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Altostrata

Tips for tapering off Wellbutrin, SR, XR, XL (buproprion)

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Mjau

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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Altostrata

That is very useful information, Addax, thank you.

 

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

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Wondering

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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Altostrata

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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Wondering

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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Meimeiquest

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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HikingAlong

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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HikingAlong

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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nancy2

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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HikingAlong

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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Altostrata

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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Gerberas

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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Altostrata

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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greenwell3977

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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Altostrata

Please read this topic from the beginning.

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greenwell3977

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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Mjau

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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Altostrata

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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felin

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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Altostrata

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

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felin

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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Altostrata

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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gigi63

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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Altostrata

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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Colonial

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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greenwell3977

My understanding is that Wellbutrin is known to be relatively easier to taper than SSRI's.  If one does a 10% Wellbutrin taper over four weeks and it is not incredibly difficult, is it recommended to speed up the Wellbutrin taper?  if so, how should one go about it?  Increase 10% to 20%?  Does 2 weeks instead of 4 weeks?  Thanks in advance. 

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Altostrata
22 hours ago, greenwell3977 said:

My understanding is that Wellbutrin is known to be relatively easier to taper than SSRI's.  If one does a 10% Wellbutrin taper over four weeks and it is not incredibly difficult, is it recommended to speed up the Wellbutrin taper?  if so, how should one go about it?  Increase 10% to 20%?  Does 2 weeks instead of 4 weeks?  Thanks in advance. 

 

This is a difficult question to answer, because some people have a very hard time going off Wellbutrin. Your trial run of a 10% reduction is reasonable. To speed up, reduce by 10% every 3 weeks, then every 2 weeks -- but not faster than that.

 

Also, be aware that the 10% is calculated on the last dosage, not the first, and the lower the dosage, reduction can get more difficult. You will need to be alert  to any withdrawal symptoms and stop tapering then, or you could make them worse.

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HikingAlong

My best advice when tapering an antidepressant: Be more aware of your mood than you have ever been before. Figure out what the earliest symptoms of a depression slide are for you. For me, it's a drop in energy, then this little thought: "Death sounds nice." Probably something different for you. When I have that first symptom, I hold my taper for awhile until it goes away. I'm one of those people who had a very hard time getting off Welbutrin. I think it took 3 years this time.

 

Good luck, take care of yourself,

 

 

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greenwell3977

On the Wellbutrin bottle it says to store it at room temperature no more than 77 degrees.  I live in Los Angeles with no air conditioning and it can get pretty hot.  I imagine my apartment can get well above 77 degrees. 

 

What happens to the medication in heat?  How paranoid should I be about keeping it out of heat?  Sometimes I notice I don’t sleep as well when the medication has been in heat but I could just be imagining it.  Thanks.  

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felin

Perhaps I've asked this before. I don't remember. It's been a few months/years since I've been here.

 

Can someone explain to me why it is that a compounding pharmacy is incapable of compounding the XL version of Bupropion? I am taking 150 mg of this which is the lowest dose available and feel VERY stuck on it as I've tried the SR which made me extremely sick. I was unable to sustain so was forced to go back on my XL.

If it is possible to make the 300 and 150mg of the XL then why isn't it possible to make a lesser dose of the same??

 

Anyone know?

 

Thanks!

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felin

The only thing that I can think of (and this is grasping at straws) is to research and see if there is any possible way that I can make my own extended release substance and coat my own pills. Sounds insane but I seriously have no clue how I am ever going to get off of this stupid drug!!! Very very upsetting!

 

Help!!

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HikingAlong

The way I tapered Welbutrin was to start by switching from the XL 300 to three doses of 100, at 7 am, 11 am and 330 pm. It took a couple months to get back to stable after that change. Then I started tapering all of the doses by a small amount. I think I aimed for 5% a month? I don't remember. It's in my little book.

 

It took about 3 years, but I'm off it now, and you can be too.

 

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jprez562
14 minutes ago, HikingAlong said:

The way I tapered Welbutrin was to start by switching from the XL 300 to three doses of 100, at 7 am, 11 am and 330 pm. It took a couple months to get back to stable after that change. Then I started tapering all of the doses by a small amount. I think I aimed for 5% a month? I don't remember. It's in my little book.

 

It took about 3 years, but I'm off it now, and you can be too.

 

 

What type of welbutrin 100 mg did you switch to SR, IR ?

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HikingAlong

It was the immediate release form. 

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felin

Hiking,

 

Guessing that you probably didn't see my previous posts on this thread. The whole reason that I am in such a quandary is because I already have tried the IR and could not sustain it. It made me very VERY sick. This is the reason that I am stuck.

 

I do appreciate your feedback nonetheless. So nice to hear that you are off of it. Sincerely happy for you.

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HikingAlong

MOD NOTE:  Please see this post regarding hourly dosing being unnecessary.

 

Have you tried making your own solution and taking it hourly? I had to take my Welbutrin solution 4x a day (using alarms) while I was tapering, at first. Then I got it down to 3x daily. For you, maybe dissolving  300 mgs of Welbutrin in 300 ml/water (there are other threads about how to do this), then taking a 10th of it every 70 minutes throughout the day would keep you stable? Once you're stable, you could start eliminating 2% per...... week or month. Eventually, your brain takes over making it's own chemicals.

 

Edited by ChessieCat
added mod note

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