What are the Side effects of taking Wellbutrin and Prozac together?

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This blog post will talk about “Side effects of taking Wellbutrin and Prozac together”. It also covers a short summary of what exactly are Wellbutrin and Prozac, and how they interact with each other. It also includes the research results of a few studies on combining these two medications together and explains the resulting side effects.

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What are the Side effects of taking Wellbutrin and Prozac together?

The major side effect of taking Wellbutrin and Prozac is that it increases the likelihood of one suffering from seizures that can be extremely tricky and debilitating for a person. There are more side effects of taking these two drugs like irritation, frequent vomiting, increased suicidal ideation, etc. 

There are often drugs like Wellbutrin and Prozac that can result in side effects if taken together and that is why it is always advised that one should talk to their healthcare providers about their medical history, current medications, and everything that can affect one’s health and well-being.

Let us explore Wellbutrin and Prozac and their side effects of them in detail when they are taken together. 

What are Wellbutrin and Prozac?

Both Wellbutrin and Prozac act as antidepressants and specifically, are approved medications to treat the major depressive disorder. Though both Wellbutrin and Prozac are antidepressants and have similar effects, the way they work is entirely different from each other.

The generic name of Wellbutrin is bupropion which is an aminoketone, they work by inhibiting the reuptake of norepinephrine and dopamine into the brain. Hence, they are called Norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitors (NDRIs).

Wellbutrin alone is also used to treat seasonal affective disorder which also falls under the class of depressive disorders of DSM-V

On the other hand, Prozac (generic name:  fluoxetine) works by increasing levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin to ease symptoms of depression. 

Hence, they belong to the class of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).

Prozac alone is also used in the treatment of Bulimia, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, and premenstrual dysphoric disorder.

Interaction of Wellbutrin and Prozac

Though not approved and still in the research phase, this combination of medication is sometimes recommended by doctors in controlled and frequently monitored situations and has also been known to prove effective among some individuals.

Wellbutrin (bupropion) is, in fact, one of the most commonly given medicines in combination therapy. Antidepressants such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are regularly used in combination with it (SSRIs like Prozac).

Therapeutic Duplication

This combination therapy is called therapeutic duplication. Therapeutic duplication is when more than one medicine from the same medicinal class is used to treat the same disorder.

As mentioned before, Wellbutrin and Prozac are both antidepressants but belong to separate drug classes. Prozac (generic name: Fluoxetine) is actually a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) that is based upon the principle of blocking the reabsorption of the neurotransmitter serotonin. 

Serotonin is a chemical messenger which is responsible for mood regulation; hence, the prevention of the reabsorption process leads to its increase in the brain. This, in turn, promotes the feeling of well-being.

Wellbutrin and Seasonal Affective Disorder

As discussed, Bupropion (Wellbutrin) is useful in treating seasonal affective disorder, whereas, Prozac treats obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, and bulimia. Studies indicate that Wellbutrin and Prozac are useful in treating major depressive disorder and alcoholism. 

Risk of seizures

However, side effects are present and sometimes prominent when both drugs are combined. This includes the increased risk of seizures as well as increased levels of Prozac in the blood, which may, in turn, increase other side effects. Let us now study the side effects of combining Wellbutrin and Prozac in detail.

Side effects of the combination therapy and therapeutic duplication of Wellbutrin and Prozac

Side effects of Wellbutrin and Prozac

Before diving into the side effects when mixed together, let us look at the side effects of individual and stand-alone usage of Prozac and Wellbutrin. Dry mouth, sleepiness, nausea, constipation, stomach trouble or pain, headache, dizziness, diminished sex drive, sore throat, changes in eating habits, or weight fluctuations are the most common side effects of these two medications.

Side effects of Wellbutrin include agitation, vomiting, ringing in the ears, visual problems or blurred vision, muscular discomfort, itching or skin rash, increased sweating, increased urination, tremor, joint aches, strange taste in the mouth, diarrhea, and seizures (especially when taken at higher doses)

Side effects of Prozac include anxiousness, fatigue, nervousness, stuffy nose, palpitations of the heart, sneezing, orgasm-related issues, impotence, etc. Weight loss also often occurs when a person is on Prozac but it is temporary and they can regain their weight after some time. 

