Altostrata

Tips for tapering off Wellbutrin, IR, SR, XR, XL (bupropion)

97 posts in this topic

I am feeling fairly even ...not "jazzed" , not high, not low...

If I feel any "lean" toward sadness, I go outside in the sun or exercise on my treadmill...

that helps me stay grounded... overall the taper is going very well...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would hold for another week and then make your next decrease of 18.75mg. I wouldn't make decreases any faster than every 2 weeks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

just want to add to the conversation here. i had been taking Wellbutrin XL (the generic) at a lower dose of 75 mgs, once per day from 2007 up until 2012. before that i used to take it at 300 mgs once per day as prescribed until the side effects became too bothersome for me. anyways just want to say that i have been reading a variety of articles and books that all seem to agree that Wellbutrin can sometimes be used off-label to treat ADHD? and is considered to be a psycho-stimulant? i have a concern with this because my pdoc had been giving me Wellbutrin for yrs on end and never told me that it had stimulant properties to it! i always wondered why Wellbutrin had a false-positive for amphetimines on drug tests! the reason that i did a rapid taper of my Wellbutrin was because in the fall of 2012, i noticed myself starting to become hypo-manic-like. i immediately told my pdoc about this and he did not seem that worried. that was a major red-flag to me because my dx is bipolar NOS. he did want to updose my Depakote, which i was not okay with for fear that it would aggravate my hypothyroidism even further. my line of thinking was why not just get rid of the offending agent, which is the antidepressant. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Chemically, Wellbutrin is related to amphetamine.

 

It is very well-known to be stimulating. Common side effects are nervousness, agitation, and sleeplessness.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm currently taking Wellbutrin XR 150 mg every morning. I would cut the pills and taper off slowly, but the problem is that in Croatia where I live, only the XR version of Wellbutrin is available and I am not able to switch to other versions.

 

You said that even the XR pills can be cut, but then they turn to immediate release version. Since that is the case, what would you recommend me? How would you cut the pill and how many times a day would you take it? I repeat that only Wellbutrin XR 150 mg is available to me.

 

If anyone has a suggestion, PLEASE HELP!!!! Because, when I tried to stop drinking Wellbutrin 150 mg I felt terrible.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Google-glancing, it looks like the generic, buproprion, is available as SR (sustained release). It would normally be dosed twice a day, and can be cut, and I assume, be crushed and suspended in liquid. I have done everything physically possible to the XL...hopeless.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

See the first post in this topic.

 

You can cut up Wellbutrin XR; it reverts to regular Wellbutrin, which is taken twice a day.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Everyone,

Has anyone else had trouble with weight gain when tapering off Wellbutrin?....

I started tapering off my 150 XL/day  about 4 mos ago...

I am now down to 1/6th of a 75mg immediate release ,,, so about 12.5mg...

My mood has been good, but I am noticing a definite weight gain...

I am still on 20 mg/day of Lexapro ... and won't begin that taper til I'm totally free of the Wellbutrin...

In the meantime , if anyone has any ideas, I'm

forever thnakful for this site,

Findingme 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A side effect of Wellbutrin is appetite suppression -- it is chemically related to amphetamine. Coming off Wellbutrin could cause a rebound in appetite.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello. I am currently taking 100 mg of Bupropion SR in the morning and about 70 mg at night. For my next taper, should I cut the morning pill or afternoon pill? I prefer cutting the afternoon pill again so I can sleep better but this may cause an imbalance where I'm taking a higher dosage in the beginning of the day vs the end of the day. How important is it that the two SR doses are relatively equally in mgs? If an imbalance is okay, how big can this imbalance be for the SR? Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

By how much are you going to reduce?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

About 20mg, which would be close to 10% of the total.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If your sleep has been destabilized by past reductions, you may wish to taper by a smaller amount.

 

Since immediate-release buproprion has such a short half-life, it's taken twice a day or more. If you take the major portion in the early part of the day, you run the risk of having withdrawal symptoms later or at night.

 

However, it makes sense to take a smaller amount in the evening to reduce the stimulating effect when you're trying to sleep.

