10 Surprising Bupropion Side Effects Sexually

Antidepressants, like bupropion, are common among people looking to fight certain conditions. However, they can introduce some undesirable side effects to those users sexually. This article will focus on some of those side effects.

Earliest reference to depression was back in the late 1800s by a French psychiatrist Louis Delasiauve. It was defined as “a physiological and metaphorical lowering of emotional function” in medical dictionaries.

Various methods and drugs were recommended to treat the ‘new’ phenomenon in the 1800s. These ranged from baths and massages to arsenic, ferrous iodide and cinchona.

What we now know as antidepressants were only invented about 30 years ago.

Antidepressants work by increasing neurotransmitters. These are chemicals in the brain such as noradrenaline and serotonin.

Bupropion is one such antidepressant although it is quite different.


Bupropion is an antidepressant drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and is used as a Nicotine Replacement Therapy(NRT).

NRTs are used to aid in smoking cessation by providing small nicotine doses but without the tar, carbon monoxide and other dangerous compounds present in tobacco smoke.

This medication improves your mood as well as your overall sense of well-being by trying to restore the chemical balance of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain.

Bupropion is a jack of many trades as it is also used off-label for the treatment of a couple of health conditions. These include;

  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Obesity
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Anxiety
  • Some forms of nerve pain.

Bupropion is available in 3 primary forms;

  • Immediate-release tablet
  • Sustained-release tablet
  • Extended-release tablet

Bupropion used for smoking cessation is sold under the brand name Zyban. It is estimated to help 1 in 5 people in the USA quit smoking yearly.

However, Zyban is not a beginner NRT, it should only be prescribed to people who use more than 10 cigarettes a day.

If used to aid in smoking cessation, it should be combined with other NRTs since it helps in reducing other NRT effects such as increased libido.


Difference Between Bupropion and Other Antidepressants

Most antidepressants are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI). This means they primarily work by boosting the levels of serotonin in the brain.

Bupropion, however, is a norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitor(NDRI). NDRIs boost levels of norepinephrine-dopamine which is another neurotransmitter. Norepinephrine is also known as noradrenaline and dopamine.

One of the major differences between bupropion and other depressants is that it does not affect the user’s sex drive. It also does not cause any weight gain as most other antidepressants do.

As a matter of fact, it is usually prescribed alongside other antidepressants to help neutralise the sexual side effects of other medications.

Bupropion is also an antagonist to nicotinic receptors which makes it useful for people who are trying to quit smoking.

The effects of bupropion are complex and its neurological function and effects are only really partly understood.

It is worth noting that misuse may cause adverse bupropion side effects sexually as well as non-sexually.

Benefits of Bupropion

Bupropion has two main uses and in conjunction, benefits;

It Used to Treat Depression

Bupropion is labelled an antidepressant. It can improve your feeling of well-being as well as your overall mood.

It works by restoring balance to certain neurotransmitters in the brain.

As earlier stated, it is FDA-approved for conditions such as major depressive disorder (MDD) and seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

It Aids in Smoking Cessation

When it comes to NRTs, bupropion is one of the more potent ones. As a result, it is usually prescribed to heavy smokers only.

NRTs are usually used alongside each other. For instance, fast-acting gum may be used together with slower forms such as skin patches, as directed by your physician.

Be sure to consult your GP to see if this drug is fit for you.

Who Can Use Bupropion

If bupropion is used to aid in smoking cessation, it can be used by a variety of people. Recall that it is used for heavy smokers who smoke over 10 cigarettes a day.

If this condition is met, here are the groups of people that may have bupropion prescribed;

  • adults and children over 12 years of age; children under 18 should not use it without getting medical advice first.
  • pregnant women; consult your doctor first in order to get the best recommendation for an NRT.
  • Lactating mothers; your doctor can advise you on whether bupropion is right for you.

When used as an antidepressant, you will need to consult your doctor to know if it is right for you.

Who Should Not Use Bupropion?

Some drugs react adversely with bupropion. Do not use bupropion if you are taking any of these drugs;

  • Seizure medications
  • Sedatives such as Xanax or Valium.
  • Systematic steroids
  • Antipsychotics
  • Other antidepressants

Do not take bupropion if you have had a history of any of these conditions;

  • An eating disorder such as bulimia or anorexia.
  • If you suddenly stopped using alcohol
  • History of epilepsy or seizures.
  • Previous head trauma
  • Active brain tumour

Side Effects

Bupropion may be effective in what it does but this comes with its fair share of side effects. Bupropion side effects sexually are also recorded.

