A Clinical Perspective on Bupropion Side Effects Sexually

Last Updated: May 17, 2024

Dr. Norman Chazin Reviewed by Dr. Norman Chazin
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Understanding the nuances of antidepressant side effects is crucial to improving its implications and applications, especially when it comes to the sensitive topic of sexual health.

Bupropion, while recognized for its efficacy in addressing depressive symptoms, has also been associated with potential effects on sexual function. As depression is often linked to a decrease in sex drive, Bupropion is a valuable option for those seeking relief from emotional distress and a potential boost in libido.

Recognizing the intricate interplay between mental health and libido, this article discusses Bupropion side effects sexually and their implications.

Does Wellbutrin Have Sexual Side Effects?

When considering medications like Wellbutrin (Bupropion), the term “side effects” often conjures thoughts of adverse outcomes.

Bupropion side effects sexually don’t mean adverse effects; rather, it’s essential to recognize that side effects encompass potential drawbacks and positive impacts that a medication may have on the body. In the case of Wellbutrin, its unique pharmacological profile introduces a different dimension to the concept of side effects, particularly concerning sexual health.

Positive Sexual Side Effects of Wellbutrin

  • Increased libido: Some individuals may experience heightened sexual desire as a positive side effect of Wellbutrin.
  • Improved sexual function: Wellbutrin has been reported to enhance sexual satisfaction and performance for certain users.
  • Improved sexual dysfunction symptoms: Bupropion in premenopausal women may be effective in improving sexual dysfunction symptoms, leading to enhanced sexual satisfaction.

While these positive Bupropion side effects sexually are beneficial outcomes for those experiencing depression-related decreases in libido, it’s crucial to note that individual responses to medication can vary.

How Bupropion Affects Sexual Drive?

Understanding the impact of Bupropion on sexual drive requires a closer look at its unique mechanism of action, setting it apart from selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) like fluoxetine (Prozac) and sertraline (Zoloft).

While SSRIs primarily influence serotonin levels by inhibiting its reuptake in the brain, Bupropion operates as a norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitor (NDRI). This mechanism leads to an increase in the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine, neurotransmitters pivotal in activating the brain’s pleasure centers.

Key mechanisms of Bupropion side effects sexually:

  • Dopaminergic enhancement: Bupropion’s impact on dopamine levels is significant. By preventing the reabsorption of dopamine, it fosters an environment where this neurotransmitter, associated with pleasure and reward, remains more available in the brain.
  • Norepinephrine elevation: Bupropion also influences norepinephrine levels, contributing to its overall effect on mood regulation and pleasure response.

Wellbutrin Sexual Side Effects in Men

The question of whether Bupropion has a positive or negative influence on sex drive in men is a persistent one.

While other types of antidepressants, like the SSRI-class (Zoloft, Prozac), have adverse effects on male sexual performance and arousal, available data on Bupropion side effects sexually on males is still contradictory. Several case studies report positive and negative impacts on male libido while taking Wellbutrin.

Positive effects of Bupropion in men

  • Increase in sexual urges
  • Increase in sexual ideation

Negative effects of Bupropion in men

  • Decrease in sexual arousal
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Difficulty maintaining an erection

One study reported male rats injected with 7.5 and 15 mg of Wellbutrin didn’t have difficulties in maintaining an erection or in reaching climax when stimulated. The same study also found that there was no notable increase in sex drive among those subjects who received the higher dose of Bupropion.

However, prolonged usage of the drug caused Bupropion side effects sexually as the drug-induced effect on the ejaculatory response of certain rats, meaning reaching climax was difficult, but this effect was short-term.

Wellbutrin Sexual Side Effects in Women

One study found that women who took SSRI-based antidepressants were 82% more likely to experience some type of sexual dysfunction, such as:

  • Reduced arousal
  • Loss of libido
  • Difficulty climaxing

However, the potential sexual side effects of Wellbutrin in women can range from mild to non-existent, according to several studies. Only 2% of women reported these symptoms while taking Bupropion.

