Wellbutrin for ADHD: Benefits, off-label use and prescription

There are many medications that can help with the symptoms of ADHD. These medications can help with the concentration problems and help people focus better.

Methylphenidate drugs such as Ritalin, Focalin, Concerta, and Metadate have an effect on the chemical signals in the central nervous system. This medication works by increasing the level of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. Dopamine and nor epinephrine are chemicals that help send messages between the brain and the nerve cells. This medication comes in pill form and is available as a patch that is placed right on the skin.

There are medications of other types that help people with ADHD also. Amphetamines such as Dexedrine, Adderall, Dextrostat, and Vyvanse, treat ADHD in ways like methylphenidate medications do. These medications are classed as stimulants. There are other medications, that are not stimulants used to treat ADHD also. There is Strattera and antidepressants such as Wellbutrin.

ADHD medications are safe to use, when taken exactly as prescribed by your physician. These medications also help people reduce injuries, substance abuse, have been shown to help teens with ADHD in all sorts of areas, such as reducing smoking, automobile accidents, and improving their relationships.

Stimulant medications are the first line of treatment for ADHD as they are known to be the most effective medication ​in reducing ADHD symptoms such as impulsivity, hyperactivity, and inattentiveness.

Non-stimulant medications are second-line treatment options for ADHD. Wellbutrin, Strattera (atomoxetine), and Catapres (clonidine) are examples of non-stimulant medication options for the treatment of ADHD.

Wellbutrin is an antidepressant medication that is sometimes prescribed to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms.

Wellbutrin might be prescribed in conjunction with stimulant medication such as Adderall (amphetamine and dextroamphetamine) or Ritalin (methylphenidate) if a person has ADHD and a co-existing condition of depression, or it could be prescribed as a single medication to try and address both conditions.

However, some physicians do not recommend taking Wellbutrin and Adderall together. Adderall is on the list of major drug interactions for Wellbutrin.

Both medications can cause seizures in users. When combined, the likelihood of seizures goes up in a significant way.

What is Wellbutrin?

Wellbutrin is the brand name of the drug buproprion, also known as amfebutamone. In some places, Wellbutrin is also sold under the brand name of Zyban. The main use of this drug is as an antidepressant. In fact, as an antidepressant, it is very popular – it is currently the fourth largest prescribed antidepressant in the world.

The active component of Wellbutrin, i.e. buproprion works at reducing the effects of nicotine in the smoker. Nicotine is the main addictive principle of the cigarettes. It is the nicotine that causes the smoker to smoke again and again. Buproprion works at reducing these effects.

Also, due to its antidepressant properties, Wellbutrin can help the quitting smoker to face the withdrawal symptoms better. One common problem with smoking cessation is that it can cause obesity. Recent studies has shown that Wellbutrin is effective even in causing weight loss.

Wellbutrin is a norepinephrine and dopamine reuptake inhibitor (NDRI), and it works by keeping the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and dopamine available to the brain’s neurons for longer. This helps improve concentration, focus, and other ADHD symptoms. Since Wellbutrin does not influence serotonin, it works differently than many other antidepressants.

The medication is administered orally in 75 mg and 100 mg tablets. Each tablet contains bupropion hydrochloride as well as several additive ingredients to aid in the controlled-release process.

The neurochemical mechanism that causes the antidepressant effects of bupropion is not known. Bupropion is also a fairly weak inhibitor of the neuronal uptake of norepinephrine.

Wellbutrin is typically taken in tablet form three times a day. It is important that Wellbutrin doses are taken at least six hours apart to decrease the risk of having a seizure.

It is also not recommended to take Wellbutrin close to bedtime because it can make sleep difficult. Regular and stable use is the most beneficial way to take medication.

Will Wellbutrin Help Me With My ADHD?

Wellbutrin and Zyban are both brand names for the drug bupropion. Wellbutrin has been approved by the FDA as an antidepressant, and Zyban is being prescribed for off-label use for ADHD management.

How beneficial will it be depends on many factors, with very personalized results.

According to this study, For adults, based on clinician ratings, amphetamines (SMD -0.79, 95% CI -0.99 to -0.58); methylphenidate (-0.49, -0.64 to -0.35); bupropion (-0.46, -0.85 to -0.07); and atomoxetine (-0.45, -0.58 to -0.32), but not modafinil (0.16, -0.28 to 0.59), were superior to placebo, the study authors report.

Different people have different results.


The last time I saw my doctor, he had mentioned that he’d had success treating other patients with ADHD with Wellbutrin. At that time, Ritalin was still working well for me, so why fix what’s not broken?

In the last few weeks, I feel like something has changed. I’ve gotten more responsibility at work, which unfortunately translates into more work that I find boring, and I’ve started exercising, and eating low-carb, but I don’t know if any of those factors are affecting this. Basically, I feel like the Ritalin has stored working as well. Plus, I’m tired of having to remember to take it several times a day, and only fill one prescription at a time. – Review

I have ADHD and take Wellbutrin for an unrelated ailment. It does not help my ADHD at all. – Review

Stimulants become less effective over time because of deregulation (the body notices the drug’s actions and tries to compensate). Some people find that both kinds of stimulants (methylphenidate and amphetamine) help them, so they can switch from one to the other when the body gets used to it.

Are you going to stop the Ritalin? Probably best to slowly reduce it. You might find you still need a very small dose from time to time.

I’ve tried quite a few meds, including Concerta and Strattera. I’ve now been taking Wellbutrin for almost a year. It helps with memory, focussed attention and general awareness, and holds down most impulsive tendencies. I still get sidetracked by unimportant things, but at least now I notice it and go back to what I was supposed to be doing!

I also take Dexedrine XR, mostly to deal with depressive symptoms like low energy/motivation, and as a support for the Wellbutrin, because in this country (Netherlands) the legal maximum prescription for Wellbutrin is 300mg/day. -Review

Bottomline on Wellbutrin for ADHD

While Wellbutrin is not a first-line treatment for ADHD, it usually is somewhat effective in treating ADHD symptoms, especially when you have co-existing conditions like depression and anxiety. It might be prescribed in addition to another ADHD medication or as a stand-alone option.

If you are considering Wellbutrin as part of your ADHD treatment, discuss it with your doctor. They will be able to guide you on this option for you.

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