Wellbutrin SR

Wellbutrin SR, a medication that is available by prescription, is commonly used to treat depression. As a norepinephrine and dopamine reuptake inhibitor, the medication works by blocking the reuptake of norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain. Conditions you should let your healthcare provider know about before taking Wellbutrin SR are kidney disease, epilepsy, and any allergies. Side effects include insomnia, dizziness, and nausea.

What Is Wellbutrin SR?

Wellbutrin SR® (bupropion SR) is a prescription medicine used for the treatment of depression (also known as major depression or clinical depression). It is a sustained-release (long-acting) version of Wellbutrin® (bupropion hydrochloride).
(Click Wellbutrin SR Uses for more information, including possible off-label uses.)

Who Makes It?

Wellbutrin SR is manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline. Generic versions are made by several manufacturers.

How Does Wellbutrin SR Work?

Wellbutrin SR is a norepinephrine and dopamine reuptake inhibitor, or NDRI for short. NDRIs affect specific chemicals within the brain known as norepinephrine and dopamine. These 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 norepinephrine or dopamine. The chemical then enters the gap between the first nerve cell and the one next to it. When enough norepinephrine or dopamine 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 norepinephrine or dopamine that remains in the gap between the cells. This is called "reuptake."
Normally, this process works without any problems. However, when the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine become unbalanced, it can cause a variety of conditions, including depression and seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Wellbutrin SR helps to block the reuptake of norepinephrine and dopamine so that 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. Wellbutrin SR is a sustained-release version of bupropion, usually taken twice a day. Bupropion also comes in several other forms, including:
  • Wellbutrin® (bupropion hydrochloride), a short-acting version, taken three or four times a day


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