Well, Well, …Wellbutrin?

Today I have been on Bupropion (Wellbutrin) for two weeks. I took 150 mg for the first week and then I was bumped up to 300 mg a week ago. I was a little nervous about going up to 300 mg as my notes (from my first hospitalization around 10 years ago) recorded my maximum dose of Wellbutrin at the time as being 150 mg.

As usual, my psychiatrist had been very specific about keeping tabs on any mania that might be triggered by this medication but (as I suspected) nothing even remotely akin to mania has taken place so far. In fact, the only changes I have detected are:

  • increased volume in the (already present) ringing in my ears
  • dry mouth surpassing anything Lithium every threw at me -to the point where I have been experimenting with different dry-mouth remedies and medications
  • greatly increased tremor action (increasing what was already present due to Lithium)

While I don’t particularly enjoy clanging glasses of water against my teeth while trying to drink or being almost entirely unable to apply eyeliner on myself because I’m shaking so much, honestly I’d rather experience that over, say, a headache lasting two full weeks (ahem, you  know who you are seroquel).

I understand that I have not been taking this antidepressant long enough to realistically expect any improvement in my (still sinking) depression, but the few inconvenient side effects I’ve had have been extremely preferable to pretty much medications 1-14.

Having said that, my psychiatrist was insistent that I increase my seroquel/quetiapine dosage to 50 mg before starting the wellbutrin. I realize this is considered a tiny amount to most people, but even so I’ve been having a very hard time on it. Beyond the two week headache I had when I increased the dosage (which seems to have abated now) I’ve also been having a host of gastrointestinal problems involving a lot of pain, more than a little discomfort, and enough bloating to make me look like a pregnant woman by the time I go to bed.

If I need to keep taking quetiapine, a trip to my gastroenterologist is imminent. None of my previous stomach medications are working anymore, and while this is something that is probably number one on my list of concerns there is an extremely close tie for number one, namely;

hair loss.

Yeah. Nobody likes to have chunks of hair falling out, and right now I am losing at least 3-4 times the amount I would normally lose in a day. My hair is very thick (so I am sure it is not noticeable yet) but I don’t particularly want to use the fact that I have a lot of hair as an excuse to lose more. I know this is not a side effect listed for Seroquel, but  when I did a quick search online it seems I am not the only one experiencing this (by far). Also, I wouldn’t peg this on the wellbutrin because it started before I began taking it.

Thankfully, today I get to address these issues (and more) with my psychiatrist. I am not exactly looking forward to going out in public but I have definitely been experiencing some things that need to be addressed. Hopefully I can find some relief from the physical discomfort, even if I’m still waiting on relief for the emotional.


19 responses to “Well, Well, …Wellbutrin?

  1. Ugh and I thought I had it bad when my meds made me sleepy and gave me hiccups. Hope you get it all worked out and feel better soon.

  2. A thirst worse than Lithium? Well, you have my deepest empathy. That is not pleasant. And oh god, the tummy troubles – no one knows the pain! My heart goes out to you. I hope you’re able to come off the Seroquel soon.

  3. I like Wellbutrin. I’ve been on it in combination with other antidepressants for years. I am on 300mg as well. My first major side effects were dry mouth and tremor. They die down once you get used to the meds. The tremor never completely goes away. I have good days and bad days in terms of the tremor. I find watching my caffeine intake helps. I hope the Wellbutrin starts to make you feel better. It seems to make a difference for me.

    I have been having trouble with sleep and am supposed to be starting seroquel. Any advice? I’m nervous about weight gain and headaches.

    • One thing I did that I think helped with the weight gain aspect was to limit myself to four meals a day; breakfast, lunch, dinner, and an evening snack. Personally, I am someone that can snack constantly… so eating enough of the important stuff (like protein) at mealtime really helped me make it from one meal to the next without filling in the gaps with, say, bags of goldfish crackers.

      As far as headaches, I wish you good luck. I have struggled with that for a long time and can’t say I have too many tricks there, short of strapping heat pads to my head (which helps, but makes things really interesting in the summer). Thanks!

  4. Ack! Hope your psychiatrist can help asap.

  5. Good luck with the Wellbutron. I’ve been on it a long time (with Depakote as a stabilizer) and while it gives me dizzy spells in the afternoon whenever I change the dose (or miss one), the other effects have been pretty minor. It sounds like you’re pretty sensitive to meds, but I hope they ease up as your body adjusts.

