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Avatar universal

Lexapro vs Wellbutrin

Hi! I started experiencing anxiety attacks, etc. about 4 years ago. After a length of time and MANY doctors visits, I started taking Lexapro and I've been on it ever since. Over the past few months I've been experiencing mood swings, anxiety, etc. so I decided to try something new. My doctor suggested Wellbutrin so for the past few weeks, I've been in the transition. I have felt ABSOLUTELY horrible-like I did back when all this first started. I have had 2 major panic attacks-I haven't had those in years!! I've been asking around and everyone keeps saying Wellbutrin is more for depression-not anxiety. Is this true?? I just don't know if I need to give this pill somemore time or if I should just go back to Lexapro-but maybe increase my dosage. My anxiety was so much better with the Lexapro but I was only on 10mg the ENTIRE time...it may be time for an increase. Has anyone had any experience with these two drugs? What's your advice?
15 Responses
242532 tn?1269553979
Your idea of increasing the dose during a rough period is a good one...talk to your doctor about doing that.
Avatar universal

I have had experience with both Lexipro and Wellbutrin.  I was on Lexipro for 2 years and it worked very well for anxiety.  I got off it because I was uncomfortable with the weight gain/tiredness.  
I started taking Wellbutrin about a month ago and have been more anxious than without drugs plus I am agitated and bouncing off the walls.  I also awoke with depression on several days and am typically not a depressed person.

I have been on Wellbutrin in the past and it has never helped with anxiety by itself.  The combination of Lexipro and Wellbutrin has worked for me in the past.

Increasing Lexipro to 20mg might help or you could ask your doctor about other anxiety medications.  I heard that Paxil works well for some people.

Good luck.

Avatar universal
Good Morning! I just want to say thank you very much for taking the time to help me out. Your comments actually reaffirmed most everything I've been hearing about Wellbutrin. I decided the other day, it's just not for me and I think I am going to try and increase my Lexapro- just to see how that goes. I hope all is going well for you and again- thank you for your insight. It's very helpful to hear other people's experiences!!

Have a wonderful day
Avatar universal
I had an opposite effect as you.  Though I took the Wellbutrin to quit smoking, I didn't really have any anxiety side effects...I started taking Lexapro for depression and within a month I started having panic attacks.  My doctor told me to increase my dose, which I did, and then I started having panic attacks 2-3 times a week.  I didn't think the Lexapro was the cause so I continued taking it until I found out I was pregnant.  Surprise, once I stopped taking the Lexapro the panic attacks stopped.  I recently started having them again, 2 years later, but take clonazapam and it works really well for me.
Avatar universal
Please remember that no two people are alike. Although lexapro and wellbutrin both are indicated for anxiety, there are other options that you may want to consider. A benzo (like xanax, ativan, klonopin) can help you in the short-term while you sort things out and develop some different coping skills. Buspar may be an option for you as well, I have had very good luck when I prescribe it as long as it is started low and tapered up slowly or as tolerated.

Lexapro (an SSRI) and Wellbutrin (an SNRI) work on different chemicals in the brain, so what works for one person may not work for another. And by the same token, if one works for you, another may not. As far as the lexapro, if it was working for you and you go back on it, talk to your doctor about the dose. Many people are on 15 or 20mg.

I just posted under another thread in this forum, please look for it and read my suggestions for counseling and educational resources.

Good luck!
Avatar universal
I yried 1 a few days ago--I have severe panic over anything, the Tranxene I have been on 4 yrs seems not to even help--now I find out I have narrow angle glaucoma, and cannot take any nerve meds, sleep meds, or cold remedies, and I am freaking out.

Anyway the last 2 nights have been hell.  Since the 1 lexapro I have had burning inside my head back of neck and hands, even while i sleep.  I am so scared.  I akso have GERD>  I thought i was dying, I blame that 1 leaxpro.  doc says no.  Says I am having worse anxiety, and maybe that is the burning, but i ahve a weird gut feeling he is wrong and something else, brain wise is wrong.  Beats me how I can stop 4 yrs of tranxene due to glaucoma, pray fr me!

Also caled a psychiatrist office and made appt and sec said that the psyvh did not ever prescribe tranxene, taht it was very dangerous--never said why-so, now I am about to freak.

Anyone with facts on any stuff I am experiencing will be appreciated.

