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Old 07-12-2012, 01:32 PM
LaurenIpsum is offline
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Wellbutrin side effects - glad to know I'm not going crazy!


This definitely falls into mundane and pointless, but I felt like telling someone. I've been suffering from depression related to an unexplained injury that won't heal (which I've posted about in another Dope forum). About 6-8 weeks ago, my doctor suggested trying an antidepressant. I told her that I had bad reactions to 3 different SSRI antidepressants about 10 years ago, so she prescribed Wellbutrin, since it's in a different class.

At a follow up appointment last week, she asked how I was feeling and if I was having any side effects like nausea, insomnia or increased anxiety. I said no, so she doubled my dose.

Last week on Friday afternoon, I started getting a headache (and feeling slightly nauseous) which got really bad by evening. I felt better the next day, so I didn't think much of it.

While driving home from work on Tuesday, I suddenly started seeing double on far away objects - including cars that were ahead of me. But luckily I live very close to work, so I just drove slowly and tried my best to focus. I started thinking that maybe I should see an ophthalmologist. The same thing happened yesterday, but only driving home from work, not driving to work.

This morning, I woke up and started seeing images leaving "trails." When I first got up I reached for a glass of water on my nightstand, and as I picked it up, I saw what I thought was a long hair stuck to the glass. I tried to remove it and realized that I was seeing "trails" of the moving glass. Even waving my hand in front of my face had the same effect. It was like something you'd see as a "dream sequence" special effect on a sitcom. At this point I completely freaked out. It went away after a few minutes, but my first thought was that I'd had a mild stroke or some brain damage, maybe when I'd had the headache, and now my eyes were screwed up.

Later that morning, I called my mom to ask if she could recommend her opthamologist, and told her my situation. Then she said something I hadn't considered - had all these things happened right after I doubled my Wellbutrin? Why yes, they had.

So I started googling double vision, image trails and headaches. All side effects. Then I started thinking back to a bunch of "little things" that had been happening for several weeks, that I hadn't thought much of:

-ringing in my ears (which I have had occasionally since childhood, but now it was happening all the time)
-sore throat, which I had attributed to seasonal allergies, which has happened before, only it usually lasts a week. I just realized that it has been going on longer than that.
-weight loss - which I thought was odd since I haven't exercised much since my injury, and I was already skinny to begin with

Individually, none of those things was a major cause of concern, but added up, along with the more recent head/vision issues, it completely makes sense. I feel like an idiot for not making the connection sooner.

But, at least I don't have brain damage and I'm not going crazy. I called my doctor and left a message, but I haven't heard back yet. In the meantime, I went back to the lower dose of Wellbutrin today, and I plan to taper off (with my doctor's advice).
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Old 07-12-2012, 01:40 PM
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Wow, that is crazy. Thank goodness you figured it out. Wellbutrin does seem to have a lot of weird side effects.

Back when I was on it, years ago, it dried my eyes out. The dryness got worse and worse, to the point that it was painful to have them open at all. The whole area around my eyes began to peel and flake. My doctors had no idea what was going on, and I was horrified that I might have to live like that for the rest of my life.

Fortunately, my husband did some googling, and discovered that severe eye dryness can be a side effect of Wellbutrin. Once I stopped taking it, my eyes were very quickly back to normal.

Wellbutrin can be kind of crazy, is all I'm saying.
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Old 07-12-2012, 02:03 PM
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What is the dosage you are on? I take 100mg of bupropion (generic Wellbutrin) 3x a day, for a total of 300mg a day. And I've never had any of the side effects you mention (nor any others really - initially it seemed like my libido went down a bit but that seems to have gone back up).
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Old 07-12-2012, 02:08 PM
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I recently upped my dosage of Wellbutrin from 150 to 300 and definitely have the ringing in my ears.

When I was on it once before and went from 300 to 450, I had very odd cognitive side effects. I would be talking and suddenly unable to think of a particular word, and once, when I was driving to work, I realized I didn't know where I was. I was on the route I took every day, but for a few seconds, it was totally unrecognizable. That was kind of scary.