Yet, one interesting finding from the same study found that women who didn’t treat their depression experienced the most sexual dysfunction. The study also noted that women who took any type of antidepressant were more likely to experience a sign of an increase in sex drive rather than women who did not take any medication.

Positive Bupropion side effects sexually in women

  • Efficacy in alleviating sexual dysfunction symptoms in premenopausal women
  • Increased libido
  • Improved sex drive

Negative effects of Bupropion in women

  • This drug passes into breast milk and may cause side effects in a child

Can Bupropion be Prescribed for Sexual Dysfunctions?

Bupropion is not officially approved for treating sexual dysfunctions unrelated to depression; some healthcare providers may consider it off-label for this purpose.

It is important to note that if a patient hasn’t been diagnosed with depression, their medical doctor may not typically prescribe Bupropion for sexual dysfunction. In such cases, alternative treatments addressing the specific underlying causes of the sexual issues may be explored.

Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD)

Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder is a medical disorder characterized by a persistently low interest in sexual activity. Due to Bupropion side effects sexually, this drug has been explored as a potential option for premenopausal and postmenopausal women experiencing HSDD.

Wellbutrin for HSDD should be started with 150 mg/day, and based on the guidance of a physician. Improvement of sexual function is expected to be notable in about two months.

Antidepressant-Induced Sexual Dysfunction

As an antidepressant with a lower propensity for causing sexual side effects, Wellbutrin can be considered for individuals seeking treatment for depression without exacerbating existing sexual dysfunction or introducing new issues such as decreased libido, erectile dysfunction, or anorgasmia.

What to Do in the Case of Bupropion Overdose?

Even though Bupropion side effects sexually are beneficial, an overdose of Bupropion, whether accidental or intentional, requires prompt attention to mitigate potential risks. If you suspect a Bupropion overdose, here are critical steps to take:

  • Call your local emergency number immediately or visit the nearest emergency room.
  • Share details about the suspected overdose, including the quantity of Bupropion ingested.
  • Inducing vomiting is not recommended for Bupropion overdose.
  • Share details about any other medications or substances taken.

The potential for Wellbutrin addiction and abuse is a concern, particularly with prolonged usage. If you or any relative, friend or acquaintance show signs of substance abuse, it is advisable to seek assistance from a rehabilitation facility promptly.

People Also Ask

Does Wellbutrin affect sex drive?

Bupropion side effects sexually may include increased sex drive and improved sexual performance, which may impact sexual life positively. However, individual responses may vary.

What are Wellbutrin hypersexuality side effects?

Hypersexuality, characterized by an increased libido, engaging in sexual activities more frequently, or preoccupation with sexual thoughts, is a less common but documented side effect of Wellbutrin. Wellbutrin primarily acts on the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and dopamine. The increase in dopamine levels is thought to contribute to the hypersexuality side effects observed with Wellbutrin.

Does Wellbutrin cause erectile dysfunction?

While many antidepressants, especially selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are associated with sexual and erectile dysfunction, Wellbutrin is less associated with these issues. The primary reason is that Wellbutrin increases the level of dopamine, which in turn might improve sexual function.

Does wellbutrin make you hornier ?

Wellbutrin (bupropion) can increase libido in most people. This effect is due to its mechanism of action that works on dopamine and norepinephrine levels in the brain. Dopamine is a key component of the brain’s reward system and sexual arousal, which explains why some people may report that they feel ‘hornier’ while taking Wellbutrin.

Does Wellbutrin make you last longer in bed?

There’s no strong evidence that Wellbutrin directly helps people last longer in bed; however, it’s less likely to cause sexual problems than other antidepressants. Moreover, its positive effects on libido, mood, and energy might help some people to experience improved sexual performance.

Does Bupropion increase testosterone?

Research suggests that Bupropion, in some studies, has shown potential to increase testosterone levels, but results are inconclusive, and individual responses may vary. Consult a healthcare professional for personalized guidance.

Why does bupropion make me feel so good?

Bupropion may positively impact mood by increasing dopamine and norepinephrine levels in the brain. Its unique mechanism contributes to a sense of well-being for some individuals.

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Page Sources

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Published on: July 5th, 2019

Updated on: May 17th, 2024

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