Wellbutrin® (bupropion hydrochloride) is a prescription medication approved to treat depression in adults. However, it is sometimes prescribed for "off-label" uses, such as treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), treating seasonal affective disorder (SAD), and helping with smoking cessation.
In large clinical trials, Wellbutrin has been proven to help adults with depression. However, it is important to keep in mind that many antidepressants, including Wellbutrin, take several weeks to begin working. Sometimes, other people will notice an improvement in your depression symptoms before you do. Often, the physical symptoms of depression (such as pain or changes in sleep) will improve first, sometimes within the first few weeks of treatment. It can take several weeks before significant changes in mood occur.
Wellbutrin is part of a group of medications called norepinephrine and dopamine reuptake inhibitors, or NDRIs for short. NDRIs affect specific chemicals within the brain, known as norepinephrine and dopamine. When the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine become unbalanced, it can cause a variety of conditions, including depression and seasonal affective disorder. Wellbutrin helps block the reuptake of norepinephrine and dopamine so that more remains in the space between the brain's nerve cells.
(Click Wellbutrin Uses for a more in-depth look at Wellbutrin's indications, including information on how it works and how it can help relieve the symptoms of depression in adults.)