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The Dangers of Combining Wellbutrin and Adderall

Written by Shannon Weir, RN | Updated on Mar 9, 2023

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Medically reviewed by Dr. Patrick J. Gallus, DO

Adderall is a combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine (d-amphetamine) commonly used to treat attention deficit and hyperactivity disorders (ADHD) and narcolepsy. Wellbutrin, generic name bupropion, is an antidepressant that is also used to help quit smoking. There is some evidence that, like Adderall, Wellbutrin improves attention and impulse control in specific populations, though the FDA has not yet approved its prescription for this purpose. While it might sound like Adderall and Wellbutrin are well-suited for simultaneous use, taking both drugs at once puts you at risk for a significant range of complications and can quickly lead to dangerous territory.

Increased Risk of Seizures From Adderall and Wellbutrin

Suppose you’ve received a prescription for this antidepressant. In that case, you’re probably aware that Wellbutrin is associated with seizures in about 1 in 1,000 patients, constituting an increase of up to 400% incidence compared to similar antidepressants on the market. The risk of seizure further increases by nearly tenfold at doses of 600mg/day. As a central nervous system stimulant, Adderall also reduces a person’s seizure threshold. When taken in combination with stimulants like Adderall, Wellbutrin presents an even higher risk for seizures, to the point that it can significantly affect even a person who had previously not seen seizures or related symptoms from taking either drug individually.

People at a heightened risk for seizures due to Wellbutrin and Adderall include people who are in the process of recovering from substance use disorder. Withdrawal from the consistent use of alcohol, sedatives, opiates, cocaine, or stimulants can put a person at greater danger for central nervous system complications and should act as a factor when deciding upon a course of medication.

Appetite Suppression and Weight Loss

28% of patients who take Wellbutrin experience weight loss greater than five pounds, and significantly fewer experience weight gain than patients who take other antidepressants. Wellbutrin is so widely linked to loss of appetite described as anorectic.

Weight loss and appetite suppression are two of the most common side effects of amphetamines like Adderall. Adderall and Wellbutrin have even been tested in the same studies for use against compulsive eating. Taking the two drugs simultaneously puts a patient at significant risk for suppressed appetite and weight loss to the point of malnourishment or bodily harm.

Liver Damage from Wellbutrin and Adderall

While Adderall rarely causes severe liver damage at prescribed doses, it can pose a more significant risk when taken recreationally. Amphetamines are long-associated with liver toxicity and damage, and even Adderall can pose a threat when combined with other medications that have the potential to affect liver health.

Wellbutrin bears a warning that patients with liver damage, especially cirrhosis of the liver, should be treated with extreme caution when being considered for a prescription. Wellbutrin has been linked to lasting liver problems, mostly in those whose livers could not process it properly. Combining Adderall and Wellbutrin may pose a significant risk for liver damage or toxicity, especially in patients who may have sustained liver problems in the past.

Heart Problems Associated with Adderall and Wellbutrin

Wellbutrin has been linked with high blood pressure, sometimes to emergency levels. While this effect is most prevalent in people who already have a history of high blood pressure, it also appears more in patients using the drug to quit smoking. The FDA states, “There is no clinical experience establishing the safety of Wellbutrin in patients with a recent history of myocardial infarction [heart attack] or unstable heart disease. Therefore, care should be exercised if it is used in these groups.”

Adderall and other stimulants have long been the source of debate due to their cardiovascular health implications. Common heart-related side effects of Adderall include hypertension and elevated heart rate. One study found that 3% of otherwise healthy adults experienced adverse cardiovascular effects, including severe high blood pressure, heart palpitation, or tachycardia when using Adderall. When combined with the dangers that Wellbutrin can pose to a patient’s heart health, the potentially negligible cardiovascular symptoms presented by Adderall can quickly become far more life-threatening. Taking Wellbutrin and Adderall together adds significant risk of long-term heart problems and sudden death by a heart attack.

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Overlapping Side Effects

Taking Wellbutrin can raise the blood levels of amphetamines like Adderall. This means that even taking your regular dose of Adderall may result in unexpected side effects or increased agitation if combined with Wellbutrin. Insomnia, agitation, loss of appetite, nausea, and paranoia may all appear or worsen due to the combination of medications.

Taking Wellbutrin as prescribed can also be adversely affected by the introduction of Adderall. The most common potential side effects of Wellbutrin include agitation and insomnia, both of which have some degree of evidence linking them to Adderall as well. The drug may also cause psychological symptoms like psychosis, paranoia, and confusion, even when used as prescribed. All of these symptoms can be exacerbated by Adderall, primarily when used recreationally or off-prescription.

Even when taken according to prescription, Wellbutrin and Adderall can present complications and health problems. When used in combination, they put a patient at much greater risk of developing serious adverse medical conditions. If you or a loved one struggles with problems related to substance use, reach out to professional help.

Gallus Medical Detox Centers offers comprehensive, effective detoxification and stabilization services with a personalized approach. Our environment is safe and supportive, designed to give you the care you need while addressing every aspect of your recovery. We work with you to provide care that meets your unique needs and can help start you on your path towards healing, health, and long-term stability and success. You don’t have to battle with substance use on your own. Get sober, stay sober, and regain control over your life. Contact Gallus Medical Detox Centers at (720) 669-8178 to learn more and start your journey to healing.

Shannon Weir, RN

Shannon Weir, RN is the Chief Nursing Officer at Gallus Medical Detox Centers. She has been a Registered Nurse for 30 years, Shannon’s experience ranges from critical care to flight nursing, medical detox, sexual assault exams, and SWAT nursing. Shannon has been with Gallus Medical Detox Centers since 2010 and is a vital part of our organization.

Last medically reviewed on March 30, 2021

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