Wellbutrin Drug Information

Generically known as bupropion, Wellbutrin is an oral antidepressant medication that has been prescribed in the treatment of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obesity, sexual dysfunction and smoking cessation. Wellbutrin is produced by GlaxoSmithKline and has been FDA-approved since 1985. Since then, the Food and Drug Administration has also approved two other versions of bupropion medication, Wellbutrin SR (in 1996) and Wellbutrin XL (in 2003). GlaxoSmithKline also makes and distributes another bupropion medication known as Zyban, which has been available since 1997 as a smoking cessation aid.

Unlike nearly all depression drugs, Wellbutrin tablets are not known to cause weight gain or sexual dysfunction. Over its 22 years on the market, Wellbutrin has become the 4th most popularly prescribed antidepressant drug, with retail prescriptions exceeding 20 million in the U.S.

Wellbutrin Side Effects

Despite its popularity and effectiveness, Wellbutrin has been reported to cause some severe side effects in rare cases. Serious, possibly irreversible side effects associated with Wellbutrin include:

  • Depression
  • General psychological disturbances
  • Mania
  • Memory impairments
  • Permanent psychological disorders
  • Personality change
  • Psychosis
  • Severe allergic reaction
  • Seizures (This side effect is debatable, however, as depressive patients already have a significantly higher risk of experiencing seizures)
  • Suicidal thoughts and/or behaviors

In the worst cases, these serious Wellbutrin side effects will be fatal. The FDA reports that, from November 1997 to February 2003, 468 Wellbutrin deaths were reported. According to the FDA, only 1 to 10 percent of such severe injuries and fatalities are reported. As a result, experts estimate that Wellbutrin caused, during this period, nearly 4,700 deaths.

Risk Factors for Serious Wellbutrin Side Effects

Patients with the highest risk of developing severe Wellbutrin injuries include those with a history of:

  • Active brain tumors
  • Alcoholism
  • Anorexia or bulimia
  • Epilepsy
  • Aaking benzodiazepine psychoactive drugs

Additionally, patients taking MAO inhibitors should discontinue these drugs for 14 days before starting a course of Wellbutrin. Individuals with a history of the following health conditions may have an elevated risk and, as a result, should discuss their complete medical history with their doctor before taking Wellbutrin:

  • Kidney disease
  • Liver damage
  • Severe hypertension
  • Suicidal thoughts and/or behaviors

Such patients may require altered doses of Wellbutrin, if, in fact, the drug is deemed more beneficial than risky.

Wellbutrin Lawsuits

If you or a loved one has been harmed as a result of taking Wellbutrin, contact Gacovino, Lake and Associates to speak with an experienced defective drug lawyer about your specific circumstances. Our attorneys have experience in successfully handling pharmaceutical complaints and are prepared to help you. We will evaluate the details of your case to determine the best legal strategy for your unique circumstances.

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