Altostrata

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

97 posts in this topic

Thank you Addax for sharing the information!

I'm on this combination of drugs and tapering so this is very valuable info for me.

I knew Wellbutrin "increases" the plasma level of SSRI but didn't know this would affect the tapering process. 

 

How long did it take for your withdrawal symptoms to appear after tapering?

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That is very useful information, Addax, thank you.

 

Are you finding your psychiatrist is more understanding of withdrawal now?

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I have been taking 300xl Wellbutrin for a year. Since the xl can't be cut, what are the dosages for a slow taper and how long do you hold until the next cut? Thanks so much to anyone who can help. Wondering

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Hello, Wondering. Please read this topic from the beginning and start a topic for yourself in the Introductions forum if you have any questions.

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Ok, I had already read all the other posts and the more I read the more confused I got. So I thought if I asked a direct question I could get direct answers. I will try this question on Introductions and hope they don't send me over here to this thread (which I have already read). Thank you.

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I have been taking 300xl Wellbutrin for a year. Since the xl can't be cut, what are the dosages for a slow taper and how long do you hold until the next cut? Thanks so much to anyone who can help. Wondering

You can use SR and IR tablets to make the smaller amounts. For example, from 300mg XL you could take 150XL, 100mg SR, and 20mg of IR made into a liquid to make exactly a 10% cut with a dose of 270mg. If you are overstimulated in the a.m. or running out of mood &/or energy in the evening you can spread it out, for example taking XL early a.m., SR at noon and IR at 4 p.m. Some people are able to round it out in the early stages, using SR or IR tablets cut into quarters.

 

Feel free to PM me if needed...Wellbutrin was my toughest taper to manage, so I have lots of compassion for people on that journey! But writing on the forum is good as well because many people understand this better than me.

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Hi Wondering,

 

I've got experience with this. To start my taper, in August 2014, I went from the 300 xl to 4 75 mg tablets, spread out through the day. I think I did every four hours. That was really the worst of the tapering, as far as symptoms. I got really depressed for about a month while my brain readjusted to a different pattern. Headaches. And my sleep went very wonky. I cried a lot. Weird deja vu. Suicical thoughts. (I'm reading all this out of my tapering journal) That all lasted about a month.

 

Once I started feeling like living again, I started slowly cutting down. I replace oned 75 mg with a half of a 100 mg. that was a little under a 10% cut. Then I replaced another 75 with a 50, etc etc. 

 

I do 2-3 cuts(every two weeks), then wait a month until I feel really stable.

 

I'm down to 175 now. 2-50s and 2- 37.5s

 

I can get down to 150 just by using halfs of 75 or 100 mg pills.

 

Then I'll have to start dissolving. 

 

So there you have my experience. It's hard to believe it's been only 8 months! It's been really difficult, but I'm so glad I'm on the way to a drug free brain.

 

The great things are that

I feel a real sense of accomplishment in getting safely down to a lower dose.

I now can have an orgasm without crying uncontrollably

I'm making plans to make changes in  my life.

My memory is better.

 

I recommend that you keep a journal, and write down a list of what you hope to gain from your taper. Because it gets really hard sometimes and it's good to remember why you're doing this.

 

Hiking Along

 

 

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And also, I have to argue with what Altostrata says about Welbutrin being a weak antidepressant. It's different from other ADs and for some of us, very effective at first, and very difficult to taper.

 

Take care of yourself. This won't be easy, but it will be worth it.

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Really appreciate this tapering post.   :)    I'm meeting with my doctor tomorrow, and requesting the new RX as stated above to begin tapering off 300mg xl buproprion.

 

I expect her to tell me that tapering is not necessary. I expect her to pressure me to stay on the meds.

 

My intention is to politely stand firm and simply continue to make this personal request, noting if needed that I have different views about pharmaceuticals than she does and so prefer to do it this way. :excl:

 

DO OTHER PEOPLE HAVE THIS KIND OF PROBLEM WITH DOCS, OR IS IT JUST ME???? This one is not even, by any means, the worst I've had -- though certainly not the best either. :wacko:

 

I'll let you know how it goes.

