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Wellbutrin And Alcohol: Can One Drink When Taking Bupropion?

Mixing Wellbutrin And Alcohol

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Can one drink alcohol while taking Wellbutrin? Bupropion is generally not recommended to be taken with any drink, because this combination can increase adverse reactions of both substances, and even be lethal for a patient. Find out what are the health risks of alcohol and Wellbutrin mix, and when it is safe to take a drink after taking NDRI antidepressants?

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Table of Contents

Can One Mix Wellbutrin And Alcohol Together?

Is it okay to drink while on Wellbutrin? Drinking on Wellbutrin is known to magnify the side effects associated with bupropion as well as adverse reactions of alcohol.
Taking Wellbutrin for depression and various mental health illnesses are known as common reasons for using this medication. Bupropion prescription is also commonly given to patients who want to quit smoking. Some patients even take Wellbutrin for weight loss.

No matter why Wellbutrin is taken, drinks should always be put aside for an individual’s safety and wellbeing.

Wellbutrin And Alcohol Side Effects

Whereas Wellbutrin drug interactions have been well-documented, the consequences of mixing Wellbutrin with alcohol are yet to be fully understood. How long does it take for Wellbutrin to start working? It may take a few weeks before the effects of bupropion become noticeable. However, it does not mean that alcohol-bupropion interactions will not occur if a drink of liquor is taken during this adjustment period.
Taking Wellbutrin with wine or other mild alcoholic drink can also lead to the following common side effects:

  • pain in muscles and joints
  • palpitations
  • nervousness and jumpiness
  • difficulty breathing
  • Itching and different allergic reactions

woman lying on couch feeling nervousness from wellbutrin with alcohol
Sometimes possible consequences of combining Wellbutrin and alcohol can lead to severe adverse reactions that are explained below.

Epileptic Seizures

Having Wellbutrin XL and alcohol in the body at the same time increases a person’s risk for seizures. Since bupropion is designed to alter the biochemical makeup and impulses in the brain, it is generally not recommended to be mixed with any substance or medication that alters or affects the mind as well. This side effect of taking alcohol and Wellbutrin intensifies further among those who have a history of depression or mental illness.
Prim Care Companion J Clin Psychiatry reports about a man who abused alcohol and bupropion, and had a higher risk for seizure as a result of this mix. Seizures can also be a sign that one has reached Wellbutrin overdose amount.

Confusion and Hallucinations

Getting Wellbutrin XL dosage that is more than the prescribed may alter a person’s mental state. And Wellbutrin and alcohol combination may intensify hallucinations and worsen confusion. Both conditions can quickly escalate to a self-accident, injury, and even death. It is imperative that a person who takes bupropion refrains from driving, operating machinery, or performing any other activity that may endanger his own life and limb or those of others.

Aggressive Behaviour

A case published in the International Journal of Risk and Safety in Medicine tells about a patient who was prescribed with bupropion, which he accidentally mixed with liquor. This combination of Wellbutrin and alcohol caused an unexpected aggressive behavior, what wasn’t known in him before, and made the subject assault his wife. The aggressive behavior in him was later explained as a result of bupropion-alcohol interaction.

Aggressive angry man after intake of alcohol and wellbutrin attacking woman

Death

In some cases, the combination of bupropion and alcohol has proven to be lethal. Deaths due to this deadly concoction may result from substance interaction and subsequent overdose. Death may also be the consequence of the high intensity of side effects experienced, including violent seizures, confusion, and hallucinations.

What To Do If Alcohol And Wellbutrin Have Been Mixed?

In cases where alcohol and Wellbutrin have already been mistakenly or deliberately mixed, follow the step-by-step guide below to help ensure safety once the side effects of bupropion and alcohol interaction kick in.

Stay Calm

Try to assess the situation. Think about:

  • How many drinks and Wellbutrin one have been taken?
  • How much time has passed since the intake?
  • Assess how the affected person feels at the moment?
  • Evaluate current location and think about how far it is from home or, where the nearest hospital is located?
  • Think about getting help from someone a patient can trust in this situation.
  • Make sure to have emergency numbers on speed dial.

Choose The Safest Location

Expect that alcohol and Wellbutrin are already undergoing interaction inside the affected person’s system, and that side effects will begin to manifest soon. So, as much as possible, patients should stay where they are. If an affected person is close to home, they can be moved there, but do not drive personally. If severe side effects of alcohol and Wellbutrin appeared, a patient should be taken to a hospital.

If signs of aggression appeared, it is better to call the emergency and not trying to bring a person in this condition to the hospital personally.

Watch Out For Symptoms

Once symptoms set in pay attention to the following:

  • Seizures which may be accompanied by uncontrollable shaking and tremors
  • Chest pain
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Hallucinations
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing

These symptoms indicate that immediate professional treatment is required.

When Is It Safe To Drink Again?

Bupropion formulations have a half-life of up to 37 hours. That means a single dose taken with Wellbutrin prescription can stay in the body for up to more than three days. The quantity, frequency, and length of period since taking Wellbutrin all affect how long the body can be completely cleared of the drug. When bupropion had left patient’s body is considered safe to have a drink of alcohol.
Woman drinking alcohol after bupropion
It is essential to note that people who are undergoing withdrawal from sedatives or alcohol are contraindicated to take bupropion.
While reports indicate that some people can tolerate combining alcohol with Wellbutrin, it must be noted that consequences can be random and unpredictable.

Since bupropion generally lowers an individual’s threshold for alcohol tolerance, extreme caution must be observed when mixing bupropion with alcohol.

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Sources
  1. Vera Ramcharitar, Barry Levine, Bruce A. Goldberger, Yale H Caplan, Bupropion and alcohol fatal intoxication: Case report, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/21703825_Bupropion_and_alcohol_fatal_intoxication_Case_report
  2. Stanley Hill, Harminder Sikand, Jonathan Lee, A Case Report of Seizure Induced by Bupropion Nasal Insufflation, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1894833/
  3. Chandler P, Herxheimer A., Unexpected aggressive behaviour: interaction of bupropion and alcohol, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22020393
Nena Messina

About Author

Nena Messina, Ph.D.

Nena Messina is a specialist in drug-related domestic violence. She devoted her life to the study of the connection between crime, mental health, and substance abuse. Apart from her work as management at addiction center, Nena regularly takes part in the educational program as a lecturer.

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