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i have an appt. with the therapist Thursday and need to decide if I want to try Wellbutrin.  I am on prozac and Abilify (have been on Lexapro, Zoloft, and Paxil in the past) now but have gone up THREE pants sizes in the time i have been on prozac, a little less than a month.  So that is not looking like a good option for me. i had some weird experiences as a teenager while taking heavy drugs that may or may not have been seizures (not tonic clonic) and a daughter who has had febrile seizures.

The other choice would be to take just abilify.  Or go off all if they will let me and see if I am healed, i take ADs for an off label use also, severe vagal reactions/nerve damage in the esophagal area which links to the brain, so they may be hesitant for me to go no meds. I faint w/o them and once ended up in cardiac ward w/ cardiac events :/ a little embarassing and dangerous.

but being overweight so SUDDENLY (40lbs on paxil in 2m and can't lose) and now sustained can't be good either.

I also drink some and had an ED as a teenager and some as an adult but I don't consider it active.

How many take wellbutrin and how many have had seizures on it?

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Hi, Solstar,

There are three flavors of Wellbutrin. The oldest is plain ol' Wellbutrin. Immediate release. Needs to be taken 3x/day to keep it at a steady state. It has gone generic, so if money is an issue, it's the cheapest way to go.  SR stands for sustained release. That one has twice daily dosing, rather than 3 times a day. And, finally, XL is for extended life and calls for once a day dosing.

I've taken Wellbutrin XL, 450 mgs, for close to a year. It has been weight neutral. The warning about not taking it if you have an active ED or drinking problem is mostly because those things can lower your seizure threshhold, as can Wellbutrin.

But the risk of seizures is very small at anything below 450 mgs. I have read that the XL is smoother and has a lower seizure risk due to the sustained release rather than two or three big hits each day. Some people still prefer the immediate release because it's more stimulating for some, and for others who have a big problem with insomnia, the immediate release has a short enough half life that if your last dose in early afternoon, you can still get to sleep at night.

The WB along with a low dose of Zoloft has been a wonder for me.

Greeny

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I take 450 mg of SR in the generic form along with loads of other stuff you can see in my signature.  I've never had a seizure, and although I have an eating disorder it's not the kind that warrants the seizure warning; binge eating doesn't create an electrolyte imbalance.  The anorexia and bulimia EDs are more susceptible to increasing the risk for seizures because from either not consuming food or purging food the necessary chemicals in the body can get seriously out of whack, which can be a trigger for seizures.  The seizure warning is aimed at people who may already be at risk from their ED.  But get the saltshaker out and take more than a few grains when thinking about all this because I have no medical training at all, I just like to read a lot.

I do have a slight heriditary risk for seizures because one of my siblings had epilepsy with grand mal (now tonic clonic, I think?) seizures, although luckily they had a good response to meds and haven't had a seizure in years, and also haven't had to take meds for them for many years.  I had some unexplained fainting here and there when I was younger, but nothing that looked remotely like a seizure.

As far as the weight gain, it's not ideal, but it's certainly possible to remain in good health while carrying some extra pounds if you stay active.  I've been doing it all my life, and know others that have as well.  The main discomfort I've felt has been from the disapproval of others. 

The other pysch drugs you see added in my signature happened after I hit major depressive episodes four and five.  I was on Wellbutrin by itself for a few years for dysthymia and was pleased with it, but of course your mileage may very.  Good luck in finding a good med combo!       

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unfortunately, there's no way of knowing whether your brain will hate wellbutrin or not until you take it.

i'm sort of Poster Girl for unwanted wellbutrin side effects, so...

:takes deep breath and prepares to deliver Standard Wellbutrin Lecture #3:

i did have an ED when i started wellbutrin, though it wasn't active, and i had for some time been dealing with an undiagnosed (well, misdiagnosed) seizure disorder. since i'd never experienced the full bore tonic clonic piss-yourself sort of deal that everyone pictures when they hear 'seizure', i didn't think i was at risk, and my pdoc thought my symptoms fell under the heading of 'panic attack and/or weird schizoaffective manifestation that we don't know what the hell it is'. i'd gained some weight from risperdal and from eating too much icecream (to be honest, mostly the icecream) and SSRIs all hated me and i wanted more energy, so i lobbied for wellbutrin, and i got it. i never did experience any weight loss on wellbutrin, though i did have more energy and it helped with the depression - and nothing else i'd ever taken ever had. in that sense, it was a good choice for me, and i'd go back on it in a snap.

unfortunately, since i did in fact have a seizure disorder hanging around, the wellbutrin basically raped my CNS up the ass, and i haven't been quite right since. in fairness, i was also taking risperdal and sudafed at the time, both of which mess with the seizure threshold, and on the night i had my first hardcore seizure i also hadn't slept, hadn't eaten and had been drinking - all of which are triggers. prior to that, aside from some little twitches i've since learned were myoclonics, wellbutrin treated me well. after the Big One, though, i was fried, and have been off-and-on fried ever since.

the seizure risk on wellbutrin really is fairly low, and certainly being overweight isn't ideal. the wellbutrin incident taught me that trying to game the system and selecting drugs by hoped-for side effects isn't a good idea, though. if you've had possible seizures before, and if you drink occasionally, i'd stay away from it. being overweight is way preferable to epilepsy, believe dat.

can you describe the possible seizures? also, when you say that you use ADs offlabel, and that you faint without meds, are you referring to the SSRIs? since wellbutrin operates differently from the meds you've had before, it leads me to wonder if wellbutrin wouldn't work for you, seizures aside.

