Buproprion (Wellbutrin, Zyban, Budepron, Buproban)

Buproprion is an atypical antidepressant classified as a monocyclic aminoketone. It received FDA approval in 1984 for the treatment of depression. In 1986, buproprion was removed from the market due to an unacceptable incidence of seizures in people who took it. It was reintroduced in 1989 with a lower dosing schedule.

The Bottom Line: What You Really Need to Know

How buproprion is used

Buproprion is used primarily as an antidepressant in the United States. Its antidepressant activity is similar to other medications, it has fewer sexual side effects and it is not associated with weight gain. It also improves fatigue and sleepiness.

Buproprion can be used to augment SSRI antidepressants and it can be used without mood stabilizers to treat bipolar disease.

Buproprion (Zyban) is approved to treat nicotine addiction in the United States and the United Kingdom. (That is the only indication buproprion is approved for in the UK.)

It is also used "off label" to treat the following conditions (Medications may be used "off label" for conditions they are not approved for.):

Dosage and instructions

You usually start buproprion at a low dose of 75-150 mg/day for a few days. The dose can be increased to 300 mg, and then to 450 mg/day if necessary. The maximum recommended dose is 450 mg/day. It can take 4 weeks or more to achieve the full therapeutic effect. Buproprion should be taken in the morning to prevent sleeplessness.

How buproprion works

Buproprion inhibits the reuptake of norepinephrine and dopamine from the junction of nerve cells. It is a nicotine antagonist and has a stimulating effect on the brain.

Side effects

Buproprion can cause a number of side effects, including:


There should be at least a two week time lapse between taking buproprion and monamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). MAOIs can increase buproprion levels and cause toxicity.

The following medications increase the likelihood of having seizures when you are taking buproprion, and they should be avoided:


Buproprion should not be withdrawn suddenly; the dose must be tapered over several days or weeks.

Precautions, warnings and contraindications

Suicide risk: All antidepressants increase the risk of suicide, especially when you first begin taking them. During the first several weeks or months of buproprion treatment, you should be monitored closely by your physician or therapist and by family and friends. Any increase in depression, mood swings, unusual thoughts or behaviors, agitation, aggression or thoughts of harming yourself or others must be reported to the physician immediately.

MAOI: There must be a two week delay between taking monoamine oxidase antidepressants and buproprion.

Liver disease: Buproprion should be used with caution and at a reduced dose in people with liver disease. Rare instances of liver toxicity have occurred with buproprion.

Kidney disease: Use with caution and at decreased dose with kidney disease (buproprion is excreted by the kidneys).

Seizures: Buproprion is a central nervous system stimulant. There is an increased risk of seizures in people who are already susceptible to them. Buproprion should not be taken by people who have:

Buproprion should not be taken by women who are pregnant, who wish to become pregnant or who are breast feeding.

Buproprion should not be used by children under age 18.

Additional information

Buproprion can cause a false positive reading for amphetamines on drug tests.

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