Herein is a concise list of potential bupropion side effects sexually as well as non-sexually.

Side Effects Sexually

Here are the bupropion side effects sexually;

  1. It Neutralises the Sexual Effects of Other Antidepressants

    This is the more common of the bupropion side effects sexually.

    It is not uncommon for different antidepressants to be used alongside each other. Bupropion does not affect the libido as other antidepressants do.

    For this reason, it may be prescribed with other antidepressants to curb the decline in libido.

Side Effects of Intake

There are quite a number of bupropion side effects sexually and non-sexually to expect when taking the prescribed dose.

They vary greatly in severity depending on a wide range of factors such as underlying conditions and the gravity of the depression and/or smoking addiction.

Herein are the potential bupropion side effects sexually and non-sexually;

  1. It May Cause Nausea

    This is one of the more common bupropion side effects sexually and non-sexually. It is usually a feeling of sickness that varies in strength depending on various factors.

    It usually goes away on its own though. You can however try taking regular small sips of water to help it go away faster.

    You can also try taking foods with ginger such as ginger biscuits or drinking ginger tea.

  2. It May Cause Vomiting

    Vomiting is one of the less common bupropion side effects sexually and non-sexually. This may occur if nausea becomes too severe.

    If vomiting persists for more than a day, consult your GP.

  3. You May Experience Dizziness

    Dizziness includes feeling off balance, giddy, light-headed or vertigo. It is not usually serious and drinking plenty of water may aid this since it is commonly caused by dehydration.

    Avoid coffee if you experience this.

  4. It May Cause Dry Mouth

    Dry mouth or xerostomia refers to a condition where your salivary glands produce saliva that is insufficient to keep your mouth wet.

    This is also a mild side effect and is no cause for alarm.

    You can chew sugar-free gum or drink plenty of cold water in sips to alleviate this.

  5. May Cause Headaches

    Headaches may last anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours depending on the gravity. Drink plenty of water if this occurs.

    If the pain is unbearable, try some OTC painkillers.

    Do not sleep more than you normally would – it may make the situation worse.

  6. It Could Cause Profuse Sweating

    Also known as hyperhidrosis, profuse sweating can be quite uncomfortable.

    It has no serious health consequences though. The best thing you can do when this happens is to wear loose and light clothing.

    You can use a fan too if possible.

Behavioral Side Effects

Bupropion may cause changes in behaviour.

  1. It May Cause Hostility and Agitation

    The changes bupropion makes to the chemicals in your brain may cause agitation and hostility in some people.

    It is unclear exactly why this happens.

  2. May Induce Suicidal Thoughts

    The risk of suicidal thoughts is higher in children, teens and young adults who use bupropion.

    If this occurs seek immediate medical attention.

Side Effects of Overdose

Bupropion is a non-habit-forming drug. This means its risk of addiction is quite low.

That being said, it can produce astronomically high dopamine hits similar to those of crack cocaine when the pills are crushed and snorted.

Although there is little evidence that shows the fatal consequences of bupropion overdose, it can have some severe side effects;

  1. It May Cause Seizures

    Seizures are bursts of electrical activity in the brain that temporarily change how it works. It is commonly characterized by sudden and violent shaking called a ‘fit’.

    This could cause permanent brain damage in severe cases.

  2. May Cause Abnormal Heart Rhythms

    Abnormal heart rhythms could prove to have serious consequences if they go unchecked.

    Cardiac arrest is not out of the realm of possibility if the systolic cycles become more erratic. However, there are close to no cases reported of this.

Other Side Effects

Other side effects include;

  • Dark urine
  • Hair loss
  • Insomnia
  • Gas
  • Yellow skin or eyes
  • Changes in menstrual cycle.


Bupropion is a great antidepressant that takes a rather unconventional approach. It is also a solid option to aid heavy smokers to quit smoking.

It has its fair share of benefits but overlooking the potential side effects would be unwise.

Take caution when taking this drug and ensure you go to a trusted GP for a prescription.

Bupropion comes with a black box warning to alert doctors and patients alike about the drug’s effects. In case you did not know, this is the most serious type of warning from the FDA.

The potential side effects are actually more than the ones we listed here. We just listed the most common ones.

If those red flags are not enough, I will say it again, do not take this medication unless your doctor deems it necessary.

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