Can you mix Wellbutrin with Celexa?

Find out how these two drugs interact.

Wellbutrin (bupropion hydrochloride) and Celexa (citalopam) are both prescription drugs used to treat depression. They belong to different drug classes, act on different brain chemicals, and have different side effects. Although they are generally safe when used together, it is important that you discuss the potential side effects of combining these medications with your doctor. Let’s take a closer look at how these two drugs work in your body.

What is Wellbutrin?

There are a number of antidepressants available that work in different ways. Wellbutrin is an aminoketone class antidepressant, which makes it unrelated to some of the older, more familiar classes of antidepressants such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). It is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat major depressive disorder and to help people quit smoking. It is taken orally in tablet form.

Exactly how Wellbutrin works for depression is not completely understood, but it is thought to restore the chemical balance of dopamine and norepinephrine in your brain while stimulating your central nervous system. Wellbutrin has been shown to be a safe and effective overall treatment for depression and avoids some of the side effects reported with other antidepressant medications, such as sexual dysfunction, weight gain, and drowsiness.

Wellbutrin Side Effects

On the other hand, some people have reported headaches, weight loss, dry mouth, trouble sleeping, nausea, dizziness, constipation, rapid heartbeat, and sore throat during taking Wellbutrin, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Bupropion is also associated with an increased (but low) risk of seizures, says Brian Murray, DO, assistant professor of emergency medicine at Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine in Dayton, OH. “Interestingly, bupropion is not a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, but it also appears to be associated with serotonin syndrome if taken too much, says Dr. Murray. Serotonin syndrome is a life-threatening condition caused by medications that build up high levels of serotonin in the body.

What is Celexa?

Celexa is another prescription medication approved by the FDA to treat depression. It belongs to an older group of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Celexa helps fight depression by rebalancing chemicals in the brain, such as serotonin. It’s available as a tablet, capsule, or liquid, and it can take anywhere from one to four weeks after starting the drug to start feeling its effects, according to the FDA. In at least two clinical trials that lasted four to six weeks, symptoms of depression improved more in people who took Celexa than in people who took a placebo.

Celexa Side Effects

Although Celexa is considered one of the safest antidepressants, you may experience some unwanted side effects including nausea, dry mouth, drowsiness, insomnia, and increased sweating. In young adults (ages 18-24), Celexa has also been shown to increase the risk of suicidal thoughts. The development of serotonin syndrome has also been linked to Celexa, according to Dr. Murray. “The risk of serotonin syndrome with Celexa is more likely when initiating treatment, with dose increases, and when mixed with another drug that impacts serotonin levels,” he explains. he. “Celexa is also associated with seizure activity, even at therapeutic doses.”

Are Wellbutrin and Celexa already associated?

While psychiatrists try to avoid prescribing two antidepressants at once, it can sometimes be helpful. “Wellbutrin and Celexa can be prescribed together due to their different modes of action,” says Mohammad Jafferany, MD, clinical professor at Central Michigan University College of Medicine in Mount Pleasant, MI. “For example, if a patient has difficulty concentrating and feels lazy or unmotivated, Wellbutrin is a good choice and can then be combined with an SSRI like Celexa, especially when serotonin effects are desired, such as in case high anxiety.” This drug combination may help reduce some of the unwanted side effects associated with SSRIs, he adds.

Do the side effects get worse when Wellbutrin and Celexa are taken together?

“Generally, it’s safe to take Wellbutrin and Celexa together,” says Dr. Jafferany. However, like most medications, there are side effects to watch out for. “The prescribing physician should warn patients of potential side effects – the combination of these two drugs may increase the risk of seizures,” he says.

Wellbutrin can also boost Celexa in your body. “Wellbutrin can cause increased blood levels of Celexa with consequent side effects, so close monitoring and dose adjustment is necessary,” says Dr. Jafferany. Although you want to pay close attention to potential side effects, you may also breathe easy if these medications were prescribed to you together. “Numerous studies have shown that the combination is well tolerated and may actually improve overall antidepressant response and reduce unwanted side effects associated with SSRIs such as sexual side effects and weight gain.”

The essential

It goes without saying, says Dr. Murray, “If you don’t need medication, it’s best not to take it. However, medications can be important and necessary, and while I don’t think we know exactly the extent of the risks associated with a combination of these medications, Wellbutrin and Celexa are both excellent medications that have helped many people and saved lives by reducing suicides.

As with any medication, it’s important to pay attention to prescribed doses and talk to your doctor to fully understand your individual risk of taking a medication alone or in combination with other medications, he adds.

Tracy Davenport, Ph.D.

Meet our writer

Tracy Davenport, Ph.D.

Davenport is the founder of Using the latest scientific research, she helps people live their healthiest lives through one-on-one coaching, business talks, and sharing over 1,000 health-related insights.

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