Wellbutrin vs Lexapro: Uses, similarities, differences, more

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Wellbutrin and Lexapro are two commonly prescribed medications for depression. They both work similarly in the brain to increase serotonin levels, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood. Wellbutrin is a norepinephrine and dopamine reuptake inhibitor (NDRI), while Lexapro is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI).

Both medications have similar efficacy for treating depression but can differ in side effects and how well they work for certain people. This article will compare Wellbutrin vs Lexapro, its uses, dosage, side effects, and how they work. Read on to find out the similarities and differences between these two drugs.

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Can You Take Wellbutrin and Lexapro Together?

Studies show that when people take Wellbutrin and Lexapro together, it can help to improve depression indicators more than taking either medication alone. Those with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) are said to benefit the most from this combination treatment. Wellbutrin and Lexapro work in different ways to treat depression, so taking them together can be synergistic.

However, some interactions can occur when taking Wellbutrin and Lexapro together. This combination treatment has reported an increased risk of seizures, so it’s important to talk to your doctor about any history of seizures before starting Wellbutrin or Lexapro.

Also, Wellbutrin can cause blood levels of escitalopram (the active ingredient in Lexapro) to increase, leading to increased side effects.

Your healthcare provider will be able to determine if Wellbutrin and Lexapro are safe to take together based on your medical history, mental health, and other medications.

Why Do Doctors Prescribe Lexapro and Wellbutrin Together

Since Wellbutrin and Lexapro have similar efficacy for treating depression, they are often prescribed together to provide the best chance of symptom relief. Wellbutrin can help to improve energy levels, and Lexapro can help with anxiety and sleep problems, so the two medications complement each other well.

A study showed that depression scores decreased when patients were asked to rate their depression symptoms while taking Wellbutrin and Lexapro together for four weeks.

Wellbutrin vs Lexapro- Which is better?

There is no definitive answer to this question, as the best medication for each person depends on many factors. In addition, one person’s unique biological makeup may react differently than another.

Wellbutrin has fewer side effects than Lexapro and is less likely to cause sexual side effects. Wellbutrin can also treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and seasonal affective disorder (SAD). However, people with seizures, eating disorders, or drinking alcohol should avoid Wellbutrin.

On the other hand, Lexapro is generally well-tolerated and can be taken with or without food. It also has fewer interactions with other drugs compared to other SSRIs. However, Lexapro may not be the best option if you have liver disease, as it can cause elevated liver enzymes.

Your doctor will choose the best medication for you based on your medical history and treatment goals. Be sure to have an open and honest conversation with them about your options.

Wellbutrin vs Lexapro: Differences

While both Wellbutrin and Lexapro are effective treatments for depression, there are some crucial differences between the two medications.

Wellbutrin is an NDRI, while Lexapro is an SSRI. NDRIs prevent the reuptake of norepinephrine and dopamine, while SSRIs prevent the reuptake of serotonin. Some other key differences include the following:

Side effects: Lexapro may have more side effects than Wellbutrin, including fatigue, weight gain, and sexual side effects. Wellbutrin may cause more agitation and anxiety.

Conditions treated: Both drugs treat depression, but Wellbutrin works for smoking cessation, bipolar disorders, or SAD, while Lexapro is recommended for people with anxiety or panic disorders.

Dosage: Wellbutrin is available in both an immediate-release and extended-release formulation, while Lexapro is only available as an oral solution or tablet.

Cost: Wellbutrin is more expensive than Lexapro.

Ultimately, it is up to the doctor’s discretion to prescribe the medication they think will work optimally for each patient.

Are Wellbutrin and Lexapro the Same?

No, Wellbutrin and Lexapro are not the same. As mentioned earlier, Wellbutrin is an NDRI, while Lexapro is an SSRI. In addition, the work they do is very different and often has various side effects.

Specific characteristics may make one drug more suitable, so discussing your options with your doctor before starting any medication is essential.

Wellbutrin vs Lexapro for Depression

Depression is a severe medical condition that can negatively impact every aspect of your life. Therefore, if you are suffering from depression, seeking treatment as soon as possible is crucial.

Many different treatment options are available, and the best course of action often combines medication and therapy. Wellbutrin and Lexapro are two popular medications used to treat depression.

People who have depression report that improvements in mood and energy levels are usually noticeable within 1-2 weeks after starting Wellbutrin and Lexapro. For those with severe depression, it may take longer to see results. Wellbutrin and Lexapro are considered effective treatments for depression, with Wellbutrin having fewer side effects.

Patients must disclose their medical history and medications to their doctor before starting Wellbutrin or Lexapro, as there can be severe drug interactions.

Can Wellbutrin and Lexapro Help With Anxiety?

While Wellbutrin is also approved to treat generalized anxiety disorders, Lexapro is the preferred SSRI. This is because both Wellbutrin and Lexapro can help reduce anxiety, worry, restlessness, and irritability.

It is important to note that these medications should not be used to treat sudden acute anxiety episodes such as panic attacks. If you are suffering from anxiety, seeking treatment from a qualified mental health professional is essential.

