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Bupropion Dosage: How Much Wellbutrin Can Be Taken Daily?

Wellbutrin pills spilled from the bottle

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Wellbutrin, also known as bupropion hydrochloride, is an aminoketone antidepressant. One can use bupropion for anxiety, or to treat health disorders such as depression, neuropathic pain, and seasonal affective disorder. It comes in sustained release (SR), immediate release and extended release (XL) tablets. Wellbutrin dosage recommended for pediatric and adult patients is often different and depends not only on the formulation being used but also on patient’s health conditions.

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Table of Contents

Bupropion Dosage Information For Adult Patients

The appropriate Wellbutrin dosing schedule for adults vary according to the formulation. The uses and side effects of bupropion formulations are different, so they are not interchangeable, and a patient must use the exact dosage specified to the type that is prescribed by the physician.

female person taking wellbutrin orally

Oral Wellbutrin IR Dosage for Adults

Bupropion dosage information below applies to patients using Wellbutrin immediate-release. In adults, it is most commonly used to treat Major depressive disorder.

Treatment ForInitial DoseDose FrequencyDosage Increases by titration (if necessary)Maximum Dose
Major Depressive Disorder100mgTwice a dayThrice a day (after the first three days)150mg (single dose), 450mg per day.

Oral Wellbutrin XL Dosage For Adults

The dosage information for patients using extended-release tablets varies according to the specific brand of bupropion that is prescribed. There are three major ones: Wellbutrin XL (bupropion hydrochloride), Aplenzin (bupropion hydrobromide) and Forfivo XL. The schedule for Major depressive disorder treatment is as follows:

BrandInitial DoseDose FrequencyDosage Increases by titrationMaximum Daily Dose
Wellbutrin XL150mgOnce a day300mg (after the fourth day, and based on patient response)450mg
Aplenzin174mgOnce a day348mg (after the fourth day, and based on patient response)

522mg (after several weeks of inadequate response from the patient)

522mg
Forfivo XLNot recommended for initial treatment due to a fixed high dosageOnce a day450mg (only to be used at least two weeks after the patient has been receiving another bupropion formulation of 300mg per day)450mg

The schedule for the prevention of seasonal major depressive disorder associated with the Seasonal affective disorder is as follows:

BrandInitial DoseDose FrequencyDosage Increases by titrationMaximum Daily Dose
Wellbutrin XL150mgOnce a day300mg (after 7 days)450mg
Aplenzin174mgOnce a day348mg (after 7 days)522mg

The schedule for the treatment of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder is as follows:

BrandInitial DoseDose FrequencyDosage Increases by titrationMaximum Daily Dose
Wellbutrin XL150mgOnce a day in the morning300mg between the second week and the fourth week450mg daily

Oral Wellbutrin SR Dosage For Adults

There are two brands of bupropion that offer sustained-release tablets for the treatment of a couple of the aforementioned health disorders. The first is Wellbutrin SR, and the other is Zyban. Zyban and Wellbutrin SR doses are as follows:

BrandTreatment ForInitial DoseDose FrequencyDosage Increases by titrationMaximum Daily Dose
Wellbutrin SRMajor Depression Disorder150mgOnce a day in the morning150mg (twice a day) after 4 days

200mg (twice a day) after two weeks if needed

400mg
ZybanTo aid in tobacco cessation150mgOnce a day150mg twice a day after the first three days300mg
Wellbutrin SRAttention-deficit hyperactivity disorder150mgOnce a day300mg/day after two weeks300mg
Wellbutrin SRNeuropathic pain150mgOnce a day300mg300mg

Don’t increase the dose without permission from a physician. If the daily dose of bupropion was raised, one should be closely monitored, because new side effects may come into play. Wellbutrin and weight loss, for example, is a fairly common occurrence among users. Some patients also experienced hair loss caused by Wellbutrin.
Another point to note is when one tries stopping Wellbutrin dosages it is better to taper off gradually rather than stopping bupropion cold turkey.

Woman holding wellbutrin pill and glass of water

Wellbutrin Dosage Information For Pediatric Patients

Taking bupropion mechanism of action into consideration, pediatric patients need special dosing requirements. Immediate-release tablets and sustained release tablets are the common options for this group. These tablets are used not only to treat MDD in adolescents, and they are also used as an alternative medicine for Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

The schedule for Wellbutrin immediate-release tablets are as follows:

Treatment ForInitial Dose (suggested)Dosing FrequencyDosage IncreasesMaximum Daily Dose
Major Depressive Disorder1.4mg per kilogram of weightDaily6mg per kilogram of weight250mg to 300mg in total per day.
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder1.4 to 3mg per kilogram of weightDaily6mg per kilogram of weight150mg to 300mg in total per day (depending on age and weight)

The schedule for sustained-release tablets, Wellbutrin SR and Zyban, are as follows:

BrandTreatment ForInitial Dose (suggested based on trial)Dose FrequencyDosage Increases by titrationMaximum Daily Dose
Wellbutrin SRMajor Depressive Disorder2mg per kilogram of weight (maximum 100mg in total)Once a day3mg per kilogram in the morning and another 2mg per kilogram in the evening (after a few days)

3mg per kilogram twice a day (after a few weeks)

6mg per kilogram of body weight daily
Wellbutrin SRAttention-deficit Hyperactivity Disorder1.4 to 3mg per kilogram of body weightOnce a day6mg per kilogram of body weight6mg/kg or 150-300mg in total (depending on age and weight)
ZybanTo aid in tobacco cessation150mgOnce a day150mg twice a day after the first three days till the end of the treatment period300mg

Safety and efficacy of use have not been established for children aged 5 years or younger, so it is advised that patients that are not up to 6 years of age should not be exposed to any of these drugs. Trials have been conducted successfully with children aged between 6 to 12 years old, even though safety and efficacy are not fully established with them yet either. It is also important to note that Wellbutrin is not a controlled substance, so the government does not regulate this issue.

What If Wellbutrin Dose Is Missed?

If this happens, the patient must take the dose as soon as possible. If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and take the next dose as appropriate. Do not attempt to take extra doses to make up for the missed one. Also, using Wellbutrin for recreational use is highly inadvisable.

Recreational use of the drug is not safe, as well as entails legal liabilities.

Scheduling wellbutrin doses

What Is The Lethal Dose Of Wellbutrin?

Wellbutrin LD-50 for humans is unknown, but animal studies indicate LD-50 at 2.4363, mol/kg in rats.


Can one overdose on Wellbutrin? It is quite possible. The maximum recommended limit for any dose of Wellbutrin is 450 mg. Patients that took more have been known to overdose on 600mg and 800mg, but in fact, any dose that is higher than the recommended can be enough to trigger an overdose and lead to lethal circumstances. The half-life of Wellbutrin falls within 21 (±9) hours. Patients should keep this period in their mind not to make the concentration of Wellbutrin in their system dangerous.
Additionally, taking other substances with the drug can increase the effects on the body, for instance, taking bupropion and alcohol simultaneously.

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View Sources
  1. Bupropion: MedlinePlus Drug Information, https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a695033.html
  2. WELLBUTRIN XL®, Daily Dosing, https://www.wellbutrinxl.com/hcp/dosing
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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