Those side effects did go away.

I understand weight loss with Wellbutrin is a fairly common side effect.
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Old 07-12-2012, 02:24 PM
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use a pharmacy that gives you a print out about any drugs you take. read and understand it. if you can't understand it then ask your doctor, pharmacist or nurse. keep this information together so to talk to doctors, pharmacists or for emergencies (if you get sick or injured telling people what you are taking could be very important). you should understand adverse effects, some could be sudden and severe or dangerous. also you need to be aware of what drugs and foods don't mix with that drug, some adverse things could happen or minimally it could make the drug not work.
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Old 07-12-2012, 02:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rigamarole View Post
What is the dosage you are on? I take 100mg of bupropion (generic Wellbutrin) 3x a day, for a total of 300mg a day. And I've never had any of the side effects you mention (nor any others really - initially it seemed like my libido went down a bit but that seems to have gone back up).
I was on 150mg, once a day, and recently upped to 300mg. I think I may be overly sensitive to certain drugs. I take ambien occasionally, and I've found that I need only 2.5mg to knock me out, even though I've heard that the common dosages are 5 or 10mg. But even on the 150mg of Wellbutrin, I was still having issues like the ears ringing and sore throat, so I'd definitely like to get off of it (I went to 150 today). Just waiting to hear back from my doctor about advice for tapering off.
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Old 07-12-2012, 02:37 PM
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There's a lot of new anti-depressant meds that have come out in the past 10 years, and more that will in the next 10 years, because none of them are all that great for everybody. If I was seeing things, even just trails, I'd stop taking it and try something different. On the other hand, I might try something that would make me grow an extra limb if it could get me to sleep.
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Old 07-12-2012, 02:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnpost View Post
use a pharmacy that gives you a print out about any drugs you take. read and understand it. if you can't understand it then ask your doctor, pharmacist or nurse. keep this information together so to talk to doctors, pharmacists or for emergencies (if you get sick or injured telling people what you are taking could be very important). you should understand adverse effects, some could be sudden and severe or dangerous. also you need to be aware of what drugs and foods don't mix with that drug, some adverse things could happen or minimally it could make the drug not work.
It's especially important to research drug side effects, because all too often doctors are clueless about them, in my experience.
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Old 07-12-2012, 03:03 PM
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Moved from MPSIMS to IMHO, the forum for medical/medicinal anecdotes, advice, diagnoses, and commentary.
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Old 07-12-2012, 03:13 PM
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I took Wellbutrin once and it was like a cross between being stoned and having perpetual deja vu (like I was traveling through life about 1/2 second behind the 'real timeline'). It was soooooo hard to give that stuff up, but in the end, I was totally useless at work and really did need to keep my job.
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Old 07-12-2012, 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by freckafree View Post
I recently upped my dosage of Wellbutrin from 150 to 300 and definitely have the ringing in my ears.

When I was on it once before and went from 300 to 450, I had very odd cognitive side effects. I would be talking and suddenly unable to think of a particular word, and once, when I was driving to work, I realized I didn't know where I was. I was on the route I took every day, but for a few seconds, it was totally unrecognizable. That was kind of scary.

Those side effects did go away.

I understand weight loss with Wellbutrin is a fairly common side effect.
I've been on Wellbutrin for four or five months now, and it never occurred to me the ear ringing I experience occasionally could be a side effect. I've commented to my husband that I thought the Wellbutrin has made me just a little stupider, a little off my game, because sometimes I blank out on things and I used to have an excellent short term memory. I blanked during a job interview like that once. I had to actually pick up the resume and look for the name of the organization I'd done work with. Also, I find I'm without the right word to describe something, or I'll write a word and it will just look... wrong. I've had to check my spelling a lot more often since starting this med.

I was just startled to hear you share your experience about work, because the exact same thing happened to me on my way to the gym. I completely forgot where I was, even though I knew I should know, because I'd taken the route so many times. I was so freaked out I turned around half way there and drove home.

