Wellbutrin XL, like Wellbutrin, is commonly used to treat depression. However, it is also used to prevent seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a specific kind of depression, which sets in around the same time every year (e.g., during fall or winter). This medication works to improve one’s mood and overall feelings of wellbeing and does so by restoring an imbalance of dopamine and/or norepinephrine in the brain. While there may be similarities between Wellbutrin and Wellbutrin XL, they are different medications, which come with different instructions, effects, and risks. Take note below:

Use and Dosage

You should take Wellbutrin XL by mouth, typically once daily and in the morning, with or without food. If you find that taking it without food causes your stomach to become upset, taking it with a meal or snack should help. Additionally, taking Wellbutrin XL too late in the day may cause you to have difficult sleeping.

Exact dosage will depend on your underlying medical condition, initial response to treatment, and liver function. Regardless of the dosage, however, it is important that you swallow this tablet whole, without crushing or chewing, as doing so can release all of the drug at once and increase your risk of experiencing unwanted and harmful side effects. Finally, you should not take more of this drug or use it more often or longer than prescribed—this will again increase the risk of side effects, not improve your condition any faster.

Side Effects

It is not uncommon to experience unwanted side effects from new medication. The side effects of Wellbutrin XL, however, do not typically outweigh its benefits. And if they do happen to persist or worsen, a simple conversation with your doctor may yield an easy solution. Still, it is important to make yourself aware of the possible side effects, whether they be mild, more serious, or severe:

Mild Effects

  • Dry mouth
  • Sore throat
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Weight loss
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Constipation
  • Decreased appetite
  • Shaking
  • Increased sweating

Serious Effects

  • Fast or irregular heartbeat
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Confusion
  • Memory loss
  • Unusual behavior or thoughts
  • Weight loss or gain

Severe Effects

  • Seizure
  • Eye pain or swelling
  • Widened pupils
  • Other abnormal changes in vision

If you experience any mild side effects listed above, you should report them to your doctor promptly. If you, on the other hand, experience more serious effects, you should tell them immediately and seek medical attention right away for any aforementioned severe effects. Now, in addition to these potential side effects, it is possible to have a serious allergic reaction to Wellbutrin XL—though this is rare, you should be aware of the symptoms, which include a rash, itching, swelling, difficulty breathing, and severe dizziness. And if you do experience any of these symptoms, it is important you get medical attention right away.

Before Taking Wellbutrin XL…

It is vital you take precautionary measures any time you’re considering a new medication, as they have very real and direct effects on your everyday life. Before you start taking Wellbutrin XL it is vital you first…

  • Discuss existing allergies with your doctor, as Wellbutrin XL may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other issues.
  • Consider and talk to your doctor about your medical history, especially pertaining to diabetes, heart disease, liver disease, kidney problems, high blood pressure, seizures, and drug or alcohol abuse.
  • Understand all of the drug’s possible side effects and risks, as dizziness or drowsiness may occur, which will affect your ability to drive, use machinery, or perform any other activity that requires alertness and clear vision. Furthermore, certain ages may be more sensitive to the side effects listed above, as older adults are more likely to experience dizziness and memory loss as a result of taking the medication.