Additionally, Wellbutrin and Lexapro can cause anxiety as a side effect, so monitoring your symptoms closely when starting either medication is essential. Contact your doctor immediately if you experience worsening anxiety or any other troubling side effects.

Dosage of Wellbutrin vs. Lexapro

If you are considering starting Wellbutrin or Lexapro, discussing the correct dosage with your doctor is essential. We will be differentiating the dosage of Wellbutrin vs. Lexapro in this section.

How Should Wellbutrin Be Taken?

Wellbutrin has three different formulations:

  • Wellbutrin immediate release (IR)
  • Wellbutrin extended-release (XL)
  • Wellbutrin SR

Depending on the formulation, Wellbutrin should be taken anywhere from two to four times daily. For example, a regular Wellbutrin dose for depression is Wellbutrin 150 mg twice a day.

For those taking the extended-release formulation, the Wellbutrin XL dosage for depression is Wellbutrin XL 150 mg once daily in the morning. The Wellbutrin SR dosage is also Wellbutrin 150 mg twice daily but given at an interval of eight hours.

Your doctor will start you on a low Wellbutrin dose and increase it gradually until you reach the optimal dosage for your needs. However, it is vital to take Wellbutrin exactly as prescribed and not miss any doses.

How Should Lexapro Be Taken?

Lexapro is more straightforward in dosage as it is only available in one formulation. The recommended starting dose of Lexapro for depression is Lexapro 20 mg once a day. It may be taken either morning or evening but should be taken at the same time each day.

Effectiveness of Wellbutrin vs. Lexapro

Wellbutrin and Lexapro are considered effective treatments for depression, so it is hard to say which is better. Wellbutrin may have fewer side effects, but Lexapro is generally more affordable.

The most important thing is finding the best medication for you. If you are thinking about starting Wellbutrin or Lexapro, be sure to discuss all of your options with your doctor.

Side Effects of Wellbutrin vs. Lexapro

There are several possible side effects associated with Wellbutrin and Lexapro. The most common side effects of Wellbutrin include the following:

  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Anxiety
  • Tremor
  • Insomnia
  • Dizziness

Meanwhile, the most common side effects of Lexapro include the following:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Dry mouth
  • Insomnia
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Sexual dysfunction

Sexual dysfunction is more common among Lexapro users than those taking Wellbutrin. Other side effects to be aware of include worsening anxiety disorders or suicidal thoughts. If you experience either of these, be sure to contact your doctor right away.

Warnings of Wellbutrin and Lexapro

Since most psychiatric medications can cause serious side effects, it is crucial to know the potential dangers before starting any new medication. Wellbutrin and Lexapro are no exception.

Drug Interactions of Wellbutrin vs. Lexapro

Wellbutrin and Lexapro can interact with other medications, so discussing your options with your doctor is essential. Some of the drugs that Wellbutrin may interact with include:

  • MAO inhibitors
  • Stimulants
  • Tricyclic antidepressants
  • Blood pressure medications
  • Seizure medications

For instance, MAO inhibitors can cause a dangerous increase in blood pressure when taken with Wellbutrin. Therefore, patients should not take MAO inhibitors within two weeks of taking Wellbutrin and Lexapro.

Medical and lab tests may also be affected when taking Wellbutrin.

Medications to Avoid if You Are on Wellbutrin

As mentioned, Wellbutrin can interact with other medications. There are also certain medications that you should not use if you are taking Wellbutrin. These include:

  • Adderall (amphetamine)
  • Abilify (apripiprazole)
  • Cymbalta (duloxetine)
  • Xanax (alprazolam)
  • Zoloft (sertraline)
  • Tramadol
  • Klonopin (clonazepam)

You should also not take Wellbutrin if you take an MAO inhibitor or have taken one within the past two weeks.

You should also avoid Wellbutrin if you take medication for seizures, such as Depakote (divalproex sodium) or Dilantin (phenytoin).

Medications to Avoid if You Are on Lexapro

Drugs that should not be used with Lexapro include:

  • MAO inhibitors
  • St. John’s wort
  • Tryptophan supplements
  • Paxil (paroxetine)
  • Zoloft (sertraline)
  • Celexa (citalopram)

It would help if you discussed your options with your doctor before starting Wellbutrin or Lexapro. Also, mention if you are taking other medications, vitamins, or supplements.

Do not stop taking Wellbutrin or Lexapro suddenly; this can cause withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, and nausea.

Can I Use Wellbutrin or Lexapro With Alcohol?

It is not advisable to drink alcohol while taking Wellbutrin or Lexapro. Drinking alcohol can increase the risk of specific side effects such as drowsiness, dizziness, and nausea. It can also make it harder for the medication to work effectively.

This is because alcohol can interfere with how the body metabolizes Wellbutrin and Lexapro.

