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18 min read

Wellbutrin side effects first week: what you can expect

Written by Klarity Editorial Team

Published: Apr 3, 2024

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Zoe Russell

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Starting a new medication like Wellbutrin can bring on a mix of hope and concern. You’re hopeful it will alleviate your symptoms, yet anxious about the potential side effects that may come, especially in the first week. 

This blog serves as a guide to what you can expect when taking Wellbutrin. From common and severe side effects to rare ones, we’ve got you covered. We’ll even take you through a day-by-day timeline for the first week, addressing questions you might have at each stage.

Understanding the side effects of Wellbutrin is a vital part of your treatment journey. For personalized treatment, it’s always best to consult with a licensed healthcare provider. On Klarity, choose a licensed provider who can help you find the right medication and guide you through any side effects.

Ready to navigate the complexities of prescription medication side effects with expert guidance? Find a provider on Klarity today.

Licensed providers on Klarity provide personalized treatment. Find a provider that matches your needs and preferences.

Common side effects of Wellbutrin

Wellbutrin is generally well-tolerated, but like any prescription medication, it comes with a range of common side effects. If you’re considering this medication, it’s important to know what’s possible. Below is a list of common side effects that you might experience:

  • Dry mouth
  • Weight loss
  • Increased sweating
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Nausea

It’s worth noting that these side effects often subside as your body gets accustomed to the medication. However, if these symptoms persist or become intolerable,  you should consult with a licensed healthcare provider.

Severe side effects of Wellbutrin

While Wellbutrin is generally safe when taken as prescribed, there are severe side effects that require immediate medical attention. Below are some of the severe side effects you should watch out for:

  • Chest pain
  • Rapid or uneven heartbeat
  • Severe headaches with vision changes
  • Seizures
  • Mental changes, such as hallucinations or intense paranoia

If you experience any of these symptoms, it is crucial to seek immediate emergency medical care and consult with your healthcare provider to reassess your treatment plan.

Rare side effects of Wellbutrin

While most people tolerate Wellbutrin without significant issues, there are rare side effects that shouldn’t be ignored. These uncommon symptoms could indicate a severe medical condition and require urgent attention. Here’s a list of some rare side effects associated with Wellbutrin:

  • Allergic reactions: Hives, difficulty breathing, and swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat
  • Skin issues: Skin rash, severe itching, or blisters
  • Significant blood pressure changes
  • Liver problems
  • Angle-closure glaucoma

Given the low frequency but high severity of these side effects, immediate medical intervention is crucial. If you’ve been prescribed an antidepressant, like Wellbutrin, always consult your healthcare provider for any unexpected or alarming symptoms like an allergic reaction.

Wellbutrin side effects first week timeline

Understanding the timeline of Wellbutrin side effects can help you prepare for what to expect in the first week of taking this prescription medication. 

When starting Wellbutrin, some individuals may experience an initial worsening of symptoms or increased anxiety. This phenomenon is known as “activation syndrome” and typically occurs within the first few days or weeks of treatment. Side effects can vary in duration and intensity, often depending on individual factors like metabolism, other medications, and overall health. 

The timeline below gives you an idea of the typical experiences of patients during their first 7 days on Wellbutrin. To hear from those who have taken Wellbutrin, check out the reviews on

Day 1 on Wellbutrin

The first day on Wellbutrin is all about acclimating to the medication. You may notice you have a dry mouth, a slight headache, or even some dizziness within a few hours of taking your first dose. These side effects are usually mild but can be surprising if you’re not expecting them. Some people also report feeling more energized or restless, as well as increased anxiety or agitation.

Overall, the first day is an important benchmark for how you may react to the medication, and you should keep a record of any side effects you experience.

Day 2 on Wellbutrin

The second day often follows a similar pattern to the first but you may have more pronounced side effects. Dry mouth and headaches might persist or even intensify. Insomnia can also become noticeable on the second day, which can make nighttime challenging. 

Some people find that creating a calming bedtime routine can help alleviate some of the sleep disturbances. Taking note of your sleep patterns could be beneficial for your healthcare professional in case adjustments need to be made.

Day 3 on Wellbutrin

By the third day, you might continue experiencing common side effects and notice other changes, like increased sweating. Reduced appetite and slight nausea aren’t uncommon around this time. It’s essential to continue tracking your side effects and communicating with your healthcare provider, particularly if they start negatively impacting your daily life.

Day 4 on Wellbutrin

The fourth day is often when people start to feel their bodies acclimating to Wellbutrin. The common side effects may plateau or even decrease. However, if you experience lingering irritability, insomnia, or other distressing symptoms, consult your healthcare provider. The fourth day is a good time to check in with your provider, especially if you have concerns about the medication’s effect on your mood or sleep.