 

Everyone's different, so you might be able to get by with 100mg in the morning and 60mg in the evening. Next time around, you might want to make the reduction in the daytime dose.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bumping for a friend.

 

Also, can the immediate release tablets be made into a liquid for tapering? Do they dissolve okay?

 

Also, how have people done with taking a larger amount earlier in the day and less later in the day, in order to reduce stimulation before sleep time?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Anything but XL can be made into a solution. It seemed they dissolved with some white coloring from filler left in the water. Yes, uneven dosing for sleep reasons can and has been done.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been successfully dissolving my 75 mg. tablets in 75 ml. of water prior to portioning out for dosing. The tablet takes about 30 min to dissolve, and the resulting liquid is cloudy white. Tastes pretty bad - very bitter. I chase my dose with water or juice.

 

It takes some getting used to, but the process is much easier than I had anticipated. Wish I had dosed this way (for accuracy) from the start of my w/d.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Where's the Like button!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know, right? Thanks you guys!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How gradually should I taper buproprion?

There is little information about tapering off Wellbutrin, probably because it is assumed not much of a taper is needed.

 

As with all other psychiatric medications, do not skip doses to taper. If you're susceptible to withdrawal symptoms, this is an excellent way to trigger them.

 

Personally, I found a 50mg taper per week to be sufficiently gradual. If you wish to be more cautious, you may wish to taper at 25mg every two weeks, cutting up 100mg immediate-release or sustained-release tablets into quarters (see below).

 

If you get withdrawal symptoms when tapering by 25mg-50mg every 2 weeks, reduce the amount of your dosage decrease and extend the tapering interval to 4 weeks.

 

I tapered off 50mg at a time, probably for a week at each level, or even faster, because I had adverse effects (blood pressure spikes). (I found this is a small decrease for bupropion. I found ramping up on it a lot harder.)

 

 

Alto, I am concerned about this advice. I know it went well for you, and apparently it has for some people, but I've seen several people now who have done poorly with these fast tapers off Wellbutrin. Most recently Addax dropped about 80% of her dose in two months and she's having some nasty withdrawal symptoms. I myself never tapered Wellbutrin in a systematic fashion but I did 50% cuts many times and got sick every time. And I'm working with a friend now who finds Wellbutrin every bit as challenging to taper as any SSRI.

 

Since we have no actual data on Wellbutrin withdrawal, only our collection of anecdotal experiences, and not really all that many of those where Wellbutrin is concerned, it's really hard to predict how any given individual is going to do.

 

Given our overall harm reduction philosophy here, I think it might be advisable to give more conservative advice. Perhaps we could suggest that people start with a 10% cut and hold for 4 weeks, the usual thing, and if they have absolutely no problem they can then ramp it up to bigger cuts and/or shorter holds, ramping up incrementally to their optimal taper speed, with the usual "listen to your body, we're all different" advice.

 

(This would be assuming there's no pressing medical need to get off faster, as usual with all of them.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rhi, I agree it's a tricky subject. I've revised post #1.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would like to concur that Wellbutrin may not be as easy to taper from than other SSRIs. I tapered by 50 % in a month and would not recommend it.

 

RU

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No, I believe Wellbutrin is easier to taper than the other antidepressants but, as with Prozac, some people still need to go slowly. Since we can't predict who can do a faster taper, it's prudent to start with a small reduction.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tapering Wellbutrin might be easy for some, but it's been the most difficult AD for me to taper from, by far. And I don't think it's fair to call it a weak antidepressant, just different.

 

A month ago, I switched over from XL to immediate release in preparation for tapering, and have had headaches, sleeplessness, sleepiness, tremors, crying jags, hopelessness, deja vu, and worst of all, suicidality for the first time in years. Ah, death wish, I did not miss you.

 

My symptoms this week are just dizziness, confusion and fog. Or are they the same thing?

 

HA

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tapering Wellbutrin might be easy for some, but it's been the most difficult AD for me to taper from, by far. And I don't think it's fair to call it a weak antidepressant, just different.