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The first time I was about 12 and was visiting my dad for the summer. I was watching a movie at a theater, a Gremlins movie .  1/2 way through the movie I felt sick to my stomach and started losing my vision and felt shaky.

I got my friend to leave with me and went home.  That is one of the last memories I have for the rest of the week. During that time I talked on the phone incoherently to my mother and apparently slept a lot but went about my business. Oh and the light hurt my eyes. They took me to a dr. which I vaguely remember and he didn't find anything wrong.

After about a week I woke up clearheaded and threw up and that was it.

I have had migraines w/ aura (and mismatching pupils) before so it could have been one of those.

A few years later I went on Paxil and sometimes after I smoked pot I would experience a buzzing sound a taste like blood in my mouth, metallic, and then I would hear a loud pop in my head w/ visiom changes and feel panicked. One time I smoked at the bus stop and hallucinated and wound up at home somehow. Sometimes my legs wouldn't hold me up and I would get shaky.

I have vagal probs so I suppose that could do it too?

My vagal probs are like this, I start to feel weak like low blood sugar, weak and shaky, the lights get dim and then I faint or near faint. Sometimes my heartrate drops low, like 38 then overcompensates and goes too high. I used to have an episode every time I ate from nerve damage.  I fight it hard. I don't have them on AD's.

As for AD's, my cardiologist thinks Wellbutrin would work for vagal, Abilify seems to work better than another med alone though I am not on Abilify for vagal probs.

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another piece of info (can you stand it?) when I was in high school and college I would often have blackouts when I drank where I would appear normal (sometimes not but usually)  to everyone else but wouldn't remember a thing.

I don't have them now either.

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the drinking part is tricky, because drinking does lower the seizure threshold but causes weird effects on consciousness on its own. the key would be in how you looked and acted at those times - if your friends remembered you wandering around, say, not talking or talking to yourself in a way that made no sense or making repetetive movements that didn't seem related to anything.  i don't know enough about the effect pot has on the seizure threshold to make an educated guess about whether the experiences you had were due directly to the pot or what, i fear. the earlier experiences you had as a kid do sound a bit dodgy, though they could have been migrane related - or even perhaps related to your vagal issues?

unfortunately, it's the sort of thing you can't predict before you take the drug. you might ask your pdoc to refer you to a neurologist, just in case. odds on, you'd be fine, but it's still something to consider.

out of curiosity, why did you stop the lexapro and the zoloft? other side effects, or ineffective?

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I talked to my therapist and decided to stick with prozac for a little longer.  I ran out and I was a crying mess at my appt and moods were all over the place laughing and crying. YIKES.  I never cry but now I cry all the time. Picked up my meds today whew!

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  • 1 month later...

thinking about taking it again and scaring myself with tales of seizures...

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Try it. If you start at 150 mg or even lower the risk should be very low. I used to take WB, started at 150 and went to 300 and I never had a problem. I do have an eating disorder- and the main important thing is that I dont purge- so my electrolytes aren't messed up which is what leads to having the seizure. I drank while I was taking the WB too- probably not smart- but I never had a problem.

Anyways, hope u figure out what to do.

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  • 4 weeks later...

i just had a looooooong chat w/ my doc about this

how many mgs are you taking?

xl has a lower risk for seizures than sr

DO NOT DRINK while on it if you are scared of seizures.

get enough sleep.

you should be fine.

at least that's what my doc said, when i came in spazzing about a fam history of seizures but wanting to go on wellbutrin.

good luck

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Not to scare you, but.... ;)

I had an ED when I was ages 11-14ish, not eating/throwing up everything I ate to make people believe I was eating.  I figured that since that was in the distant past (10 years) it wouldn't have any adverse effects on taking Wellbutrin.

I was so wrong.  I didn't know at the time, but I was having simple-partial and myoclonic seizures.  Very bad ones where I couldn't even speak without my face twisting into a spasm.  I was on 300 mg and when I went to 150mg it became milder, but still there.

They are NOT KIDDING when they say "if you've had an eating disorder, you should not take Wellbutrin".  I had no history of seizures.

Just be careful, ok?  And titrate up ...slowly... so you can keep checking yourself.

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first day on it and I don't see it as activating.  I feel a muddy sort of high like things are slower but not the coffee buzz I heard it had.

Maybe that will change? Of course I always feel weird for a few days when I change meds. And I am moving way slower because I lifted too many weights at the gym.  OUCH. I can barely move my right arm it is so sore.

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When do the headaches go away?  It seems like every time I start a med I get bad headaches  ;)   Also is nosebleeds a side effect? Still no coffee buzz. WTF?

hmm.

i used to get horrid headaches going on wellbutrin (or taking it if i had skipped a few days back in my not so good at being compliant days) that would stick around for anywhere between a day and a week.

i couldn't find anything about wellbutrin and nosebleeds.  i did, however, learn from pubmed that medical science has invented the nasal tampon

how bad are your nosebleeds and how often?  are you normally prone to nosebleeds?  (some people get them in winter, for example) or is this a sudden onset never happened before thing?

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