    As far as the hair loss — I get that from Depakote, and end up with handfuls when I comb my hair. I’ve found that it’s breaking, not falling out at the roots. The first time around, I ended up cutting my hair to hide the breakage. Recently I found that some of the specific “anti-breakage” conditioners and treatments have helped enough so I didn’t have to cut it this time. If your hair loss is from breakage, it’s something to try.

    • Thanks for the tip, and after analyzing the hair I’m losing it seems that mine is definitely coming out at the roots. Your shampoo/conditioner comment is right on point, in fact I also got a call from a beautician friend yesterday who said she had a similar product she would share with me. Good to know!

  6. I took wellbutrin 300mg XL for 6 months while I was depressed over the chaos of my wife’s manic episode. I think I’m fairly sensitive to medication; within a week after beginning regular wellbutrin I went apeshit on happy moods, nothing could bring me down. Then I got used to it, and it wasn’t enough, so he put me on the 300mg XL variant (generic version) which was found to be ineffective as a medication at anything other than causing me to have migraines.

    • I’ve heard several stories about wellbutrin in particular where the generic (bupropion) has been ineffective. I’m currently taking the generic (as my insurance definitely wont cover the brand name) and I’m hoping to get lucky, thanks for sharing!

  7. Ugh. I hope things smooth out for you. Nothing worse than med issues. I had a med a few months back that made me start losing my hair…it’s scary. Even more so since it’s not totally stopped since my med switch. I can only wish you the best of luck. My thoughts are with you.

    • I spoke to a beautician friend yesterday about hair loss and she said that both men and women have periods in their lives where they naturally lose hair, stress can also bring on hair loss, and then the medications can too. She also suggested a few anti-hair-loss shampoos that she said have really worked well for her, so when I get a chance to try that out I’ll definitely post something on the results. Thanks!

  8. Wellbutrin! That’s the fun drug that gave me a seizure after about two weeks. Although honestly, I’ll take the seizure over dry mouth and tremors. They took me off it, obviously, but the seizure managed to clear up my depression for a week or two. Blessing in disguise.

    Hope the hair loss eases up!

  9. Tell me more about your dry-mouth remedies!!
    A fellow pasty 😉

  10. Yikes.I hope you get it all worked out with your psychiatrist.

    I was recently put on Wellbutrin along with my morning antidepressant and nighttime Seroquil, as well. That sounds like a horrible list of side-effects…. I only got the tremors (akathisia) with Abilify and it was a nightmare. Never again. So far, nothing here. Just more lack of ability to sleep.

  11. Just Plain Ol' Vic

    Getting the right medications is so hard. My wife and I (she is bi-polar) just had a discussion tonight and I think we are agreed on seeking a 2nd opinion. We like her psychiatrist but the side effects are so physically taking that we want to make sure we are exploring all options.

  12. Pingback: The Increase/Decrease Game | bi[polar] curious

  13. Forgive me if this has been discussed in another forum because I am new and may have missed it. I enjoy your blogs so keep them coming! I know I’ve had bipolar all my life even though I didn’t want to admit it (stigma migma) but a 10-day hospital stay 2 years ago finally convinced me. Bipolar I. The biggie, the baddie, the whatever. I’m right there with you experimenting with various cocktails of pretty colored pills but they’ve yet to put me on lithium. I took Wellbutrin in a former life and responded well to it but it has a tendency to wear off so watch for that – no matter how how many mgs they bump you up to. Sorry for the long tirade but I wanted to give you a little background plus I have a tendency to run amok when typing, talking, well pretty much everything. My main reason for writing was to ask you if you’ve tried Lemictal? I’m in love with the stuff! I take my Lemictal cocktail with 3 shots of Prozac and heavy handed pour of Adderall (it works opposite on me like it’s supposed to for ADHD people of which club I also belong to. I will say that, while I still ride the roller coaster of BP, it’s the kiddie version and not too bad. Saying that I am in bed, haven’t showered in 3 days, playing games on my iPad but at least I’m posting on your blog and I’m feeling like I might just make it to shower today. Well, bye.

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