Wellbutrin And Lexapro During Pregnancy And Breastfeeding

It is not advisable to take Wellbutrin or Lexapro during pregnancy as it may cause harm to the developing baby. In addition, studies show that Wellbutrin may be associated with an increased risk of congenital disabilities.

Lexapro also increases preterm birth risk. If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of taking Wellbutrin or Lexapro.

Small amounts of Wellbutrin and Lexapro may be passed into breast milk, exposing the baby to the medication. However, if the medication’s benefit outweighs the baby’s risk, your doctor may prescribe Wellbutrin or Lexapro.

If breastfeeding, talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of taking Wellbutrin or Lexapro.

Lexapro Withdrawal: Symptoms, Timeline, and Treatment

Since Lexapro is an SSRI, it may cause withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking the medication suddenly.

Symptoms of Lexapro withdrawal can include:

  • Anxiety
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Decreased appetite

Withdrawal symptoms usually start within a few days to a week after stopping Lexapro. However, they may last for several weeks or longer. The second withdrawal phase can begin weeks after the first phase and last for months.

The best way to avoid withdrawal symptoms is to slowly taper off the medication under the supervision of a doctor. This will allow your body to adjust to the change and minimize withdrawal symptoms.

If you experience withdrawal symptoms, they will likely go away within a few weeks. However, if they are severe or last long, talk to your doctor. You may need to be put back on Lexapro or start taking another medication to help with the withdrawal symptoms.

Wellbutrin Withdrawal: Symptoms, Timeline, and Treatment

Wellbutrin also can cause withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking it suddenly. Wellbutrin withdrawal symptoms can include the following:

  • Agitation
  • Sweating
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Decreased appetite
  • Electric shock sensations
  • Visual hallucinations
  • Digestive issues

While withdrawal symptoms in Wellbutrin aren’t that common, they can still occur. Some patients can recover from Wellbutrin withdrawal independently, but others may need medical help. The time frame for Wellbutrin withdrawal is also different for everyone.

People who took Wellbutrin for a short period are less likely to experience withdrawal symptoms than those who took it for a long time. Wellbutrin withdrawal can also be more severe if you take high doses of the medication.

Your doctor should taper you off Wellbutrin gradually to minimize the risk of withdrawal symptoms. If you experience Wellbutrin withdrawal, talk to your doctor about ways to manage the symptoms.

Sometimes, your doctor may prescribe another medication to help with Wellbutrin withdrawal.

Lexapro and Wellbutrin Combo Reviews

As mentioned above, some people may need Wellbutrin and Lexapro to manage their symptoms. In addition, studies show that the combination of Wellbutrin and Lexapro effectively treats depression.

One study found that the Wellbutrin and Lexapro combo was more effective than Wellbutrin alone. The Wellbutrin and Lexapro combo was also associated with fewer side effects than Wellbutrin alone.

If you are considering taking Wellbutrin and Lexapro together, talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits. The Wellbutrin and Lexapro combo may not be suitable for everyone.

Your doctor must also monitor you closely if you take Wellbutrin and Lexapro to ensure you tolerate the medication well.

When To See A Doctor

Talk to your doctor first if you are considering taking Wellbutrin or Lexapro. Wellbutrin and Lexapro are effective medications for treating depression but they also come with risks.

Your doctor must determine if the benefits of Wellbutrin or Lexapro outweigh the risks. They will also need to monitor you closely for side effects.

Talk to your doctor immediately if you are taking Wellbutrin or Lexapro and experiencing any side effects. In some cases, the side effects may go away on their own. But if they are severe or last long, you may need to stop taking the medication.

Some side effects you need to watch out for include:

  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Skin rash
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Headaches

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you still have questions about Wellbutrin vs. Lexapro? Here are some answers to common questions:

The answer to this question isn’t straightforward. Medications like Wellbutrin from the NDRI class are sometimes used as an alternative to SSRIs because they work differently and may be less likely to cause sexual side effects.

However, this does not mean that Wellbutrin is necessarily better than SSRIs. Wellbutrin may work better for some people but not others. It depends on the individual.

While the Wellbutrin and Lexapro combo effectively treats depression, it’s unsuitable for everyone. In addition, some individuals may experience more side effects when taking both medications.

You can discuss the risks and benefits of taking Wellbutrin and Lexapro with your doctor. They will be able to determine if the Wellbutrin and Lexapro combo is right for you.

If you take Wellbutrin and Lexapro together, your doctor must monitor you closely for side effects.

It isn’t recommended to take Wellbutrin with an amphetamine. Taking Wellbutrin with amphetamine can increase your risk of seizures. If you need to take an amphetamine, your doctor will likely prescribe a different antidepressant.

Amphetamines include medications like Adderall and Concerta. Talk to your pharmacist or healthcare expert if you are taking Wellbutrin and have questions about whether a drug contains an amphetamine.

The content on Doctor Alexa’s blog is reviewed by Advanced practice registered nurses or pharmacist and is intended for educational purposes only. This information should not be relied upon as professional medical counsel. Be sure to always consult with your physician about the dangers and benefits of any medication, treatment or procedure.

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