AlcoholRehabHelp Logo
AlcoholRehabHelp Logo
Alcohol & Health
Treatment
Helping Alcoholics
Where Does My Call Go?
Updated on September 14, 2023
5 min read

Can You Mix Bupropion and Alcohol? Is It Safe?

Ellie Swain
Elena Borrelli M.S.PAC
Written by 
4 Sources Cited
Ellie Swain
Written by 
4 Sources Cited

What is Bupropion (Wellbutrin)?

Bupropion is an antidepressant used to treat various mental health problems.

These include:

  • Major depressive disorder (MDD)
  • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
  • Episodes of depression from bipolar disorder
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

Doctors can also prescribe bupropion to help people quit smoking. Brand names for bupropion include Wellbutrin and Zyban.

Sponsored

Online Therapy Can Help

Over 3 million people use BetterHelp. Their services are:

  • Professional and effective
  • Affordable and convenient
  • Personalized and discreet
  • Easy to start
Find a Therapist

Answer a few questions to get started

online consultation

Side Effects of Bupropion

Bupropion can lead to common side effects.

Speak with your doctor for medical advice if any of the following common side effects of Wellbutrin are severe or persist:

  • Drowsiness
  • Anxiety
  • Excitement
  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • Dry mouth
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Uncontrollable shaking of a body part
  • Appetite loss
  • Weight loss
  • Constipation
  • Excessive sweating
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Adjustments in your sense of taste
  • Frequent urination
  • Sore throat

Severe Side Effects of Bupropion

Some side effects of Wellbutrin can be more severe.

Call your doctor immediately or seek emergency help if you experience any of the following side effects:

  • Seizures
  • Confusion
  • Hallucination (seeing things or hearing voices that do not exist)
  • Irrational fears
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat
  • Fever
  • Rash or blisters
  • Itching
  • Hives
  • Swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, hands, feet, ankles, eyes, or lower legs
  • Hoarseness
  • Problems breathing or swallowing
  • Chest pain
  • Suicidal thoughts

Wellbutrin may lead to other side effects. Speak with your doctor if you have any unusual issues while taking this medication.

What Happens if You Drink Alcohol with Bupropion?

Drinking alcohol with bupropion or other antidepressants can cause a dangerous interaction. However, some people may take both substances to mask or self-medicate the symptoms of MDD.

Most antidepressants don’t mix well with alcohol. This is especially true in significant quantities.

Wellbutrin is an atypical antidepressant. This means it differs from many antidepressants, like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and tricyclic antidepressants.

Wellbutrin can also interact differently with alcohol compared to other antidepressants. If you do not consume alcohol often, drinking alcohol with the drug can increase your risk of certain health problems. If you drink heavily, stopping while consuming Wellbutrin can lead to similar serious side effects.

Bupropion and Alcohol Side Effects

Consuming alcohol while taking bupropion can lead to higher risks of other health issues. Because alcohol is a depressant, it slows your central nervous system (CNS) down. This includes your brain.

The side effects of taking bupropion and alcohol together include:

  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Restlessness
  • Poor coordination

Drinking alcohol while taking bupropion can also intensify the side effects of the drug. Additionally, consuming alcohol with Wellbutrin can counteract the positive effects of Wellbutrin on depression. This may lead to more severe symptoms of depression and suicidal thoughts.

Sponsored

BetterHelp can Help

They’ll connect you to an addiction and mental health counselor

Find a Therapist

Answer a few questions to get started

Better Help Logo

Risks & Dangers of Mixing Bupropion and Alcohol

Alcohol is a depressant and should be used with caution. This is especially relevant for those who are struggling with depression and are taking medication for their disorder.

Drinking alcohol with bupropion increases both drugs' side effects. This can increase the risk of developing an addiction.

Who is At Risk When Mixing Bupropion and Alcohol?

Seizures are a rare but severe side effect of mixing bupropion with alcohol. The risk of seizures while taking Wellbutrin increases in people who:

  • Have an underlying health condition that causes seizures
  • Have an eating disorder
  • Take high doses of Wellbutrin
  • Drink excessive quantities of alcohol
  • Are experiencing alcohol withdrawal symptoms

Severe risks and dangers, like seizures, when mixing bupropion and alcohol vary for each person. In most cases, it is best to completely avoid alcohol when taking bupropion.

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

If you regularly consume a lot of alcohol or have an alcohol use disorder (AUD), abruptly stopping can result in alcohol withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms are potentially life-threatening if you do not manage them correctly.

Experiencing alcohol withdrawal while taking bupropion leads to higher risks of experiencing a seizure and other severe side effects. These side effects include:

  • Extreme shaking and tremors
  • Vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoia

What Should You Tell Your Doctor?

To reduce risks of seizures or other severe side effects while taking bupropion, be honest with your healthcare provider about your drinking habits.

Be sure to tell your doctor the following:

  • The type(s) of alcohol you drink
  • How much alcohol you drink at once
  • How much alcohol you consume on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis
  • How long you’ve been drinking this amount

If you take bupropion and wonder how it will interact with alcohol, ask your doctor. Always be honest about the amount of alcohol you consume.

Sponsored

Thinking about Getting Help?

BetterHelp offers affordable mental health care via phone, video, or live-chat.

Find a Therapist

Answer a few questions to get started

Better Help Logo

Treatment for Bupropion and Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol withdrawal can be dangerous. Due to the severity of certain alcohol withdrawal symptoms, a medically supervised detox is necessary. A medically supervised detox program allows the person to safely manage the withdrawal stage and progress to recovery.

Medical detox programs will also likely include medication-assisted treatment (MAT) and help arrange a long-term treatment plan. Some treatment options typically found in alcohol rehab centers include:

  • Inpatient treatment: Involves checking yourself into a rehab facility for 24-hour medical supervision
  • Outpatient treatment: A treatment program where people are allowed to leave the rehab facility
  • Partial hospitalization program (PHP): A treatment program where you stay at a rehab facility for a day and return home at night
  • Intensive outpatient programs (IOP): Flexible treatment options that are offered in the mornings or evenings instead of a full day
  • Support groups: Provides a much-needed community to help maintain sobriety after treatment
Updated on September 14, 2023
4 sources cited
Updated on September 14, 2023
All Alcoholrehabhelp content is medically reviewed or fact checked to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only link to reputable media sites, academic research institutions and, whenever possible, medically peer reviewed studies.
  1. Bupropion, MedlinePlus, October 2020, https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a695033.html 

  2. LABEL: BUPROPION HYDROCHLORIDE tablet, DailyMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, November 2019, https://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/drugInfo.cfm?setid=e4100232-a25d-4468-9057-af7e66205154 

  3. WELLBUTRIN XL® (WELL byu-trin) (bupropion hydrochloride) Extended-Release tablets, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), https://www.fda.gov/media/76996/download 

  4. Silverstone, Peter H et al., Alcohol significantly lowers the seizure threshold in mice when co-administered with bupropion hydrochloride., Annals of general psychiatry vol. 7 11. 18 Aug. 2008, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2531112/

AlcoholRehabHelp Logo
All content created by Alcohol Rehab Help is sourced from current scientific research and fact-checked by an addiction counseling expert. However, the information provided by Alcohol Rehab Help is not a substitute for professional treatment advice.
© 2024 by Treatment Pathway LLC. All rights reserved.
Back to top icon
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram