Starting Wellbutrin

Posted by jodiev35 @jodiev35, May 9, 2019

Hello. I am new to this chat. I have reached out to people I know and nobody really understands. My dad passed away in May last year, and I could not get over the grief. I became depressed and developed anxiety. My pcp put me on cymbalta in January. It worked for the most part. I was neutral. I was not happy or sad. I gained weight and in turn became more sad. My dr switched me to Wellbutrin last week. Coming off cymbalta and starting Wellbutrin for the most part has been “okay” but lately my anxiety is always present. I can’t shake it. It’s a weird feeling. Like a calm anxiety. Has anyone had experience with starting Wellbutrin? How long does it take to notice change or feel better? Has anyone had Wellbutrin success? And if so can you tell me your timeline. First week, second week, month etc? Please someone tell me it gets better.

Hi, @jodiev35 – Welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. I'm very sorry to hear about the loss of your dad. I have not lost my dad, but I can imagine that grieving such a big loss would be a long journey. That is hard not having anyone around whom you feel can really understand.

This discussion might also be one you'd like to check out sometime https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/loss-grief.

The effects you mentioned when you talked about taking duloxetine (Cymbalta), being neutral – not happy or sad – and then gaining weight and in turn becoming more sad – happened to me when I was on citalopram (Celexa) maybe 8-9 years ago. I did lose the weight that citalopram (Celexa) put on over the months that followed, thankfully, after starting on bupropion (Wellbutrin). I did feel anxiety at the start of bupropion (Wellbutrin), and I know another friend who also mentioned this. When I was dealing with the anxiety I felt the medication brought on, I got concerned, as I didn't want heightened anxiety and I didn't want to snap at my family members, which I was a little prone to do in the first couple months of the medication. I just had to work super hard to hold my tongue.

I was concerned about this, and I talked to the pharmacist about it a bit. He told me that I really needed to hang in there about 3-4 months to see the full effects of the bupropion (Wellbutrin). That surprised me – seemed like a long time. He did tell me a lot of patients give up on this med too quickly. So, I rode it out, and my doctor even gradually increased it over a number of months, and it's been helping me ever since. So, in my experience, it absolutely gets better, and it was well worth it for me.

I'd also like to introduce you to some other members who have talked about bupropion (Wellbutrin) and see what their experiences were with anxiety or any other side effects at the start of taking this medication. They may also have information on how long it took them to notice change or feel better, if that applies, or success with this medication, and if so, what that timeline looked like. Please meet @jadillow @susan2018 @julie1976 @suecreader @jbp26 @merpreb.

How are you managing the anxiety you are feeling so far with starting this medicine? Anything you've found helpful?

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Thank you @lisalucier for inviting me into this conversation. Welcome to Connect @jodiev35 I don't know if any doctor really knows how to switch a patient from one anti-depressant to another without shaking things up. I personally think that your increased anxiety maybe the result of being taken off of Cymbalta. I was on Zoloft when my doctor put me on Wellbutrin because I experienced Serotonin Syndrome when she tried me on a higher dose of Zoloft. For me Wellbutrin worked immediately. I have experienced this before when I believe what the doctor says that it should help me. So it might have been a placebo effect to start with but in the long run it really has helped me.
I lost my dad many years ago but I miss him a lot. I'm not sure that grieving a special parent ever really goes away and I'm sure that you are feeling this. Have you had counseling to help with your grief? I wish that I had.
Connect also has a wonderful group for people who have lost dear ones. And there are many wonderful discussions within the group. https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/loss-grief/
I'm not sure that anyone can pinpoint week by week how they felt when taking on a new drug. Since the brain is involved changes can be subtle and you might not even realize changes.
When I feel that I am becoming edgy or more depressed it's mostly because I'm not taking good care of myself: Rest, exercise and clean eating are the prime things that need to be taken care of. They might not make you feel completely well but they will give you a fighting chance.
I am very sorry that you lost your dad. Sometimes what I think is depression is really overwhelming sadness. There is something called a trigger that can set-off anxiety or depression. See if you can figure out what happens before you feel lousy. If you can do this then make a list of all the things that you do not have control over. Tuck those away because you don't need them. Then try and figure out what you can control and how you might do just that.
I hope that you can be patient and give Wellbutrin a chance. I hope that it does work for you so you don't have to try another.
Do you think that you will give counseling a chance? Do you feel better today?

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Many people find Wellbutrin to be quite stimulating, so it is not surprising that you are feeling some anxiety. If it lasts more than a week or two, its probably not a good fit for you. I also agree with @merpreb in that switching medications can have unpredictable results, including increased anxiety.

These medications effect everyone differently so its difficult to generalize. If after a week or two you're still not happy on Wellbutrin, you could try Lexapro, which is quite different than either of the two you have tried. Buspirone is also a mild anti-anxiety that you could try, or add to Wellbutrin.

If you feel that your depression is mainly due to the loss of your father, then you should also seek counseling- medication alone won't fix the problem.

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Everyone is different in how they react to medicine. Wellbutrin is different from other antidepressants as it is not an ssri. It is for mild to moderate depression. Since it is different from the ssri antidepressants, it is sometimes used to avoid the side effects of the ssri antidepressants. I had severe depression so the Wellbutrin did not work fully for me. Antidepressants can take a while to take effect. Some feel better after a week while others can take up to 6 weeks. If it does not work after 6 weeks, you certainly should talk to you pcp, if not sooner.

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I concur with the comments made by others, and as @johnhans commented, it is different from other antidepressants. I learned from my Sleep Center doctor that it is the only one that does not exacerbate my ongoing and increasingly intense issues with restless legs. I still have the restless legs, but the Wellbutrin has been working for me with my depression for about six years now. Prior to that I was taking Celexa, and it was helpful, but I still had some days that felt pretty gray to the point I thought I was on the edge of becoming depressed again. (I later learned that it could increase the intensity of RLS – and for me, it did). I was nervous about trying yet another anti-depressant, but Wellbutrin keeps me from sliding down the rabbit hole to isolation and a feeling of helplessness/hopelessness. I don't remember exactly how long it took to start being effective, but I believe that it was about ten days when I noticed that I was gradually starting to feel better. I hope this helps!

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@suecreader– I also have restless leg syndrome- Don't you hate them? I use ropinirole (Requip). l for it and it really helps. I also use CBD oil and the helps also. Do ypoou take anything else for it?

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YES! I hate them since they are so limiting in terms of what I can and can't do . . . . .. I am using Gabapentin and Neupro patches right now since after 9 years, Requip stopped working. It did a great job until suddenly I was increasing dosage every two weeks and getting nauseous, dizzy, and fainting with each increase. The Neupro patches (which are quite expensive) stopped being effective in just the past ten days, and I'm up all night walking and dealing with that horrible jittery feeling again. It sounds like an exaggeration, but for the past ten days, I've had only three hours of sleep per night. For some reason, even with the patches, the symptoms have started manifesting again at around 11:00 p.m. and last until 3:00-4:00 a.m. They abate somewhat until 6:00 or 7:00 when I wake up and can't go back to sleep. I'm thinking of asking my doctor about trying Requip again since the Neupro makes my thinking feel a bit jumbled. CBD oil isn't considered legal in SD, but I've been wondering about using it. Do you mind if I ask how you use it and where you get it? I know it is legal and a greater percentage of states all the time, and in nearby Colorado, it has been legal for some time. I hate to sound melodramatic, but I become almost frantic for sleep since it feels like so many things are awry when I don't have sufficient sleep. Thanks for your comment on my post.

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@suecreader

YES! I hate them since they are so limiting in terms of what I can and can't do . . . . .. I am using Gabapentin and Neupro patches right now since after 9 years, Requip stopped working. It did a great job until suddenly I was increasing dosage every two weeks and getting nauseous, dizzy, and fainting with each increase. The Neupro patches (which are quite expensive) stopped being effective in just the past ten days, and I'm up all night walking and dealing with that horrible jittery feeling again. It sounds like an exaggeration, but for the past ten days, I've had only three hours of sleep per night. For some reason, even with the patches, the symptoms have started manifesting again at around 11:00 p.m. and last until 3:00-4:00 a.m. They abate somewhat until 6:00 or 7:00 when I wake up and can't go back to sleep. I'm thinking of asking my doctor about trying Requip again since the Neupro makes my thinking feel a bit jumbled. CBD oil isn't considered legal in SD, but I've been wondering about using it. Do you mind if I ask how you use it and where you get it? I know it is legal and a greater percentage of states all the time, and in nearby Colorado, it has been legal for some time. I hate to sound melodramatic, but I become almost frantic for sleep since it feels like so many things are awry when I don't have sufficient sleep. Thanks for your comment on my post.

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@suecreader I read your post about restless leg syndrome with some interest. I, too, have RLS and I’m just wondering if there’s any new research. I’m on the lowest dose of requip because anything higher gives me brain fog. I’m sure part of the problem is that I’m still on prednisone because of my autoimmune disease. Any news or information would be so helpful! Also, what type of doctor do you see to treat the restless leg syndrome? Thanks, Becky

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@becsbuddy I had RLS in the past but since I'm drinking more water and taking magnesium I don't have them anymore. Pickle juice in an Emergency .

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@becsbuddy: I'm always glad to connect with a fellow 'sufferer' with RLS. While I'm not aware of any new research, I think Neupro is one of the newer drugs (since it is quite expensive . . . $1,400 without insurance, but with that kind of cost, I ended up in the Gap category with the insurance company pretty quickly – now it is about $80.00, but it was $600 and then $400 per month before dropping to the current price of $80 last month; just to prepare you if you are prescribed it as well). It is considered to be in the same family of drugs as Requip, and even though the side effect of brain fog or interference with cognitive processing is not listed on the insert with the presecription, that is one of the great drawbacks of taking Neupro for me. I had trouble with remembering when I was taking high doses of Gabapentin (about 2,100 mg daily), and the doctor dialed that back to the current level of 300 mg at 4:00 p.m. to stop the RLS from starting, and then another 300 mg at 9:00 to help me fall asleep. That has worked out pretty well. With the addition of Neupro, the brain issue is that I will have a complete and utter blank sometimes about something I just said or did, where I put something, or about something that happened anywhere from last week to a few years ago. Sleeping is so beneficial I've been willing to put up with that, but it is frustrating to experience nonetheless. People will tell me things like it is part of aging, but I also know what my mind is like (and I can be forgetful at times too that's for sure) now, and how it operated before I started Neupro. My doctor understands and doesn't try to minimize that symptom by dismissing it as age related – which is a great relief. Also, I don't know if this is helpful, but I was taking Reuip for about nine years, and then it stopped working, and so I then started having to increase dosages every two weeks. After each increase and for about five-six days, I would be dizzy to the point of passing out, and I would wake up with a massive headache. The neurologist I was seeing here wanted me to just keep increasing and increasing the dosage, and that it what drove me to seek help from Rochoester. I too have an autoimmune disease, but I have not been able to take prednisone since it tends to amp up the RLS.

To answer your question about who I see for RLS, it is a Sleep Center doctor at Mayo. At my first appointment, she took me off Celexa which I was taking for depression, and put me on Wellbutrin which someone else has already observed in another post, is in a different class of drugs than the SSRIs that are often used to treat depression. She also noticed that my ferritin levels were low in my iron count, and she put me on iron supplements until it stop going up and down. That helped immensely, but I find the RLS continues to get worse as time goes by. So, I'm particularly grateful and appreciative of the Sleep Center doctor, and she is very approachable. For the first time since RLS has continued to get worse and worse, she seems to have strategies or different medications to try when something isn't working or has stopped working.

I hope all of the above helps since it is quite long. Good luck with your treatment. . . . I'm always interested in what other people are using for RLS, so if you have any insights, I'd love to hear those too.

