Frequently Asked Questions

Whether you are already on WELLBUTRIN XL or thinking about starting it, you probably have some questions. Explore the answers below to commonly asked questions about treatment with WELLBUTRIN XL. If you don’t see your question answered here, check with your healthcare provider.


WELLBUTRIN XL is a prescription medicine used to treat adults with a certain type of depression called major depressive disorder, and for the prevention of autumn-winter seasonal depression (seasonal affective disorder).1

WELLBUTRIN XL belongs to a class of medications called NDRI, which is also known as norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitors. It works on chemicals in your brain that affect mood.1-3

Generic versions of WELLBUTRIN XL may contain different inactive ingredients. While inactive ingredients do not affect how well a medicine works, they may cause different side effects.4,5

Also, due to the variety of different WELLBUTRIN XL generics, you could get a pill one month that looks, smells, and/or tastes different than the pill from the month before.4,6

Another difference is SmartCoatTM technology. Only brand name WELLBUTRIN XL has this patented technology, allowing steady release of each dose. This means a consistent level of the active ingredient is available in the body over the course of each day.7-9

The most common side effects of WELLBUTRIN XL include trouble sleeping, feeling anxious, stuffy nose, nausea, dry mouth, constipation, dizziness, and joint aches.1

Often common side effects of antidepressants go away after the first few weeks of treatment. Talk to your doctor about any side effects you have.10,11

Pharmacy/Access Support

First, tell your doctor you want brand name WELLBUTRIN XL. Ask your doctor to write DAW1 or “brand medically necessary” on the prescription. DAW1 means “dispense as written.”

When you go to pick up your prescription, check it before leaving the pharmacy. Brand name WELLBUTRIN XL is a creamy white to pale yellow round tablet that has “WELLBUTRIN XL” on it followed by the dose.1

If you find that your prescription has been substituted for a generic, ask to speak to the pharmacist so that he or she can confirm that your doctor authorized the substitution.

Your healthcare provider may need to fill out what is called a prior authorization form in order for your insurance to cover the brand name. Find out more about prior authorization.

You can also ask your doctor to send your prescription to PhilRx. They can work with your insurance to get prior authorization approval and coordinate delivery of your prescription to your home, for free! Find out more about PhilRx.

Yes! Most eligible* commercially insured patients can enroll for Copay Savings and pay as low as $5 for each 30-day supply. Learn more about Copay Savings.

*Maximum benefits apply. Additional terms and conditions apply. For full eligibility requirements, please see Savings & Support tab above.

  1. WELLBUTRIN XL (bupropion hydrochloride extended-release) Prescribing Information. Bausch Health Companies Inc.
  2. National Institute of Mental Health. Depression. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/index.shtml. Accessed November 12, 2020.
  3. U.S. Food & Drug Administration. Depression: FDA-approved medications may help. https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/depression-fda-approved-medications-may-help. Accessed November 12, 2020.
  4. Straka RJ, Keohane DJ, Liu LZ. Potential clinical and economic impact of switching branded medications to generics. Am J Ther. 2017;24(3):e278-e289.
  5. Brown T. Inactive ingredients in medications cause trouble for some. https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/910411. Accessed November 12, 2020.
  6. Peters JR. From our perspective: the importance of the physical characteristics of generic drugs. U.S. Food & Drug Administration. https://www.fda.gov/drugs/newsevents/ucm471446.htm. Accessed November 12, 2020.
  7. Fava M, Rush AJ, Thase ME, et al. 15 years of clinical experience with bupropion HCl: from bupropion to bupropion SR to bupropion XL. Prim Care Companion J Clin Psychiatry. 2005;7(3):106-113.
  8. US Patent 6096341.
  9. US Patent 6143327.
  10. Mayo Clinic. Bupropion (oral route). https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/bupropion-oral-route/description/drg-20062478. Accessed November 12, 2020.
  11. InformedHealth.org. Depression: how effective are antidepressants? https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK361016/?report=printable. Accessed November 12, 2020.

WELLBUTRIN XL® (bupropion hydrochloride extended-release tablets) is a prescription medicine used to treat adults with a certain type of depression called major depressive disorder, and for the prevention of autumn-winter seasonal depression (seasonal affective disorder).



