Bupropion is a type of antidepressant medication. People should not take alcohol and bupropion together as it can intensify the side effects of the drug and lead to serious complications.

Doctors usually use bupropion for the treatment of depression. Sometimes, doctors prescribe it for seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and to help stop smoking.

Some brand names of drugs containing bupropion include Wellbutrin, Aplenzin, and Zyban. Bupropion is available as a tablet.

A person taking bupropion should not mix it with alcohol. Drinking alcohol may increase the risk of severe side effects from bupropion and make the medication ineffective.

This article examines the safety of mixing alcohol and bupropion. It also discusses how it works, its side effects and interactions, and when to seek help.

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People taking bupropion should avoid or minimize alcohol consumption as it may worsen the side effects of the drug.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) does not recommend drinking alcohol while taking antidepressants, as it could make the medication less effective. NAMI also states the consequences of combining the two could be fatal.

Combining alcohol with bupropion may intensify the following side effects:

Excessive alcohol intake while taking bupropion may increase a person’s risk of seizures. Some people also report having a lower alcohol tolerance while taking the medication.

NAMI states that individuals who consume alcohol with antidepressants may experience the following:

  • drowsiness
  • a lack of alertness
  • a lack of coordination
  • increased depression
  • suicidal thoughts and actions

NAMI also warns that it could also be fatal.

People who take alcohol with a type of antidepressant called monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) may experience dangerously high blood pressure.

Suicide prevention

If you know someone at immediate risk of self-harm, suicide, or hurting another person:

  • Ask the tough question: “Are you considering suicide?”
  • Listen to the person without judgment.
  • Call 911 or the local emergency number, or text TALK to 741741 to communicate with a trained crisis counselor.
  • Stay with the person until professional help arrives.
  • Try to remove any weapons, medications, or other potentially harmful objects if it’s safe to do so.

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, a prevention hotline can help. The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is available 24 hours a day at 988. During a crisis, people who are hard of hearing can use their preferred relay service or dial 711 then 988.

Find more links and local resources.

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Bupropion belongs to a class of medications called antidepressants. All antidepressants work by increasing levels of certain chemicals in the brain.

Bupropion helps to treat depression, SAD, and quitting smoking. Unlike many other antidepressants, bupropion is a norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitor (NDRI).

NDRIs boost dopamine and norepinephrine levels by stopping the brain from reabsorbing them.

Dopamine and norepinephrine are naturally occurring chemicals within the brain. A person with depression may have low levels of these chemicals. When they take bupropion or other NDRIs, their chemical levels may rebalance, lessening depression symptoms.

It may take a few weeks before bupropion makes a notable difference to a person’s symptoms.

Alternatively, a person may receive an antidepressant known as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), which also treats depression. However, these drugs raise serotonin levels, another chemical in the brain, rather than dopamine and norepinephrine.

In addition to alcohol, bupropion may negatively interact with various other medications.

People should always discuss any current medications with a healthcare professional before taking bupropion. Current medications include any vitamins, supplements, and herbal remedies they may take or plan to take.

A person should not take the following medications alongside bupropion as it increases the risk of seizures:

  • other antidepressants for depression and other mental health-related conditions
  • antipsychotics for psychotic symptoms
  • theophylline for asthma
  • isoniazid for tuberculosis
  • tramadol, a strong pain reliever
  • hypoglycemic agents for diabetes
  • stimulants for various medical conditions
  • steroids for several medical conditions
  • antibiotics for many health conditions

Additionally, people should not take bupropion if they have had MAOIs within the last 2 weeks. If someone takes bupropion and MAOIs, they may experience high blood pressure levels, leading to further health complications.

Examples of MAOIs include:

  • phenelzine (Nardil)
  • tranylcypromine (Parnate)
  • isocarboxazid (Marplan)
  • selegiline (Emsam)

A person should contact a doctor if they think they may have depression. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), common signs of depression can include:

  • feeling persistently sad, anxious, or empty
  • feeling hopeless
  • feeling pessimistic
  • irritability, frustration, and restlessness
  • feeling guilty, worthless, or helpless
  • loss of interest in usual activities
  • lack of energy
  • fatigue
  • concentration and memory difficulties
  • difficulties with making decisions
  • sleep difficulties or disturbances
  • weight loss
  • change in appetite
  • aches and pains
  • headaches
  • digestive issues

A person may also experience thoughts about suicide or self-harm. If this occurs, they should seek immediate help from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Learn more about the signs of depression.

Bupropion is a type of antidepressant. Doctors usually prescribe it for the treatment of depression, although they may also recommend it for individuals with SAD or to help a person stop smoking.

A person should not take bupropion and alcohol together. This is because alcohol can intensify the possible side effects associated with bupropion. It can also increase the risk of seizures, and the consequences can sometimes be fatal.

A variety of medications may also interact negatively with bupropion. People should avoid taking these medications together.

Individuals should contact a doctor if they think they may have depression and get immediate help if they have suicidal thoughts.