Wellbutrin is the brand name of a drug called bupropion hydrochloride. Some people may experience new or worsening anxiety while taking Wellbutrin.

If anxiety does occur as a side effect of Wellbutrin, it is usually at its worst shortly after a person begins taking the drug or in the period following dose increases.

This article describes what Wellbutrin is and the conditions it treats. We also outline the potential side effects of Wellbutrin and list some alternative antidepressant medications.

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Wellbutrin is the brand name of an antidepressant drug called bupropion hydrochloride. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have approved Wellbutrin as a treatment for major depressive disorder.

The FDA have approved other forms of bupropion as a treatment for seasonal affective disorder, as well as an aid to quit smoking under the brand name Zyban.

Bupropion also has a number of off-label uses, including treatment of:

According to the FDA, experts do not yet understand how bupropion works to treat depression. The drug appears to help increase levels of the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain.

The therapeutic effects of Wellbutrin typically appear after around 2 weeks of regular use, although they may occur later for some people.

According to the FDA, Wellbutrin can cause anxiety-related side effects in some people. These side effects may include:

Anxiety-related side effects may be at their worst shortly after a person begins treatment or in the period following dose increases. Around 2% of people who experience such symptoms stop taking the drug as a result.

Wellbutrin may not be suitable for people who experience depression alongside high levels of anxiety. A person should contact their doctor to establish which antidepressant medication would be best for them.

Wellbutrin may cause other side effects besides anxiety. A 2020 review notes that the following side effects may occur in more than 10% of people who take the drug:

Less commonly, Wellbutrin may cause serious adverse effects, such as worsening suicidal ideation and an increased risk of seizures. It may also increase stress on the liver in people with preexisting liver disease.

People should contact their doctor before taking Wellbutrin if they have a medical history of any of the following:

  • suicidal ideation or suicide attempts
  • seizures
  • liver disease or other liver problems

Anyone who experiences side effects while taking Wellbutrin should consult their doctor. In some cases, certain side effects may go away with time. Nonetheless, people should discuss the matter with a healthcare professional.

If a person experiences severe or persistent side effects, their doctor may recommend adjusting the dosage or switching to an alternative medication. A person should not adjust their medication dose or stop taking their medication unless their doctor tells them it is safe to do so.

Wellbutrin has the potential to interact with other medications or supplements a person may be taking. As such, a person should talk with their doctor before adding any dietary or herbal supplements to their treatment regimen.

Wellbutrin may not be a suitable option for everyone. We outline some alternative antidepressant medications below.


Lexapro is the brand name of the antidepressant drug escitalopram. Doctors may prescribe Lexapro for the treatment of depression, anxiety, such as generalized anxiety disorder, or a combination of both.

Lexapro is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) and may cause side effects, including:

  • suicidal ideation or suicide attempts
  • irritation or agitation
  • drowsiness or confusion
  • difficulty sleeping
  • headache
  • diarrhea
  • weight changes
  • muscle tremors
  • changes in taste
  • sexual difficulties, such as erectile dysfunction or low libido

SSRIs may also cause withdrawal symptoms, often called antidepressant discontinuation syndrome, as a person tries to come off them.

Abruptly stopping the medication increases the risk of withdrawal symptoms. To reduce this risk, a person’s doctor will slowly decrease the dosage over time.


Prozac is the brand name of the SSRI fluoxetine. Doctors may prescribe Prozac for a range of mental health conditions, including, but not limited to:

As an SSRI, Prozac may produce side effects similar to those caused by Lexapro. People who cannot tolerate these side effects should consult their doctor about other treatment options.

Wellbutrin is a brand name of the antidepressant drug bupropion hydrochloride. Doctors may prescribe Wellbutrin as an alternative to other antidepressants, including SSRIs.

Wellbutrin can cause anxiety in some people, especially when they first start taking the drug or in the period after dose increases.

In some cases, doctors may recommend lowering the dosage to help control side effects. However, a person should not adjust their medication dosage without their doctor’s prior consent.

People who experience severe or persistent side effects while taking Wellbutrin should contact their doctor. The doctor will work closely with the person to find a suitable alternative.