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@suecreader

@becsbuddy: I'm always glad to connect with a fellow 'sufferer' with RLS. While I'm not aware of any new research, I think Neupro is one of the newer drugs (since it is quite expensive . . . $1,400 without insurance, but with that kind of cost, I ended up in the Gap category with the insurance company pretty quickly – now it is about $80.00, but it was $600 and then $400 per month before dropping to the current price of $80 last month; just to prepare you if you are prescribed it as well). It is considered to be in the same family of drugs as Requip, and even though the side effect of brain fog or interference with cognitive processing is not listed on the insert with the presecription, that is one of the great drawbacks of taking Neupro for me. I had trouble with remembering when I was taking high doses of Gabapentin (about 2,100 mg daily), and the doctor dialed that back to the current level of 300 mg at 4:00 p.m. to stop the RLS from starting, and then another 300 mg at 9:00 to help me fall asleep. That has worked out pretty well. With the addition of Neupro, the brain issue is that I will have a complete and utter blank sometimes about something I just said or did, where I put something, or about something that happened anywhere from last week to a few years ago. Sleeping is so beneficial I've been willing to put up with that, but it is frustrating to experience nonetheless. People will tell me things like it is part of aging, but I also know what my mind is like (and I can be forgetful at times too that's for sure) now, and how it operated before I started Neupro. My doctor understands and doesn't try to minimize that symptom by dismissing it as age related – which is a great relief. Also, I don't know if this is helpful, but I was taking Reuip for about nine years, and then it stopped working, and so I then started having to increase dosages every two weeks. After each increase and for about five-six days, I would be dizzy to the point of passing out, and I would wake up with a massive headache. The neurologist I was seeing here wanted me to just keep increasing and increasing the dosage, and that it what drove me to seek help from Rochoester. I too have an autoimmune disease, but I have not been able to take prednisone since it tends to amp up the RLS.

To answer your question about who I see for RLS, it is a Sleep Center doctor at Mayo. At my first appointment, she took me off Celexa which I was taking for depression, and put me on Wellbutrin which someone else has already observed in another post, is in a different class of drugs than the SSRIs that are often used to treat depression. She also noticed that my ferritin levels were low in my iron count, and she put me on iron supplements until it stop going up and down. That helped immensely, but I find the RLS continues to get worse as time goes by. So, I'm particularly grateful and appreciative of the Sleep Center doctor, and she is very approachable. For the first time since RLS has continued to get worse and worse, she seems to have strategies or different medications to try when something isn't working or has stopped working.

I hope all of the above helps since it is quite long. Good luck with your treatment. . . . I'm always interested in what other people are using for RLS, so if you have any insights, I'd love to hear those too.

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@suecreader Thanks for responding! I could probably deal with the RLS better if it weren’t for everything else. I had mild RLS until I got this autoimmune disease. Now, it’s awful. I usually take 0.5 mg in the late afternoon and another if I’m going crazy. Last night I took CBD oil and slept all night! Hope it works tonight. I guess I should look into changing my antidepressant 😑 This current one has worked beautifully for 20+ years. Thanks for all your input. It is nice to have someone to talk to who knows what you’re talking about! Becky

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You’re so welcome @becsbuddy. I know what you mean about having someone who really understands what RLS is really like. I’ve learned that so many people I’ve talked to, who think they have restless legs have leg cramps or the jerking or movement that occurs with sleep apnea. While I know these are serous, uncomfortable, and interfere with sleep also, they’re not the same thing. They don’t have the need to get up and walk at night & that horrible jittery feeling that is so hard to explain. I think the best explanation I’ve come up with is that it feels like I’m shot full electricity since at it’s worst, it turns into a whole body sensation. When I’m really tired because of not sleeping I find myself impatient as those individuals share their “cures “ for what helps them…. and I feel bad since I know they are only trying to help. I think some of that feeling is because it is so miserable & we have that human need to be understood….. I should know more about CBD…. is it a tincture that you use or does it come in a pill form? When you expressed the hope that it would work tonight, I sympathize since I have found I dread bedtime, sometimes all day long

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@suecreader That's what I have to do when RLS starts Get out of bed and March then I take Mirapex perscription for it rub winter green alcohol on my legs ,go back to bed. The pickle juice I drink when it's cramps thanks for pointing this out.

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Thanks for the info about wintergreen alcohol @lioness. I’ve tried the pickle juice that you recommended before too, but I’ve never heard of wintergreen alcohol . Do you mix it yourself or buy it somewhere, and if so where? Also, I do take more magnesium now as you recommended also, and I find that does help as well. So thank you.

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@suecreader Your welcome not all stores sale it ,it's already mixed The only stores are the drugstores RiteAide Walgreens I don't know about CVS You probably could mix the Wintergreen essential oil in regular but not sure it would be the same .This is a good forum to share ideas also.

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