Things have gotten better with time. But even if they didn't... Wellbutrin has an effect on my depression that I can only describe as miraculous. It took me ten years to find something that works. I'll just have to deal with the side effects.
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Old 07-12-2012, 04:05 PM
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Weight loss you say? I may have to try it. (for depression and quitting smoking)
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Old 07-12-2012, 04:17 PM
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Weight loss you say? I may have to try it. (for depression and quitting smoking)

Yeah...just make sure the side effects are worth it. I know a lot of doctors are off-labelling Wellbutrin for smoking cessation, but holy crap. Haven't run across a single person it worked for, as the side effects were just not worth it.
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Old 07-12-2012, 04:30 PM
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Yeah...just make sure the side effects are worth it. I know a lot of doctors are off-labelling Wellbutrin for smoking cessation, but holy crap. Haven't run across a single person it worked for, as the side effects were just not worth it.
I know one, at least: my brother. He was a heavy smoker for at least 15 years and said he almost immediately lost the craving for cigarettes after starting Zyban (which is also buproprion HCL). Said they tasted weird if he did try to smoke one, and as far as I know hasn't smoked in three years or so. He didn't report any problems, but he's pretty tolerant of side effects. By contrast, my mother couldn't last more than two days before stopping, but she's extremely sensitive to side effects and tends to psyche herself up about them, I think.

Although my brother no longer smokes, he has started using "dip" (smokeless tobacco) every day, so I guess the nicotine craving wasn't completely eliminated.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LaurenIpsum
I take ambien occasionally, and I've found that I need only 2.5mg to knock me out, even though I've heard that the common dosages are 5 or 10mg.
By any chance had you taken Ambien before you saw the trails? I don't think I've seen anyone report trails from Wellbutrin before, but I got sort of a trail effect from Ambien once and I've read reports from people who said it felt like tripping.
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Old 07-12-2012, 04:40 PM
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I haven't experienced major side effects from it. In fact, whenever I have an increase in dosage, I experience pleasant things--like the most fantastical dreams.
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Old 07-12-2012, 04:48 PM
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I haven't experienced major side effects from it. In fact, whenever I have an increase in dosage, I experience pleasant things--like the most fantastical dreams.
That happened to me when I took Paxil. Incredibly detailed, happy dreams. I kind of miss it. Unfortunately, Paxil didn't work for me in other ways.
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Old 07-12-2012, 06:24 PM
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By any chance had you taken Ambien before you saw the trails? I don't think I've seen anyone report trails from Wellbutrin before, but I got sort of a trail effect from Ambien once and I've read reports from people who said it felt like tripping.
Interesting point. But no, I actually haven't taken Ambien lately - I only do it occasionally.
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Old 07-12-2012, 06:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Taomist View Post
Yeah...just make sure the side effects are worth it. I know a lot of doctors are off-labelling Wellbutrin for smoking cessation, but holy crap. Haven't run across a single person it worked for, as the side effects were just not worth it.
See post #3. I'm pretty shocked by this thread. It's worked quite well for me with essentially no side effects (I'm also taking it in conjunction with Zoloft). The effect is pretty subtle though, not at all like being "stoned" as one poster said upthread.
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Old 07-12-2012, 07:47 PM
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It's worked for me, too. I've had really bad experiences with meds, but I have no complaints about my bu.
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Old 07-12-2012, 07:56 PM
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I started taking it in May and it's working great for me. Though, I took it a few years back as Zyban so I already knew it didn't have any bad effects for me. Boy, i'd love to start seeing some of that weight loss!
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Old 07-13-2012, 07:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Rigamarole View Post
See post #3. I'm pretty shocked by this thread. It's worked quite well for me with essentially no side effects (I'm also taking it in conjunction with Zoloft). The effect is pretty subtle though, not at all like being "stoned" as one poster said upthread.
I didn't mean to imply that everyone is going to have bad side effects from Wellbutrin (or other antidepressants). If everyone did, no one would prescribe them. So they are clearly working for a lot of people - it's just that some people, like me and some other posters in this thread, get side effects, some of which make the drug not worth taking.
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Old 07-13-2012, 08:07 AM
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Originally Posted by LaurenIpsum View Post
I didn't mean to imply that everyone is going to have bad side effects from Wellbutrin (or other antidepressants). If everyone did, no one would prescribe them. So they are clearly working for a lot of people...
Only because a lot of people are susceptible to the placebo effect.
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Old 07-13-2012, 08:39 AM
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I'm sensitive to anti-depressants as well. I think the experimenting with taking them is why I got diagnosed with Bipolar (most SSRI's cause mania for me as well as stimulant medication), even though I never took any of them longer than a few weeks other than Strattera. Wellbutrine did make my ears ring, and that's why I stopped taking it. I also was on a forum where someone was claiming they were suddenly really suicidal, and I mentioned about her taking Wellbutrin which could have been causing those feelings.

