Bupropion is the generic name for bupropion hydrochloride, the active ingredient in the branded drug, Zyban. It was originally marketed as an antidepressant drug under the brand name of Wellbutrin, but was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a smoking cessation aid in 1997. It became obvious that Bupropion was effective for cessation, because smokers using it to treat depression also lost interest in smoking.
It isn't completely understood how Bupropion works, but it’s known that the drug alters brain chemistry in such a way that nicotine becomes less addictive. The result is a reduced interest in smoking, and a reduction in nicotine cravings and withdrawal symptons.
While this medication was developed as an antidepressant, you do not need to suffer from depression for it to work for smoking cessation. That said, if you develop cessation-related depression, Bupropion may help offset related symptoms.
Bupropion has many side effects, ranging from the mild side effects, to side effects requiring immediate cessation of the medication and even urgent medical attention. Common side effects include dry mouth, rouble sleeping, anxiety, constipation, skin irritation, or dizziness. These may go away after you take Bupropion for about a week.
In 2009, the FDA required the makers of Zyban and Chantix (another smoking cessation aid), to post a warning on product packaging about potentially severe side effects.
If you feel you are experiencing side effects when taking Bupropion, talk to your doctor as soon as possible. Also, tell your doctor if you have a history of seizures, as Bupropion may place you ate risk of breakthrough seizures.
Bupropion is an atypical antidepressant. This means that it works differently than the major classes of antidepressants. Bupropion can also react differently with alcohol than other antidepressants.
If you don’t drink alcohol often, drinking while taking Bupropion can increase your risk of certain side effects or complication, including seizures. If you drink heavily, abruptly stopping while taking Bupropion can have similar effects.
So, let’s take a look at the the potential interactions between alcohol and Bupropion, including things to watch out for if you o combine Bupropion with alcohol.
Seizures are a rare but serious side effect of Bupropion that some people experience. The risk of having a seizure while taking the drug is higher in people who:
Excessive use of alcohol can also increase your risk of having a seizure while taking Bupropion. The risk for each individual varies, so it’s best to avoid alcohol altogether. If you have a history of heavy drinking, it may be best to avoid Bupropion rather than stopping abruptly.
If you regularly drink a lot of alcohol or have alcohol-use disorder, abruptly stopping can lead to alcohol withdrawal syndrome. This is a potentially life-threatening condition if not properly managed.
Going through alcohol withdrawal while taking Bupropion increases your risk of having seizures along with other serious side effects, including:
To minimize your risk of having a seizure or other severe side effects while taking Bupropion, it’s crucial that you’re honest with your doctor about your drinking habits.
Be sure to tell your doctor:
Drinking alcohol while taking Bupropion can have other side effects and can intensify potential side effects of Buprpion alone.
Alcohol is a depressant, meaning it slows your central nervous system, including your brain. This can make you feel:
These are all potenatil side effects of Bupropion aline wich alcohol can intensify.
In addition, drinking alcohol can counteract the beneficial effects of Bupropion on depression, leading to severe depression and even suicidal ideation.
If you’re currently taking Bupropion and have consumed alcohol, don’t panic. Remember, drinking alcohol while taking Bupropion simply increases your risk of certain problems. It doesn’t guarantee them.
Still, there are a few things you’ll want to watch for over the next 24 hours, including:
Contact your doctor right away if you experience any of these symptoms.
Head to the emergency room or an urgent care icenter if you think you may be having a seizure, worsenig depression or any thoughts of self-harm or suicide.
It’s generally best to avoid alcohol while taking Bupropion. However, in some cases, abruptly quitting drinking while taking Bupropion can lead to serious effects. For some, having an occasional drink while taking Bupropion is OK.
There’s no way to predict how you’ll react to mixing alcohol and Bupropion. Your safest bet is to have an honest conversation with your doctor about your drinking habits before starting Bupropion.
If you do choose to drink alcohol while taking Bupropion, make sure to monitor yourself for any potentially dangerous side effects so you can get help right away if needed.