Suicidal Thoughts or Actions and Antidepressant Drugs

Antidepressants may increase the risk of suicidal thoughts or actions in some children, teenagers, or young adults within the first few months of treatment. Depression or other serious mental illnesses are the most important causes of suicidal thoughts and actions. People who have (or have a family history of) bipolar illness or suicidal thoughts or actions may have a particularly high risk. Pay close attention to any changes, especially sudden changes in mood, behaviors, thoughts, or feelings. Call your healthcare provider right away if symptoms such as anxiety, irritability, impulsivity, trouble sleeping, aggressive behavior or suicidal thoughts are new, worse or worry you. WELLBUTRIN XL has not been evaluated for use in patients under the age of 18.

Call your healthcare provider right away if you or your family member has any of the following symptoms, especially if they are new, worse, or worry you:

  • thoughts about suicide or dying
  • attempts to commit suicide
  • new or worse depression
  • new or worse anxiety
  • feeling very agitated or restless
  • panic attacks
  • trouble sleeping (insomnia)
  • new or worse irritability
  • acting aggressive, being angry, or violent
  • acting on dangerous impulses
  • an extreme increase in activity and talking (mania)
  • other unusual changes in behavior or mood

Although WELLBUTRIN XL is not a treatment for quitting smoking, it contains the same active ingredient (bupropion hydrochloride) as ZYBAN, which is used to help patients quit smoking.

  • Seizures: There is a chance of having a seizure (convulsion, fit) with WELLBUTRIN XL, especially in people with certain medical problems or who take certain medicines. Do not take any other medicines while you are taking WELLBUTRIN XL unless your healthcare provider has said it is okay to take them. If you have a seizure while taking WELLBUTRIN XL, stop taking the tablets and call your healthcare provider right away.
  • High blood pressure (hypertension): Some people get high blood pressure that can be severe while taking WELLBUTRIN XL.
  • Manic episodes: Some people may have periods of mania while taking WELLBUTRIN XL. If you have any of the following symptoms of mania, call your healthcare provider:
    • greatly increased energy
    • severe trouble sleeping
    • racing thoughts
    • reckless behavior
    • unusually grand ideas
    • excessive happiness or irritability
    • talking more or faster than usual
  • Unusual thoughts or behaviors: Some patients may have unusual thoughts or behaviors while taking WELLBUTRIN XL, including delusions (e.g. believe you are someone else), hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that are not there), paranoia (feeling that people are against you), or feeling confused. If this happens to you, call your healthcare provider.
  • Visual problems: Some people are at risk of glaucoma if they take WELLBUTRIN XL. You should see an eye doctor to determine whether you are at risk prior to starting therapy. If you experience any of the following symptoms you should see an eye doctor:
    • eye pain
    • changes in vision
    • swelling or redness in or around the eye
  • Severe allergic reactions: Some patients have severe allergic reactions to WELLBUTRIN XL. Stop taking WELLBUTRIN XL and call your healthcare provider right away if you get a rash, itching, hives, fever, swollen lymph glands, painful sores in the mouth or around the eyes, swelling of the lips or tongue, chest pain, or have trouble breathing. These could be signs of a serious allergic reaction.
  • have or had a seizure disorder or epilepsy
  • have or had an eating disorder such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia
  • are taking any other medicines that contain bupropion, including WELLBUTRIN or WELLBUTRIN SR, APLENZIN®, ZYBAN, or FORFIVO XL. Bupropion is the same active ingredient that is in WELLBUTRIN XL
  • drink a lot of alcohol and abruptly stop drinking, or use medicines called sedatives (these make you sleepy), benzodiazepines, or anti-seizure medicines, and you stop using them all of a sudden
  • take a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI). Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist if you are not sure if you take an MAOI, including the antibiotic linezolid
    • do not take an MAOI within 2 weeks of stopping WELLBUTRIN XL unless directed to do so by your healthcare provider
    • do not start WELLBUTRIN XL if you stopped taking an MAOI in the last 2 weeks unless directed to do so by your healthcare provider
  • are allergic to the active ingredient in WELLBUTRIN XL, bupropion hydrochloride, or to any of the inactive ingredients
  • have liver problems, especially cirrhosis of the liver
  • have kidney problems
  • have, or have had, an eating disorder such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia
  • have had a head injury
  • have had a seizure (convulsion, fit)
  • have a tumor in your nervous system (brain or spine)
  • have had a heart attack, heart problems, or high blood pressure
  • are a diabetic taking insulin or other medicines to control your blood sugar
  • drink alcohol
  • abuse prescription medicines or street drugs
  • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant
  • are breastfeeding. WELLBUTRIN XL passes into your milk in small amounts