I don't know if being sensitive to certain meds makes people truly Bipolar, but I take Abilify which has no side effects, no weight gain (kills appetite too), and it actually helps me with tinnitus. I think my mania is what causes the tinnitus or ringing.
It works as both a mood stabilizer and helps me think more like normal.

Abilify is also used for depression, I'm pretty sure they market it on tv for that too. Since I have Bipolar, it has tackled all my major problems with the MI. The only thing is you wouldn't want to take it for a few risks, Tardive Dyskinesia or constant muscle twitching is known for being linked to anti-psychotics, and Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrom, NMS, which is fatal. I also don't know which are worse if you're pregnant, because I've been told anti-psychotics may cause birth defects.

I haven't had any issues with Abilify, but I thought I'd let you know of the risks in case you ever decide to take an anti-psychotic.
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Old 07-13-2012, 12:18 PM
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Only because a lot of people are susceptible to the placebo effect.
You know why I know I'm immune to the placebo effect? Because I tried 14 goddamn different medications over 10 years and spent thousands upon thousands of dollars on treatment before I found one that actually worked. And actually, Wellbutrin was one of the first medications I tried, years ago, and for whatever reason I didn't react well to it, but I was so desperate at this point I was like, ''Yeah, what the hell, I'll try it again." I had zero expectations. I had finally accepted that nothing was going to help me.

The placebo effect is a thing, but so are medications actually helping people.
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Old 07-14-2012, 08:00 PM
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Only because a lot of people are susceptible to the placebo effect.
Thirty percent of depression sufferers is still a rather large group of people. And nearly every one of these tests I've seen only test SSRIs, a class of drug that Welbutrin does not fit into.

My experience with the drug is that it's a bit of an upper, and if that's the case with others, that alone could help with mild or even moderate depression.

BTW, do they still call it the placebo effect when the drug does actually do something, and thus your brain assumes that, since it's doing that, it's making things better? And, also, do they count it when, like SSRIs, there's a (usually) small withdrawal period where you will feel worse without taking the drug, thus making you think you need it?

Last edited by BigT; 07-14-2012 at 08:01 PM.
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Old 07-14-2012, 08:25 PM
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When I was on it once before and went from 300 to 450, I had very odd cognitive side effects. I would be talking and suddenly unable to think of a particular word, and once, when I was driving to work, I realized I didn't know where I was. I was on the route I took every day, but for a few seconds, it was totally unrecognizable. That was kind of scary.
I've never been on Wellbutrin but these experiences sound eerily familiar to the experiences I had while adjusting to "Dopamax", or as it's more properly known; Topamax. It has earned the nickname "Dopamax" for having the reputation of making people literally unable to comprehend basic concepts and making typically highly intelligent people struggle with formerly easy cognitive tasks.

I would stop mid-sentence, completely at a loss for what I wanted to say. And I mean totally blank. I'd just have to drop it. Embarrassing and kind of scary. It took the better part of a year for me to fully adjust and feel like my old, normal self again. I am on a low-dose regimen of Topamax (in addition to a few other preventative meds), which is an anti-seizure drug which I am prescribed off-label to prevent migraines. So I am stuck taking it indefinitely.
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