Combination Therapy of Prozac and Wellbutrin: Side effects

All antidepressants including these two come with a black box warning and denote a risk of suicidal tendencies and ideation in teenagers and young adults during the early stages of treatment. 

It is important to remember that consumption of this combination of these two medications can be quite helpful for some people, but that does not mean it can be good for everyone. Taking them together can pose serious issues. Therefore, it is important to consult the doctor before making this decision.

In general, antidepressants like Wellbutrin and Prozac aren’t considered to be addictive. However, they can still lead to dependence as they produce withdrawal symptoms when a person stops taking them.

When do Side effects occur?

A side effect emerges when a person who abuses antidepressant medications for other purposes or mixes them with other substances to enhance their effects may be struggling with addiction. And, considering combination Wellbutrin and Prozac has serious medication interactions that can be fatal, there’s a higher risk of seizures and worsened side effects.

This is because bupropion (Wellbutrin) increases the blood level of fluoxetine which in turn increases the level of chemical messenger serotonin, especially in elderly people. This in turn leads to increased side effects caused by high levels of serotonin. 

This may include mild symptoms such as shivering, unusual sweating, confusion, restlessness headaches, and high blood pressure. Sometimes more severe symptoms may also arise such as unconsciousness, irregular heartbeat, seizures. 

Seizures are especially dangerous and can be extremely fatal if caused by Wellbutrin-Prozac drug interaction because, in general, Wellbutrin alone can have Seizure risk. Another consequence is Serotonin Syndrome, more commonly known as SS.

What does the research say about Wellbutrin and Prozac?

One research was done by Renato P Munhoz on “Serotonin syndrome induced by a combination of bupropion and SSRIs”, noted that Bupropion’s/Wellbutrin’s participation in Serotonin Syndrome (SS) is thought to be connected to its well-known particular inhibition of the cytochrome P450 2D6 pathway, which results in increased blood levels of SSRIs and tricyclic antidepressants.

It’s a rare case of SS linked to bupropion and selective serotonin reuptake medications (SSRIs), such as Prozac.

Another similar case was reported by Eric Christianson where a 64-year-old male, having severe depression was being treated with Prozac, and later on Wellbutrin was added. At about week 2, the patient is reported to be having significant anxiety and insomnia and was also found to be having some tachycardia and a slightly elevated temperature upon further examination. 

When inspected further the patient was suspected to be suffering from Serotonin Syndrome (SS). 

Another research reviewing the prevalence of sexual dysfunction, weight gain, and emotional detachment during SSRI treatment and the profile of bupropion for each of these events and the ability of bupropion to reverse them was studied by K Demyttenaere and L Jaspers.

Sexual side effects

There is strong evidence that SSRIs can produce sexual side effects, and that bupropion causes less sexual dysfunction than SSRIs, according to the findings. Bupropion’s ability to reverse SSRI-induced sexual adverse effects is based on limited, mostly open-label studies.

Weight gain

Long-term treatment with various SSRIs has been linked to weight increase, whereas long-term treatment with bupropion has been linked to a slight weight decrease. Bupropion’s ability to reverse SSRI-induced weight gain is based solely on anecdotal evidence.

There are mixed results, which show positive and negative consequences of combination therapy of Wellbutrin and Prozac. Additional and elaborate research has to be done in order to further understand the interaction between the two.

Wellbutrin and Prozac Overdose

As mentioned before combing the two medications can sometimes prove extremely fatal and overdose of Wellbutrin-Prozac can be dangerous. While symptoms may vary, muscle stiffness, hallucinations, an irregular heartbeat, weak breathing, and fainting are common symptoms.

Clinical help is required, just as it is in any other overdose, to address neurological, cardiovascular, and gastrointestinal consequences. Overdosing on Wellbutrin or Prozac, on the other hand, might result in tremors, confusion, hallucinations, coma, and seizures.

It can also cause tachycardia and cardiovascular conduction abnormalities, as seen in cases of high serotonin levels in the body or in the studies on serotonin syndrome noted above. Someone who takes too much bupropion (Wellbutrin) could die if they don’t get medical help right away. 