 

A month ago, I switched over from XL to immediate release in preparation for tapering, and have had headaches, sleeplessness, sleepiness, tremors, crying jags, hopelessness, deja vu, and worst of all, suicidality for the first time in years. Ah, death wish, I did not miss you.

 

My symptoms this week are just dizziness, confusion and fog. Or are they the same thing?

 

HA

Hi HA,

 

Are you dividing up your dose? Immediate release usually needs to be taken in three doses/day. Otherwise you will be sick from overdose part of the day and in withdrawal the rest of the day. I personally recommend using extended release (different from XL) as long as you can. It can be divided without losing its small extended-release properties. It is typically dosed twice a day. These doses need to be completed early enough in the day to allow you to sleep at night. I think I used 4 pm as a cutoff time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the advice. I'm taking it 4 x a day, with 330 as my cutoff. Still not sleeping well, but sleeping. I see you tapered from 300 to nothing in six months? I'm wondering what's best for my brain. It took me around 1 1/2 years last time I tapered off Wellbutrin.

HA

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My situation was odd. When I went off Zyprexa I was bats*** crazy, as Amy would say. So about two weeks after I stopped it, I dropped Welllbutrin from 300 to 200mg. And until I got to low doses, I would drop because I was overstimulated, then be in WD from dropping. Rinse and repeat. Alto really saved my bacon, obviously no one else understood what was happening....I absolutely can not tolerate drugs that increase dopamine and/or norepinephrine. So that made for a fast taper. But really, I came out of it okay, it was right for me. But not right for most people. I am doing my current drugs much slower. So do what you are doing....make a change, stabilize, make another change. I don't think you can plan it out, but the more we go off and on, the slower we have to make changes to stay stable. I felt a huge difference going off the XL, I don't think that is a reason for concern.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Due to an insurance change, there was a delay in renewing my Wellbutrin 300 XL prescription.  I've taken that dose daily for 5 years, as well as 75 mg Lamictal.  I have been off them cold turkey for eight days.

 

I started wellbutrin at the suggestion of my brother who takes it for fatigue (I've felt tired my whole life).  The lamictal was added a couple weeks later after an episode of uncontrolled crying.   I did feel an improvement in my energy level.

 

However, I am finding it harder to afford this medication, and am tired of the 'how long have you been bipolar' discussions with any medical professional to whom I disclose the prescription.  

 

Reading this forum, it seems tapering would have been the wise option.  I tried to discuss going off the meds with the (new) psychiatrist, but he was busy taking phone calls and using his computer and didn't want to do anything except refill the existing script.

 

So... should I resume taking it? At what dose? Or continue the cold turkey method?  

 

My main symptoms are sleepiness, irritability and brain fog.  Will those improve? 

 

Thanks for any input.

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sabina,

 

I suggest starting a thread for yourself in the Introductions and Updates forum and include as complete a drug history as you can (in your signature, preferably). A moderator can then weigh in on suggestions for you to consider. All I can say is, I ended up on this website in bad shape after what I thought (and was told by my pdoc) was a very conservative taper off of Wellbutrin. I crashed something like five weeks after the last dose. Knowing what I know now, I would never consider CT'ing my meds, and that is me with little time on psych drugs (compared to many here).

 

You will likely be advised to reinstate. But start a thread in Intros and wait for a mod to reply.

 

Best of luck to you!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm currently taking Wellbutrin XR 150 mg every morning. I would cut the pills and taper off slowly, but the problem is that in Croatia where I live, only the XR version of Wellbutrin is available and I am not able to switch to other versions.

 

You said that even the XR pills can be cut, but then they turn to immediate release version. Since that is the case, what would you recommend me? How would you cut the pill and how many times a day would you take it? I repeat that only Wellbutrin XR 150 mg is available to me.

 

If anyone has a suggestion, PLEASE HELP!!!! Because, when I tried to stop drinking Wellbutrin 150 mg I felt terrible.

Hi Max and everybody else! This is my first post - and first of all - thank you for a great forum! :)

 

I'm in exactly the same situation as you Max. Have you succeeded with tapering?

