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What Are the Signs of Bupropion Overdose?

By Amy Hunter
Updated May 17, 2024
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Recognizing the side effects of a bupropion overdose can help prevent serious complications or death. Someone who overdoses on this medication may experience hallucinations, trouble breathing, seizures, and a drop in blood pressure. Without attention, the person may slip into a coma and eventually die.

Anyone experiencing symptoms of bupropion overdose should seek medical help immediately. The typical treatment for a bupropion overdose is emptying the stomach, either by inserting a tube to pump the stomach or through medications. The doctors may also treat the symptoms of overdose. For example, medications to treat heart arrhythmia and seizures, and inserting a breathing tube to help ease breathing.

The typical dosage of bupropion starts at 100 mg daily. The dosage is adjusted slowly, to find the amount that offers the patient relief from symptoms without leading to bupropion overdose. The maximum recommended amount of bupropion is 450 mg a day. Bupropion is available in several formulations, including immediate, sustained, and extended release. Each formulation has slightly different dosage recommendations.

Bupropion is also known by the brand names Wellbutrin™ and Zyban™. It is most often used as a treatment for depression, but it also treats the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder, and helps reduce cravings in individuals who are attempting to stop smoking. Regardless of the reason for taking bupropion, it should not be taken by individuals who currently take or have recently stopped taking MAOI inhibitors.

Certain individuals may be more sensitive to this medication and complications such as bupropion overdose. Anyone who has experienced seizures should avoid this medication. People who have a history of eating disorders, or those who currently take or have recently stopped sedatives or alcohol should discuss their history with their healthcare provider before taking bupropion.

There are also certain medical conditions that make individuals more sensitive to this medication. They include head injury, heart, liver, or kidney disease, and bipolar disorder. This medication, even when taken at the proper dosage, can cause suicidal thoughts. Other serious side effects of bupropion include seizures, fever, confusion, blistering skin, and strange behavior. Less serious side effects include a change in appetite, headaches, itching, change in sleep patterns, and loss of interest in sex.

Bupropion is generally considered safe. It is important to take the medication in the manner it is prescribed, and not take it alongside certain other medications. Medications that can affect how bupropion works in the body include birth control pills, other types of antidepressants, some antibiotics, and medications for cancer, blood clots, and heart disease.

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