Wellbutrin and Prozac Withdrawal

Both these substances may cause withdrawal symptoms that can be really tricky to deal with for a person. This is mainly because when a person stops taking antidepressants, the mental health of the person can worsen. 

Additionally, persons who abuse various substances at the same time experience severe withdrawal symptoms, which may cause them to raise their dosage, turn to alcohol, or experiment with additional substances to alleviate their agony.

As dopamine and serotonin are one of the major chemical messengers which regulate mood, once bupropion (Wellbutrin) and fluoxetine (Prozac) start working, they help ease the symptoms of depression. 

However, since the evidence of using these two together has not yet been widely studied, people who abuse these drugs might even have to face consequences that are not known. Give below are a few treatment approaches to drug abuse

Treatment approaches

There are multiple options that have been successful in treating and preventing further drug addiction, some of them include behavioral counseling, medication, medical devices, and applications used to treat withdrawal symptoms or deliver skills training, evaluation, and treatment for co-occurring mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, the long-term follow-up to prevent relapse.

Behavioral rehabilitation can help people modify their attitudes and behaviors relating to drug abuse, increase and practice healthy lifestyle behaviors. It is especially helpful for people who are suffering from depression and also started abusing the drugs which are used for their treatment. 

This is because tailor-made behavioral, cognitive, cognitive-behavioral therapies, and other occupational rehabilitation can easily be tailored into the person’s life and can be specific to the person. Psychiatrists and Psychologists carefully observe and monitor the dosages and make person-specific tailored programs.

Conclusion

We explored what Prozac and Wellbutrin are, the side effects of these two medications when taken together, the interaction between these two, and what does the research says about the combination of Wellbutrin and Prozac. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): What are the Side effects of taking Wellbutrin and Prozac together?

What happens if you take Prozac and Wellbutrin together?

Taking Prozac and Wellbutrin can increase the risk of seizures which can also occur due to either of the medication. 

What should you not take with Wellbutrin?

When you are taking Wellbutrin, you should not take a monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitor as it can be extremely fatal. If you need to start taking Wellbutrin, wait for at least 2 weeks after stopping the MAO inhibitor. 

How do Wellbutrin and Prozac work together?

Though antidepressant drugs Wellbutrin and Prozac both work and are prescribed for depression, they function in different ways. Wellbutrin is an aminoketone or an NDRI (Norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitor) that acts by boosting norepinephrine and dopamine levels in the brain. 

Prozac is an antidepressant SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) that works by raising serotonin levels in the brain. These two complements in each incorrect doses and can prove to be useful in some people. However, they also result in serious consequences.

Why do people take Prozac and Wellbutrin?

Major depression is treated with antidepressants like Wellbutrin (bupropion) and Prozac (fluoxetine). Wellbutrin is also used to treat the seasonal affective disorder. Prozac is used to treat bulimia, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, and premenstrual dysphoric disorder. As a result, doctors frequently prescribe them.

How to know if the Wellbutrin-Prozac combination will work for me?

Consult your psychiatrist for altering your medication. People with a history of seizures are especially at risk when this combination therapy is used.

Which is better, Prozac or Wellbutrin?

Wellbutrin (Bupropion) is an antidepressant that helps relax and improve the overall mood. Prozac (fluoxetine) is an antidepressant and also helps as an anxiety medication. Since Prozac is more stimulating than other antidepressants, it may not be a good option for people having difficulty falling asleep.

Both Prozac and Wellbutrin work differently. Whether or not a medicine works is mostly specific to the person and hence consultation is a must before starting any kind of medication.

References

https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/results/NCT00449007
https://doi.org/10.1177/0269881107083798
https://www.drugs.com/drug-interactions/prozac-with-wellbutrin-1115-648-440-203.html
https://optimistminds.com/efficacy-of-wellbutrin-and-prozac-together/
https://doi.org/10.1097/01.wnf.0000142754.46045.8c
https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/treatment
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18370448/
https://lighthouserecoveryinstitute.com/the-dangers-of-mixing-wellbutrin-and-prozac/

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