if you need to stop taking Wellbutrin, if not more slowly than that. There have been reports of more than the usual problems that come from stopping any med abruptly, or just too quickly.
Notes, Tips, Helpful Hints, etc. for Withdrawing Wellbutrin (bupropion)
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- Wellbutrin full US Prescribing Information
- Faught, Edward. “Topiramate in the treatment of partial and generalized epilepsy.” Neuropsychiatric disease and treatment 3.6 (2007): 811-821.
Don’t worry about actually buying one. Windows shop and share the designs you’d like to buy or find worthy of ridicule. What else are you doing now? Working? Sure you are.
1 And everyone has the time to do their jobs properly, when said time isn't being wasted by idiots asking for grocery store phone numbers** or they aren't playing Angry Farmers on the Faecesbooks.
2 Although not everyone has the luxury of stopping at a dosage when the symptoms abate and not increasing it unless the return. Sometimes you just have to keep going up until you reach that target dosage. E.g. you have a history of seizures that haven't yet responded to several medications.
3 Most notably Dr. Edward Faught, founder and Director of the Epilepsy Center, and vice chairman of the Department of Neurology, at the University of Alabama School of Medicine in Birmingham. His article on new antiepileptic drugs in Volume 7 issue 1 of Peer Review in Review stressed starting at low dosages, doing a slow titration, and stopping at the dosage where symptoms were under control. In Topiramate in the treatment of partial and generalized epilepsy, the one free, full-text article I could find (that's not about geriatric patients), he again stresses the low and slow approach to avoid or lessen most side effects, while still achieving seizure control in the same amount of time.
4 Assuming you have the luxury of a job, being able to cope with your symptoms not being dealt with for however many days you need to wait in order to do this, and/or someone who can and is willing to stay with you for a few days. Read enough of this site and you can tell what sort of fantasy world I live in.
If you have any questions not answered here, please see the Crazymeds Wellbutrin discussion board. We welcome criticisms of the articles, notifications of bad links, site problems, consumer experiences with medications, etc. I’m not always able to write back. Hence I never answer questions about meds via e-mail that are answered by this or other articles. Especially if they have been repeatedly asked on the forum. That’s why we write these damn things. Questions about which meds are best for your condition should also be asked on the forum; because this is a free site, so the price of admission is making things easier for somebody else searching for the same answer. We don’t deal with children on the forum or in private because after doing this for ten years I don’t have the emotional stamina to deal with kids who have brain cooties. How to contact Crazymeds. — Jerod Poore, CME, Publisher Crazymeds (crazymeds.net)
|Last modified on Tuesday, 02 June, 2015 at 16:03:18 by JerodPoore||Page Author Jerod Poore||Date created|
|“Wellbutrin (bupropion): a Review for the Educated Consumer.” by Jerod Poore is copyright © Jerod Poore||Published online 2011/03/27|
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|Plain text:||Poore, Jerod. “Wellbutrin (bupropion): a Review for the Educated Consumer.” Crazymeds (crazymeds.net). ().|
Wellbutrin, and all other drug names on this page and used throughout the site, are a trademark of someone else. Wellbutrin’s PI Sheet will probably have the name of the manufacturer and trademark owner (they’re not always the same company) at or near the very bottom. Or ask Google who the owner is. The way pharmaceutical companies buy each other and swap products like Monopoly™ real estate, the ownership of the trademark may have changed without my noticing. It may of changed hands by the time you finished reading this article.
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Almost all of the material on this site is by Jerod Poore and is copyright © 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 Jerod Poore. Except, of course, the PI sheets - those are the property of the drug companies who developed the drugs the sheets are about - and any documents that are written by other people which may be posted to this site will remain the property of the original authors. You cannot reproduce this page or any other material on this site outside of the boundaries of fair use copying without the express permission of the copyright holder. That’s usually me, so just ask first. That means if want to print out a few pages to take to your doctor, therapist, counselor, support group, non-understanding family members or something like that - then that’s OK to just do. Go for it! Please. As long as you include this copyright notice and something along the lines of following disclaimer, I’m usually cool with it.
All rights reserved. No warranty is expressed or implied in this information. Consult one or more doctors and/or pharmacists before taking, or changing how you take any neurological and/or psychiatric medication. Your mileage may vary. What happened to us won’t necessarily happen to you. If you still have questions about a medication or condition that were not answered on any of the pages you read, please ask them on Crazy Talk: the Crazymeds Forum.