I'm on Voxra 150 mg wich should be the same as Wellbutrin XR or XL. Does anyone know the difference between XR and XL, btw?

Was initially on Voxra 300 mg, switched to 150 mg in march this year, was very tired but now better (maybe thanks to an increased dose of Sertraline...who knows). Anyway, I will cut the pill in halfs and quarters, 75 mg in the morning and 37,5 mg later during the day. Hopefully this will work!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Mjau, welcome to SA,   XL and XR are extended release and taken once a day. SR is taken twice a day.

Cutting the pills makes them rapid release and should be split in to 3 or 4 doses per day.

 

It would be great if you could start a topic for yourself in the Introductions forum and we 

can get to know you.  You will get lots of support there.  :)

Edited by Altostrata
corrected forum

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi, I'm new to this site!  I'm currently taking Welbutrin SR 100mg once a day (as my dr prescribed).  I already have a year's worth of prescription for this so I'm not looking to get a different dosage.  So, if I cut the 100mg SR in half, and cut one of the 50mg pieces in half to make two 25mg pieces, it is OK to take the half (50mg) and one 25mg at the same time?  I realize this is a 25% decrease, as opposed to 10%, but I don't feel comfortable dissolving them in liquid.   :unsure:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, but once you cut the tablet, the sustained release mechanism is diminished. It might work better to take the largest dose in the a.m. and the smaller dose in the early afternoon.

 

I never tried this with Wellbutrin, but with another drug...crush it up and divide it as evenly as you can into 10 empty capsules, take 9 for a 10 percent reduction. Or divide half a tablet into five capsules. You'll be a pharmacist by the time you're done :)

 

The SR tablets don't dissolve anyway, only the immediate release.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Meimei, thanks for your response!  From what I've read on this site, the SR retains it's time-release when cut.  I just hope 25% isn't too big of a taper....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please read the first post in this topic http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/877-tips-for-tapering-off-wellbutrin-sr-xr-xl-buproprion/?p=7534

 

Wellbutrin SR retains its time-release quality when cut up.

 

Immediate-release bupropion is a very inexpensive generic. You may wish to combine liquid made from it with Wellbutrin SR for more gradual tapering.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Meimei, thanks for your response!  From what I've read on this site, the SR retains it's time-release when cut.  I just hope 25% isn't too big of a taper....

It does, but you will find it peters out. My dr. at the time ( never wrong, lol) is the one who said it is partially retained. Was just my experience. It is normally dosed twice daily in the typical psychiatric world.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After a very bad withdrawal experience I have done a great amount of reflection on my taper as well as reading and asking questions about Wellbutrin when combined with prozac. I wanted to add a note of caution here if tapering Wellbutrin while taking an SSRI.

 

Here is my understanding of what occurs:

It appears that when used in conjunction with an SSRI Wellbutrin will cause an increase in the plasma level of the SSRI. The basic story is Wellbutrin competes with the SSRI to be metabolized. This causes the SSRI to be metabolized more slowly, essentially causing a "back-up" and increasing the amount of SSRI in your system. It's like increasing the amount of prozac you are taking without actually taking a higher dose. This competition to be metabolized also keeps the SSRI in your system longer, or in other words, extends the half-life.

 

What does this mean? As I understand it it means that when you taper Wellbutrin you are inadvertently tapering your SSRI, even if you haven't decreased the actual amount of the SSRI you are taking. This means the unintentional taper of your SSRI is probably much steeper than what would be a 10% decrease. In some cases Wellbutrin appears to cause large increases in the SSRI level.

 

I and my new pdoc believe this is what happened to me. My large and quick drops in my Wellbutrin dose effected major drops in my blood plasma level of prozac even though I wasn't actively tapering my prozac dose at the time. This is likely to be why my withdrawal symptoms were so delayed, sudden, and extreme.

 

Because the relationship between the drop in Wellbutrin dose and drop in the plasma level of the SSRI can be significant but does not appear to be linear I suggest you proceed with your Wellbutrin taper with extreme caution. Be very conservative even if you feel fine while decreasing your Wellbutrin.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now