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Wellbutrin was the closest to helping my depression

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On the third and fourth week on this drug i felt much better, excitement and pleasure in life came back.

Too bad it stopped working shortly after. I had a panic attack on the fifth week on Wellbutrin and broke down in tears, really intense emotions. After this i did not feel any of Wellbutrin's positive effects anymore. I tried giving it more time and tried all the doses (150 mg, 300 mg and 450 mg), i was on it for well over 3 months before i eventually gave up on it.

Now i am on the search of a replacement. Because i had a short lived good reaction to Wellbutrin, i'm trying to find something similar to it. Wellbutrin is a NDRI, and the list of other NDRI's are not antidepressants. But rather stimulants like Ritalin, and these aren't very good for long-term use.

After studying and research, i've learned how Wellbutrin works. It mostly acts on norepinephrine, and to a lesser extent dopamine. It is actually a weak antidepressant overall (which might explain why it's positive effects on me were so short lived) Because of this, i am looking for something stronger that works on either norepinephrine or dopamine. And what i ask myself is, did i have a good reaction to Wellbutrin because of it's action on norepinephrine? Or because of dopamine? This is what i'm currently on a quest about to find out.

I am taking the dopamine strategy first, i have not found many options for this one. Most prescription dopaminergics are psychostimulants, which aren't very good for long-term use. I have however, discovered an atypical antipsychotic named Amisulpride which i am currently trying. In lower doses, this drug releases dopamine. It has been reported as very useful for depression, dysthymia and emotional numbness.

If my dopamine strategy fails, then norepinephrine is next. I have found several options for this one, like NRI tricyclics such as Nortriptyline and Desipramine.

I'd like to hear some advice and recommendations from you guys. If you know of something that works similarly to Wellbutrin, and could be a good replacement for it. Please let me know.

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The only thing I can come up is Prozac.  It definitely got rid of the depression for me.  It is sometimes activating for people.  I wasn't one of those people, but others here on CB would probably have more insight on that.  But it definitely helped with the depression.

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I have read that it's a myth that Wellbutrin really acts on dopamine, for what that's worth. But of all the drugs I have tried, it's the one I trust the most not to cause me any pain. It did make me rageful once, but it was a generic, not the real thing. You never know if you're having withdrawal or new depression, so it's worth toughing it out to find out, for a few months if you can, but not if you start feeling suicidal.

(The info about dopamine was on wikipedia , 3rd paragraph. The wise thing to do when using wikipedia  is to check the sources for the statements in the article.)

I had a devil of a time getting off Effexor. I didn't even know it until the third time. That is, I didn't realize it was Effexor and neither did my doctors. The first time I went off it was accidental in the hospital after a major surgery. (I was on it for "adjustment disorder" having to do with my health problem but honestly it was the hospital I couldn't adjust to.)  I went manic the night i got home and stayed that way for months. I didn't even go to a doctor, I just quit my job and wasted all my savings. Then I started getting scared and agitated and un-brilliantly resumed Effexor on my own. You don't want to know...mental hospital. Oh boy. Anyway, then a bipolar diagnosis, but crazily enough, this weird psychiatrist had me on Trileptal, Effexor, and Trazodone. I had a panic attack which I now think was from the Trileptal, because I was switched from generic to brand name and as soon as I took one (an hour later) I was gasping for breath and thinking I was dying...every symptom on the list.

Well...new doctor was needed. I was on Seroquel and Effexor and Trileptal, but still super agitated and actually paranoid. She added Abilify, and I became so agitated that I shook all the time and couldn't function at all in any capacity. I told her I had to get off that and Seroquel and tapered off on my own. I was doing fine but she said I had to stop the Effexor if I had stopped the AAPs. Danger Will Robinson! Her plan was a two-week taper from 75 to zero. It went okay. I had warm whooshes in my head, and couldn't walk steadily. But no misery, zaps, or pain. Then about 3 or 4 days later, I had a pain so bad in my abdomen that I went to the ER at 1am.