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Glad to hear you are looking for a new doc. My doc is okay with my tapering, but my therapist worries. Keep pushing forward.

 

Hiking Along

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nancy, most people report that having a reasonable discussion with their doctors is difficult. You are doing it exactly the right way -- state what you want clearly and firmly, say you'll take responsibility for doing it your way.

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Perhaps because I haven't been on Wellbutrin long (5 months) I seem to be able to cut the dose without too much of an issue.

 

Going from 300XR to 150mg XR was fine (reason was to reduce bad side effects - blood pressure spikes, irritability etc)

 

in the last month: Cutting 150mg Wellbutrin XR (which unfortunately negates the sustained release) I went from 1 tablet to 3/4 and now to 1/2 in a month.

Having read about the very varied experiences out there, and how withdrawal effects can be delayed, I will stay steady for a month now. 

 

Will report back.

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Those blood pressure spikes were a sign 300mg Wellbutrin XL was too strong for you. You may have reduced the excess.

 

Good idea to wait before the next decrease and let your body normalize.

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Hello, I currently take 84 mg in the morning and 60mg in the afternoon of Buproprion SR tablets.  I cut them up with a pill cutter and measure them on a digital scale.  This process can take up to thirty minutes and has a small margin of error due to the variability of the scale.  To make things quicker and consistent, I want to start taking the capsule form from a compound pharmacy.  Unfortunately, the compound pharmacy said they can only make the Buproprion IR, not the SR.

 

My questions:  What kind of adjustment can I expect going from sustained release to immediate release?  Is it hard to do?  Also, is it easier to taper off SR or IR or are they about the same? 

 

If there is a big adjustment going from SR to IR or if IR is harder to taper off of, then I may not switch to capsule IR.

 

Thank you for your input. 

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Please read this topic from the beginning.

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Hi Altostrata,

 

I've read the topic from the beginning a few times and am still confused.  Some parts say that SR maintains its slow release when cut up, other parts say it does not (and is equivalent to IR).

 

Also, my understanding is that IR is taken three times a day.  Currently I am taking SR twice a day.  If I switch to SR, would I take IR two times a day or three times a day?  If three times, how would I allocate my two SR's between the three IR's?

 

Thank you for your help!  I am asking because my compound pharmacy says they can only make IR and not SR.

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Hi Altostrata,

 

I've read the topic from the beginning a few times and am still confused.  Some parts say that SR maintains its slow release when cut up, other parts say it does not (and is equivalent to IR).

 

Also, my understanding is that IR is taken three times a day.  Currently I am taking SR twice a day.  If I switch to SR, would I take IR two times a day or three times a day?  If three times, how would I allocate my two SR's between the three IR's?

 

Thank you for your help!  I am asking because my compound pharmacy says they can only make IR and not SR.

 

I have experience of both Wellbutrin SR and IR. I had more side effects when taking IR three times a day compared to the same amount of SR twice a day. For example heart palpitations and tremor. When I switched to SR I felt better. And I did cut the SR pills. So I guess the SR maintains its slow release when cut up. It definitely made a difference for me to change from IR to SR. 

This is only my own experience though!!

 

Good luck with your tapering!

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Thank you for that information, Mjau.

 

greenwell, the SR form may or may not retain its time-release quality when it is cut up. This depends on 1) how the manufacturer made it; 2) how small the fragments are -- smaller fragments will come apart faster in your gut and the drug may be immediately released.

 

Both Mjau and I cut up Wellbutrin SR and took it twice a day without a problem.

 

The XR form is always immediate-release when you cut it up.

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A few years ago, I attempted to begin tapering off of my Wellbutrin XL 150/day by going onto the SR. I powered through as long as I possibly could (2 or 3 weeks) and just could not do it anymore. It made me extremely sick. I was horribly nauseous to the point that I had to lay down all day just to keep from throwing up. This never subsided so I ended up having to go back onto the XL.

 

Makes me feel stuck.

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How many times a day did you take Wellbutrin SR, felin?

