Wellbutrin XL and Suicide

There appears to be an increased risk of suicidal behavior in children and teenagers who take antidepressants. In clinical studies involving Wellbutrin XL and suicide, people with bipolar disorder or who had attempted suicide appeared to be at a higher risk. However, because depression itself can cause suicidal behavior, it is difficult to know for sure whether there is a link between Wellbutrin XL and suicide.

An Overview of Wellbutrin XL and Suicide

Wellbutrin XL® (bupropion XL) is a prescription medication used for the treatment of depression and seasonal affective disorder in adults. As with all antidepressants, there may be an increased risk of suicidal behavior when taking Wellbutrin XL.

The FDA's Warning on Wellbutrin XL and Suicide

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a special warning about the risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior with antidepressant use in children and teenagers. The warning was issued in response to concerns that antidepressants seemed to increase the risk of suicidal behavior in children and teenagers in clinical studies.
Although Wellbutrin XL is not approved for use in children and teenagers, it may be used in an off-label fashion for these age groups.

Does Wellbutrin XL Cause Suicide?

In clinical studies, it did appear that there was a slightly increased risk of suicidal behavior in children and teenagers who took antidepressants, including Wellbutrin XL. In one study, about 4 percent of children and teens taking an antidepressant had suicidal thoughts or behavior, compared to 2 percent who were not taking an antidepressant. This study looked at all suicidal behavior, including suicides, attempted suicides, and thoughts about committing suicide. It is important to note that no one in the study actually committed suicide.
It is difficult to know for sure if antidepressants cause suicidal behavior. To make matters more confusing, depression itself can cause suicidal behavior. The bottom line is that you should report any signs of suicidal behavior to your healthcare professional, whether you are taking an antidepressant or not.
Certain people seem to be at a higher risk for suicidal behavior while taking antidepressants. This includes people with bipolar disorder (or a family history of the condition) and people who have attempted suicide (or who have a family history of suicide attempts).
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Wellbutrin XL Drug Information

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