These attacks had started after a second major surgery, a month after that first Effexor discontinuation. It was assumed to be a complication. Now I wonder...anyway, the nurse must have thought I was a drug seeker, and by then my records said I was bipolar. I started blacking out and asked to lie down, but she told me to get a grip on myself. I wanted to put my head down to keep from fainting and she pushed me upright. I asked if I could lie on the floor because my vision was turning to black and white and snowy like an old TV, and she said if were to lie on the floor, no one would get me up. That proved to be false when I came to a few minutes later. I had a massive seizure and hit my head so hard that that there were 6 or 7 personnel standing around me as I lay on the floor. That's what I saw when I opened my eyes. I kept seizing while the men tried to drag me into a wheelchair, and lost consciousness again. I came to all twisted around and facing backwards in the chair. Heaven forbid they would use a gurney and lower it to the floor. (That turned out to be the last attack, and the pain was gone after the seizure. I didn't need any morphine that night.)

My BP was 65/45. They let me go in the morning and when I got my records, none of that was mentioned. I injured my neck and it still hurts 5 years later. I did go back the next day and ask for an exam. They said I was fine. The neck/should pain started the day after that and I could barely stay awake for two months. So, that was the 2nd time I went off Effexor. 

The third time was two years later. I was on Wellbutrin and Lamictal, and probably hypomanic because of it. But good hypomanic. Not irritable and not out of control. The problem was I went back to school and my memory was so bad that the teacher took me aside and told me I was the smartest student in the class, to where she felt like we were equals, but I was getting a D, and she wanted to know why. I looked up the side effects for Lamictal...doink.

In brief...I moved, had a new psychiatrist who specialized in ADHD. Need I say more? Ritalin was horrible for me, and I had high hopes for it--I was terrified on it. He added Adderall. ADDED it. Worse. Added Prozac and Ativan. Amnesia..I don''t even remember what happened until I ran out of Ativan at the end of 30 days and almost called an ambulance. I was hot, weak, and just felt like I might die if I fell asleep. I found 1/3 of a tablet in pocket of my purse and that fixed it. Doc decided i should try time release Ritalin pitches called Daytrana. Good bye paranoia, hello psychosis!

This might be hard to believe, but that doctor didn't return my call when I left a message about the problems I was having. So  I called the Effexor-taper doc as I was coming down from the Daytrana. I still didn't know that Effexor was not my friend. She tried it for the jittery anxiety of the post-Daytrana, and to cut the the chase, I was diagnosed with a type of seizure disorder. I also almost got arrested twice for being a noisy jerk. I grounded myself, meaning I decided not to go out in public anymore.

I quit all psych drugs for 6 months. I was more miserable than I thought a human could be. I always told the truth about my history and every doctor wanted to treat me for bipolar. By then I knew what akathisia was. Saphris caused it when I tried that. Topamax made me stupid and likely to cry in class, and I hadn't even heard the Stupamax jokes (or read the insert), so I wasn't looking for those side effects.  I gave up. I just endured the misery and it finally went away after a total of 1.5 years from when I stopped the Effexor because of the seizures.

I wasn't sad after that, but I was anhedonic. I found a doc who was horrified by this run-down, and carefully tried Wellbutrin, and let me have ten tiny-dose Ativan a month. That was pretty good but I saw the signs of mania coming in month 2. I got snappy, and then impulsive, so I kissed those drugs good bye about 6 months ago. I basically lie down as much as I can and never leave the house. A friend is using my car and wants to buy it.

And that is why I think Effexor is scary, and I still sort of trust WB.

I was a gainfully employed happy person before all that. The early Wellbutrin experience was over a marriage problem but other than that, I was in good shape. I should get the liver enzyme-gene test. I don't think it would be wise to do anymore in vivo testing!

Edited by Lurksalot
typos and clarity
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