Drinking, Sobriety, & Wellbutrin (Bupropion) - SoberRecovery : Alcoholism Drug Addiction Help and Information
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Old 06-01-2011, 12:52 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Drinking, Sobriety, & Wellbutrin (Bupropion)


Greetings everyone.

I don't know if this topic has been raised before, but I have a stern word of caution to anyone taking Wellbutrin and drinking, OR quitting drinking.

I've been taking Wellbutrin SR for years without incident. Never experienced any noticeable side effects, even while drinking heavily, or remaining sober for extended periods. However that all changed last saturday night.

I was out shopping and I felt okay, more or less. It's true I was exhausted, emotionally and physically, and under enormous stress. But that's really nothing new to me, and as I said, I felt reasonably well and alert. Not dizzy or delirious or anything like that.

Well, one second I was placing groceries in my cart and the next I was waking up in a daze on the store floor, with paramedics hunched over me. I had no idea what had happened, but apparently I'd collapsed and gone into a seizure. I was rushed to the ER, where they tested my blood sugar, gave me an ECG etc. etc, but could find no obvious cause for the blackout and seizure.

At the time, I was stone cold sober. No booze or illicit drugs whatsoever in my system. In fact, I hadn't had so much as 1 beer in the previous 5 or 6 days. Really the only 2 substances in my bloodstream were caffeine and Wellbutrin... which I suspect is precisely why I collapsed and had a seizure.

I've read warnings about how quitting drinking abruptly while taking Wellbutrin substantially increases ones risk of seizure, but I didn't think too much about it, since it's never before caused any problems for me, and I've never had a seizure for any reason.

I have no definitive medical proof to back up my suspicions, and for all I know at this point, I have a serious undiagnosed heart condition. But the more info I gather online, the more inclined I am to believe it was primarily the combination of Wellbutrin and sudden sobriety which incurred the blackout and seizure. Sure, it might have been a combination of that plus my lack of sleep and nutrition, plus caffeine, plus extreme stress... but I'll wager if we took Wellbutrin out the the equation completely, this never would have happened.

So I'm writing this warning in the hope it will help others avoid such a frightening and potentially life threatening experience. Just imagine how much worse this might have been had I been driving, or climbing stairs at the time!

If you're in my position, consult your physician(s) immediately and be completely honest about your alcohol intake and/or abstinence. If you've been a regular or heavy drinker (like me) for some time, quitting cold turkey while taking Wellbutrin might indeed put you at a very high risk for seizure, which will subsequently expose you and others to whatever dangers may accompany a sudden loss of consciousness.

Stay safe and best wishes to all.
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Old 06-01-2011, 03:59 PM   #2 (permalink)
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God, what a terrifying experience. What did your doctor think? Are you certain nothing else is wrong?
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Old 06-01-2011, 05:01 PM   #3 (permalink)
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God, what a terrifying experience. What did your doctor think? Are you certain nothing else is wrong?
Hi NYCDoglvr. I don't have a primary care physician if that's what you mean. I can only go by what I was told by the ER doctor, who wants me to see a cardiologist. Unfortunately that isn't in my budget at this time. So no, I'm not certain about anything. All I can do is hope for the best and take what little comfort there is in knowing my ECG and blood tests revealed nothing abnormal. Therefore, in all probability Wellbutrin is the main culprit.

If this is the end for me so be it. I've made my peace with God. But I doubt I'll die tonight, because what are the odds of me dying on my birthday?

Anyway, I'm just glad I didn't pee or poop my pants when I had the seizure. It was embarrassing enough to be unconscious on the floor of the frozen foods aisle... surrounded by a crowd of spectators... lol
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Old 06-01-2011, 05:02 PM   #4 (permalink)
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to SR, Wayward.

Thank you for posting the information. I do hope that you are feeling better. Take care.
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Old 06-02-2011, 08:07 PM   #5 (permalink)
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It is important to pay attention to the meds warnings and by sharing you have made it more real. Thank you. I hope you are better, real soon.
For me Wellbutrin and other meds have been very beneficial. I can't drink on any of them and I wouldn't want to go back to being depressed. So I say, Right ON!
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Old 06-03-2011, 10:34 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Being on a few psychiatric med's myself, I know of having blackouts, unexplained behavior and strange emotional states all without being under the influence of street drugs of booze. It is the down side of medication that on average helps me exceedingly well otherwise.

I'm caught in bind, I'm taking med's that can and have caused me sever unusual distress, yet without them I have gone absolutely bonkers clean and sober and psych med free.

Why this drama, simply, I cooked my noodle on meth...in a bad way. So I deal with it as best as I can. And you know I feel lucky to be alive no matter what problems come up with the meds, because I know the hell it was trying to recover without them. Man I almost lost it then, grateful to be finding it as not too bad overall, meds and whatnot.
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Old 12-17-2015, 08:54 AM   #7 (permalink)
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So, is it safe to assume if you drink 3 or more drinks per day that you should continue drinking if your DR puts you on Wellbutrin??????
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Old 12-17-2015, 05:54 PM   #8 (permalink)
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It may have the abrupt stop of the alcohol that contributed to the seizure too as detoxing from alcohol can cause seizures.

Anyhow: glad you are ok. I had a similar experience of collapsing while running at s park and they thought I had a seizure ... Took me to ER where I swear to god those folks there were angels : so sweet, kind, caring, competent.. Could not thank them enough... I started crying ; not because I was in pain but because I was so touched; I thought to myself (and maybe said it) 'I don't deserve this'.
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Old 12-17-2015, 06:15 PM   #9 (permalink)
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So, is it safe to assume if you drink 3 or more drinks per day that you should continue drinking if your DR puts you on Wellbutrin??????
Hi and welcome Jan,

I think the best advice is to be honest with your Dr. about how much you drink before he or she writes you a script..

If you're drinking and you have a script for wellbutrin I would be going back to your prescribing Dr post haste.

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Old 12-18-2015, 09:14 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Welcome to SR Jan
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