Day 5 on Wellbutrin

Five days in, your body should be further adjusting to the medication. If common side effects like dry mouth or headaches persist or become severe, this could indicate a need for a prescription medication review. Cognitive effects, such as difficulties in concentration or memory, could also become apparent around this time. If this happens, consult your healthcare provider for advice.

Day 6 on Wellbutrin

By the sixth day, your experiences with Wellbutrin will provide a clearer picture for any necessary adjustments. If severe or rare side effects are noted, seek medical guidance immediately. If the common side effects remain or escalate, this may indicate the need for a change in dosage or even a change in medication.

Day 7 on Wellbutrin

At the one-week mark, you’re crossing an important milestone. By now, your body has generally adapted to Wellbutrin, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be entirely free from side effects. Some side effects might persist or only now become noticeable. If you’re still experiencing anything severe or troubling, it’s imperative to consult your healthcare provider for a more personalized treatment plan.

Wellbutrin uses

Wellbutrin, also known by its generic name bupropion, is a prescription medication often recommended for various mental health conditions. Primarily approved for treating major depressive disorder and seasonal affective disorder, it has also found its way into off-label uses like treating smoking addictions, broadening its application spectrum. 

In the following sections, we’ll delve into its FDA-approved uses as well as its off-label applications, providing you with a comprehensive understanding of Wellbutrin’s range of uses.


Wellbutrin has received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), mainly for the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD) and seasonal affective disorder (SAD). This approval signifies that the medication has undergone extensive clinical trials and research to verify its efficacy and safety in treating depression.

Interestingly, it stands apart from many antidepressants and other drugs for its lower risk of causing sexual side effects, a prevalent issue with other classes of depression medications. The FDA’s stamp of approval ensures that you’re taking a medication that has met rigorous quality and efficacy standards, especially for MDD and SAD.

Off-label uses

Beyond its FDA-approved applications, Wellbutrin is often prescribed for a variety of off-label uses. These range from treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to aiding in smoking cessation. Certain studies also suggest its potential utility in weight loss and treating symptoms of bipolar disorder, although these are not FDA-approved indications. 

Wellbutrin dosages

When it comes to Wellbutrin, several dosage forms and strengths are available, each designed to meet different therapeutic needs. It’s crucial to adhere to the prescribed dose and schedule to achieve the desired benefits while minimizing side effects.

Here are the common dosages of Wellbutrin treatment and their respective features:

  • Wellbutrin (standard tablet): The initial dosage usually starts at 100 milligrams, taken twice a day. The dose can be increased to a maximum of 450 milligrams per day, split into multiple doses. This form requires multiple daily dosing.
  • Wellbutrin SR (sustained release): The starting dose is generally 150 milligrams, taken once daily in the morning. The dose can be ramped up to 150 milligrams twice a day, not exceeding a maximum daily dose of 400 milligrams. The sustained-release formulation means fewer doses per day compared to the standard tablet.
  • Wellbutrin XL (extended release): This form typically starts at a 100 milligrams dose taken once daily in the morning. The dosage can be increased to 200 milligrams per day. The extended-release format allows for the convenience of once-daily dosing.

Will changing Wellbutrin dosage cause side effects?

When adjusting your Wellbutrin dosage, especially in week-long increments, it’s possible to experience new or intensified side effects. Increases in dosage typically happen in this manner because it allows your body to adjust gradually and helps healthcare providers gauge how you handle the medication week by week.

For instance, a dosage increase after 1 week could lead to heightened symptoms of insomnia or a greater susceptibility to headaches. Conversely, decreasing the dosage might lessen some side effects but may also diminish the medication’s effectiveness in addressing your condition. 

It’s vital to remember that your Wellbutrin dosage is specifically crafted to your individual needs. Making independent adjustments without consulting a healthcare professional could result in complications. Keeping open communication lines with your provider is key to navigating any potential side effects efficiently.

Are there long-term effects of Wellbutrin?

Long-term use of Wellbutrin is generally considered safe, but it can have some prolonged effects that you should be aware of. Over extended periods, you might experience changes in appetite and weight, persistent dry mouth, or long-term sleep disruptions. Some people report an initial increase in energy levels that plateaus over time. 

There may also be implications for your cardiovascular health, such as increased heart rate or elevated blood pressure. As with any long-term prescription medication, routine medical checks and open dialogue with your healthcare provider are critical for ongoing, effective treatment.