The information on Crazymeds pertains to and is intended for adults. While some information about children and adolescents is occasionally presented (e.g. US FDA approvals), pediatric-specific data such as dosages, side effects, off-label applications, etc. are rarely included in the articles on drugs or discussed on the forum. If you are looking for information regarding meds for children you’ll have to go somewhere else. Plus we are big pottymouths and talk about S-E-X a lot.
Know your sources!
Nobody on this site is a doctor, a therapist, or a pharmacist. We don’t portray them either here or on TV. Only doctors can diagnose and treat an illness. While it’s not as bad as it used to be, some doctors still get pissed off by patients who know too much about medications, so tread lightly when and where appropriate. Diagnosing yourself from a website is like defending yourself in court, you suddenly have a fool for a doctor. Don’t be a cyberchondriac, thinking you have every disease you see a website about, or that you’ll get every side effect from every medication1. Self-prescribing is as dangerous as buying meds from fraudulent online pharmacies that promise you medications without prescriptions.
All information on this site has been obtained from the medications’ product information / summary of product characteristic (PI/SPC) sheets and/or medication guides - which is all you get from sites like WebMD, RxList,
NAMBLA NAMI, etc., the sources that are referenced throughout the site, our personal experience and the experiences family, friends, and what people have reported on various reputable sites all over teh intergoogles. As such the information presented here is not intended as a substitute for real medical advice from your real doctor, just a compliment to it. You should never, ever, replace what a real doctor tells you with something from a website on the Internet. The farthest you should ever take it is getting a second opinion from another real doctor. Educate yourself - always read the PI/SPC sheet or medication guide/patient information leaflet (PIL) that comes with your medications and never ever throw them away. OK, you can throw away duplicate copies, but keep at least one, as that’s your proof of purchase of having taken a med in case a doctor doubts your medical history. Plus they take up less space than a bottle, although keeping one inside of a pill bottle is even better.
Crazymeds is not responsible for the content of sites we provide links to. We like them, or they’re paid advertisements, or they’re something else we think you should read to help you make an informed decision about a particular med. Sometimes they’re more than one of those things. But what’s on those sites is their business, not ours.
Crazymeds is optimized for ridiculously large screens and browsers that don’t block ads. I use Firefox and Chrome, running under Windows 72. On a computer that sits on top of my desk. With a 23 inch monitor. Hey, at least you can make the text larger or smaller by clicking on the + or - buttons in the upper right hand corner. If you have Java enabled. Like 99% of the websites on the planet, Crazymeds is hosted on domain running an open source operating system with a variety of open source applications, including the software used to display what you’ve been reading. As such Crazymeds is not responsible for whatever weird shit your browser does or does not do when you read this site3.
No neurologists, psychiatrists, therapists or pharmacists were harmed in the production of this website. Use only as directed. Void where prohibited. Contains nuts. Certain restrictions may apply. All data are subject to availability. Not available on all mobile devices, in the 12 Galaxies Guiltied to a Zegnatronic Rocket Society, or in all dimensions of reality. Hail Xenu!
‘Everything is true, nothing is permitted.’ - Jerod Poore
1 While there are plenty of books to help you with hypochondria, for some reason there’s not much in the way of websites. Then again, staying off of the Internet is a large part of curing/managing the disorder.
2 Remember kids, Microsloth operating systems are like TOS Star Trek movies with in that every other one sucks way, way more. With TOS Star Trek movies you don’t want to bother watching the odd-numbered ones. With Microsloth OS you don’t want to buy and install the even-numbered ones. Anyone who remembers ME and Vista knows what I mean.
3 Have I mentioned how open source operating systems for commercial applications is one of the dumbest ideas in the history of dumb ideas?* I don’t even need my big-ass rant any more. Heartbleed has made my case for me. And that’s just the one that got all the media attention. The very nature of an open source operating system makes security as much of an illusion as anonymity on teh Intergoogles. Before you flip out too much: the domain Crazymeds is hosted on uses a version of SSL that is not affected by the Heartbleed bug. That’s one of the many reasons why I pay a lot of money and keep this site on Lunarpages.
* Yes, I know I’m using open source browsers. I also test the site using the now-defunct IE and Safari browsers. Their popularity - and superiority - killed IE and Safari, so that’s why I rely on the open source browsers. It’s like brand vs. generic meds. Sometimes the generic is better than the brand.