Available by prescription, Aplenzin is a drug licensed to treat depression in adults. This medication works by affecting certain chemicals in the brain, which can cause depression when they are unbalanced. This long-acting antidepressant comes in tablet form and is taken only once a day. Potential side effects may include insomnia, headaches, and nausea.
What Is Aplenzin?Aplenzin™ (bupropion hydrobromide) is a prescription medication approved for the treatment of depression. It is a long-acting, once-daily medication.
How Does Aplenzin Work?Aplenzin is a norepinephrine and dopamine reuptake inhibitor, or NDRI for short. NDRIs, such as Aplenzin, affect specific chemicals within the brain known as norepinephrine and dopamine. Norepinephrine and dopamine are two of several chemicals used to send messages from one nerve cell to another.
As a message travels down a nerve, it causes the end of the cell to release a neurotransmitter chemical such as norepinephrine or dopamine. The neurotransmitter enters the gap between the first nerve cell and the one next to it. When enough of the neurotransmitter reaches the second nerve cell, it activates receptors on the cell and the message continues on its way. The first cell then quickly absorbs any excess neurotransmitter that remains in the gap between cells; this is called "reuptake."
Normally, this process works without any problems. But when the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine become unbalanced, it can cause a variety of conditions, including depression. Aplenzin helps to block the reuptake of norepinephrine and dopamine so more remains in the space between the brain's nerve cells. This gives the chemicals a better chance of activating the receptors on the next nerve cell.
Currently, the only NDRI antidepressants approved for use are medications containing bupropion. Aplenzin is a once-daily, long-acting version of bupropion. Bupropion also comes in several other forms. For more information on the other forms of bupropion, see:
- Wellbutrin® (bupropion hydrochloride), a short-acting version
- Wellbutrin SR® (bupropion SR), a sustained-release version (taken twice a day)
- Budeprion SR® (a generic version of Wellbutrin SR®)
- Wellbutrin XL® or Forfivo™ XL (bupropion XL), which are long-acting, once-daily versions
- Budeprion XL® (a generic version of Wellbutrin XL)
- Zyban® (bupropion SR), a sustained-release version used for smoking cessation
- Buproban®, a generic version of Zyban.
Aplenzin contains bupropion hydrobromide; all the other bupropion products contain bupropion hydrochloride. This difference is unlikely to be significant in any meaningful way, at least in terms of effectiveness. Very preliminary evidence in mice suggests that bupropion hydrobromide might be less likely than bupropion hydrochloride to cause seizures.