Drug interactions to be mindful of

When you start taking Wellbutrin, especially during the first week, it’s crucial to be aware of potential drug interactions that could affect its efficacy or give rise to adverse effects. Combining Wellbutrin with certain medications may either amplify the side effects or compromise its therapeutic benefits. 

Below are some common drugs you should be mindful of when beginning your Wellbutrin regimen:

  • Efavirenz (Sustiva® and Stocrin®): Often used for treating HIV, efavirenz can reduce the effectiveness of Wellbutrin by speeding up its metabolism in the liver. This might result in decreased Wellbutrin levels in your bloodstream, thus making it less effective for your condition.
  • Metoprolol (Lopressor and Toprol XL): This beta-blocker, commonly used for hypertension and heart conditions, can have increased levels in the blood when taken alongside Wellbutrin. Elevated levels of metoprolol could lead to side effects, such as low blood pressure and slow heart rate.
  • Amantadine (Symmetrel®): Often used for Parkinson’s disease and certain types of influenza, amantadine’s blood concentrations can potentially be increased when taken with Wellbutrin. Elevated levels of amantadine might intensify its side effects.

Additionally, it’s worth noting that Wellbutrin is contraindicated in individuals with alcohol use disorder. The co-consumption of Wellbutrin and alcohol escalates the risk of seizures, making it vital for those with a history of excessive alcohol consumption to discuss potential risks and benefits with their healthcare provider before starting the medication.

When to talk to your provider about Wellbutrin side effects

If you experience persistent or severe side effects from Wellbutrin, consult your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Similarly, if you’re finding that the medication isn’t effective in managing your mental health symptoms, that’s another reason for a prompt consultation. Minor side effects that interfere with your daily life also warrant a discussion. 

It’s beneficial to keep detailed notes or even a medication diary to help provide the most accurate information during your consultation. Always remember that your healthcare provider is your partner in this mental health treatment process and relies on your input to provide effective care.

Talk to a provider on Klarity about Wellbutrin today

If you’ve been contemplating whether Wellbutrin is the right medication for you, consulting a healthcare provider is an essential step in your journey. Understanding the various side effects and how they manifest during the initial weeks can help you prepare and manage them effectively. 

Find a provider on Klarity today and begin getting the mental health treatment you need to improve your life.

Wellbutrin FAQs

Is it normal to feel worse when starting Wellbutrin?

Some individuals may feel worse when starting Wellbutrin initially. It’s important to communicate any changes in symptoms to your healthcare provider, as they can help determine if adjustments to your dosage or treatment plan are necessary. In most cases, these initial side effects subside as your body adjusts to the medication. However, if you experience severe or persistent worsening of symptoms, seek medical attention promptly.

What should I do if I miss a dose of Wellbutrin?

If you miss a dose of Wellbutrin, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it’s close to the time for your next scheduled dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Don’t double up on doses to make up for a missed one, as this can increase the risk of side effects. If you’re unsure about what to do, or if you’ve missed multiple doses, consult your healthcare provider for guidance. They can provide personalized advice based on your specific situation.

Is Wellbutrin safe to take during pregnancy?

The safety of Wellbutrin during pregnancy is a topic of ongoing research and discussion. While some studies suggest that Wellbutrin may be relatively safe for use during pregnancy, particularly when the benefits outweigh the risks, other studies have raised concerns about potential risks to the fetus. Wellbutrin is classified as a Pregnancy Category C medication, meaning that animal studies have shown adverse effects on the fetus, but there are limited human studies available. It’s essential for pregnant individuals to discuss the potential risks and benefits of taking Wellbutrin with their healthcare provider to make an informed decision about treatment.

Is Wellbutrin addictive?

Wellbutrin isn’t considered addictive in the same way as substances like opioids or benzodiazepines. It doesn’t produce the same euphoric effects or cravings associated with addictive substances. However, like many medications, Wellbutrin can lead to dependence if not used as prescribed. Suddenly stopping Wellbutrin, especially after long-term use or at high doses, can result in withdrawal symptoms, such as headache, irritability, nausea, and fatigue. It’s important to follow your healthcare provider’s instructions carefully when starting, stopping, or adjusting your dosage of Wellbutrin to minimize the risk of withdrawal and other potential side effects.


“Wellbutrin side effects: What you should know.” Dylan Kakos, PharmD. MedicalNewsToday. 

“10 Wellbutrin Side Effects to Know About — and How to Manage Them.” Kevin Le, PharmD, BCPS, BCPPS. GoodRx Health.

“Understanding Wellbutrin Side Effects During The First Week.” Cabinet Health.

“What to Know About Wellbutrin (Bupropion).” Nancy Schimelpfening. VeryWellMind.

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