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Sorry, Altostrata. Missed this somehow.

 

I can honestly say that I am not certain since it's been so long, but it seems as though it was 2 or 3 x's per day. Was the evil purple pill. ha!

 

Still no clue as to how I'm going to get off of the XL. Asked my pharmacist today at Walgreens, who said they can do compounding, if he could get it compounded in mg less than 150. He is supposed to call me back with an answer after he calls the compounding pharmacy that he works with.

 

In May, I finally FINALLY started tapering for the first time in all these years.

 

Started with the Cymbalta and only 5% per month, however last month the 5% proved to be too much so I bumped back up to the prior months dosage and then this month only increased that by 5 beads (haven't done the math on what percentage that would be).

 

I have been feeling increasingly anxious and have had trouble sleeping which has NEVER been a problem for me (the sleeping, that is). Beginning to wonder if perhaps the ratio of Wellbutrin XL to Cymbalta is beginning to be a problem since W can cause anxiety.

 

Was thinking that perhaps I could alternate months. Reduce one of the two drugs one month and the other drug the following month, however, I feel as though I am at an impasse at this point since I am already taking the lowest W XL available. 

 

Am up to 1 grain on Naturethroid. Guess I need to edit my info.

 

Thanks so much for your help!

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Please read the first post in this topic. Also, please put your questions in your Intro topic, as they're particular to your situation.

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I would like to add my hard lived experience to this post. I had been taking bupropion XL for 8.5 years. I began my taper at the 18.75mg cuts. I got to ten months in on a taper that obviously was way too fast and I crashed at the 10 month mark. I RI at the 18.75mg dose per direction of the mods here. Thank you to them. I have spent nearly one year on this 18.75 mg dose and am making slow progress but not at good and steady. This is my point. It is a false statement to say that bupropion is a relatively weak antidepressant. No intent for offense to Alto When she said this. The truth is it is an atypical antidepressant that targets dopamine and norepinephrine. It is a rather poorly understood antidepressant. This has been an extremely difficult medication for me to taper off of. I do believe that I am super sensitive to many things but I also can affirm that length of time on this drug makes a big difference in how one might experience withdrawal. Rhiannon posted earlier and I could not agree with her more having found out for myself, it is very wise to treat this drug like any other and begin with a 10 percent taper. The half life of bupropion is the same on all forms. Wether it be XL, SR, or IR. The problem is The metabolites do not leave the system for 5 -10 days on all forms of this drug and one dies not experience WD symptoms until 10 days out or later. Having said this, it is wise to push those cuts out every 6-8 weeks. This is personal experience speaking and research on the drug. Please be aware. This drug is often very difficult to get off for all of the reasons I mentioned. Thank you.

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Thank you, triplem. Yes, Wellbutrin can be difficult to quit, particularly if you've been taking it for a long time.

 

I have revised post #1 in this topic.

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Glad I found this thread!  I was just pondering in my main thread if my trace drops of Wellbutrin were still affecting my paxil drops.

Having trouble finding my drug history at the bottom of my signature.  After holding steading on 12.5 mgs of Wellbutrin for about 8 months I have been making slow cuts either monthly or every 60 days.

In the 3 months since 2/26 I've dropped the Wellbutrin from 8 mgs to 6.4, and the Paxil from 6mg to 5.2,  and the Xanax from .25 mg to .1875..."

I am no longer dropping the xanax, which I have not dropped since March. I have 18 more days of Wellbutrin at 6.4mgs. before I drop to 5.6 and was going to drop the last remnants of this drug with equal drops of ABOUT .08 mg drops or LESS over the course of the rest of the year.  Was going to drop to 5.6 last week of June, and I have the insurance agreeing to compound trace amounts till the end of December, so as long as the Doc calls in the last monthly drop by 12/28, I can still take the last 30 days worth in January, so  I would still have 7 full months to drop the last 5.6 out of my system from July through January.

Is having this about of Wellbutrin in my system and dropping at these levels still interacting with my Paxil drops of .4 mg per drop?

I'm thinking any symptoms at this point are paxil-xanax related.  

 

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