Wellbutrin, with the generic name of bupropion, is a common antidepressant and smoking cessation aid. It is one of the most prescribed antidepressants in the US and Canada. Furthermore, it is both a norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitor (NDRI) and a nicotinic receptor antagonist.

The US company Burroughs Wellcome discovered Wellbutrin’s primary compound bupropion in 1969. It was in 1985 when the drug became available under the brand name Wellbutrin. In 1986, due to incidences of epileptic seizures, the FDA ordered the withdrawal of the drug from the market. Wellbutrin was only re-introduced in the market in 1989 with a lower maximum daily recommended usage.

What Is Anxiety?

Anxiety is a mental disorder that causes people to experience excessive fear or worry. It is one of the most prevalent mental health disorders in the world. It affects at least 44 million adults in the US alone. Sadly, only about a third of them get the proper treatment. (1)

Anxiety may be due to various factors such as the environment, stress, trauma, or genetics. Its severity can range anywhere from mild worry to disabling panic attacks. Multiple forms of it exist such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), panic disorders, and social anxiety disorders. It may also worsen through time if the patient disregards its symptoms.

Can I Use Wellbutrin For Anxiety?

There are several types of anxiety that a person may experience. Hence, each kind of anxiety often needs to be treated differently. Moreover, medications that can help one kind of anxiety disorder may not be sufficient on other types.

Unfortunately, not enough studies have been able to show the effectiveness of using Wellbutrin for anxiety. Hence, for this reason, we do not recommend that you use it for managing anxiety. However, since depression often results in anxiety, the drug may be able to help lessen the severity of anxiety of people with depression.

Approved Uses of Wellbutrin

Using drugs outside of their approved uses such as taking Wellbutrin for anxiety can be dangerous. Make sure to consult a physician before taking any medication. Here are some uses of Wellbutrin that have been supported by various studies:

  • Depression: Bupropion, Wellbutrin’s main compound, is one of the most commonly used antidepressants in the US. The FDA has likewise approved its use for seasonal affective disorder or SAD. (2)
  • Smoking Cessation: Wellbutrin helps stop nicotine cravings by blocking the nicotine receptors in the brain. The patient needs to make sure to that they take the recommended dosage of the drug. Otherwise, it may not work or even increase the rewarding properties of nicotine.
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: ADHD is a mental disorder that makes it hard for the patient to maintain focus or to stop doing unnecessary actions. The effectiveness of Wellbutrin against ADHD is weak if one compares it to other drugs. Hence, authorities do not recommend it as a first-line treatment for the disorder.
  • Sexual Dysfunction: Although the FDA has not yet approved Wellbutrin for this use, many physicians prefer to treat SSRI sexual dysfunctions with bupropion.
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