You can email me at ***@****

I need prayers to get over these attacks and beat the tranxene, the glaucoma, diabtes, and high blood pressure is enough for me to deal with.

God bless all
Avatar universal
I was really relieved to see your posts. I have been taking Lexapro for about a year, but due to insurance pain in the butts, had to stop taking it about a week ago. My Dr. perscribed Wellbutrin to treat my GAD. Since Monday I have had three major panic attacks, have had extreme dizziness and naseua and as a result I have been falling all over the place. I even fell off the treadmill at the gym, so now I am afraid to exercise. And forget driving. This pretty much sounds like what I am hearing here. I am sort of glad cause I thought I was going crazy. I have been yelling at everyone all week, and feel absolutely horrible. One question though... Is anyone experiencing a major loss of concentration with this drug? I feel like I cant even form a complete sentence unless I run through it very quickly, otherwise I forget what I was saying. Just wondering. Thanks for the posts, and it seems that this stuff doesnt work so hot for lots of people. I hope you feel better soon.
Avatar universal
I started on Prozac last year for anxiety.  It worked very well, but I experienced significant weight gain (approx. 10-15 lbs).

Thus, I started Wellbutrin a few weeks ago and discontinued the Prozac.  I felt great for a few days and then started having many of the side effects described on this forum, such as lightheadedness, increased anxiety, insomnia, and agitation.  I have also been extremely emotional and upset (probably partly due to feeling anxious again) and have been crying and unable to do my work.  BUT I have lost 5 pounds, and feel much better in that sense.

I am going to see my psychiatrist this week and ask about switching to Lexapro.  I hope that there will be a solution that will help me feel better but not make me gain so much weight.
Avatar universal
I'm not sure if this site actually gives advise or is just a place to share individual experience. Anyway, I was on Lexapro for about 1 1/2 years. Prior to that I had tried to stop anti-deps for 6 months and went in to a deep depression.  Prior to taking that break, I was on Celexa for a little over a year, which worked ok except I was started to feel kind of "flat" so I wanted to try to stop. I originally started taking anti-deps to deal with what was more of an anxiety issue, but now when I've attempted to stop them, I go in to a deep depression (crying, withdrawaling from everyone, irritable, sleeping a lot).

I recently went to a new psychiatrist because I felt that the Lexapro was not working that well anymore, and I had gained weight and had NO sex drive, as I felt castrated mentally and physically.  He suggested I try Wellbutrin, and that I did not need to ween off one to start the other.  It has been two weeks now and I'm unable to determine if I'm just withdrawaling from the Lexapro and the Wellbutrin isn't working yet, or if this is just the right drug for me.  I have had a considerable decrease in appetite, which is a good side effect to offset some of the weight gain, but I have been crying uncontrollably over anything and everything, I feel shaky and irritable. Basically I feel depressed with the physical side effects of anxiety. I am supposed to return to the psychiatrist tonight to discuss this, but I think he might not be the best doctor (I think any psychiatrist that takes insurance at this point is just non-commital to the mental health field anymore).

Any suggestions would help, if I should stop this medication altogether or give it a few more weeks?
Avatar universal
Yes, Prozac i got off of ie; weight gain!
Wellbutrin I loved b/c i lost weight on it and hence i was happier but in turn over time you revert back and eventually gain and really messes with your mind because you remember how you looked when you started the Welllbutrin.  When i was you and started Wellbutrin i'd almost want to raise the dose just to keep loosing weight that had eventually cought up well, i was taking 750 mg and my Dr. then adds Lexapro and Adderall.  Let ma tell you Lexapro makes you gain too. I have done research and I am off Wellbutrin and trying to get off Lexapro but i am so sick tight now and I even tapered off the Lexapro and I have been sick since Tuesday that is the reason I am on this forum. So I saw your post and wanted to give you some FYI!
-if you know of any that does cause weight gain let me know!
Avatar universal
I am really shocked that your Dr. would not ween you off the Lexapro first!? --or even simutaneously as adding the Wellbutrin. Did I read that right?  I have been on Wellbutrin at different doses for about 5 years now.  I tappered off Wellbutrin very slowly --just 2 weeks ago  Oh, a little FYI--(b/c i learned the hard way in the past ---I know you can not make any abrupt changes in doses on most antideresssants esp. w/ wellbutrin--just a little FYI-it is a major drug-i read that dopamine in it is much same as the chemicals in the major drug cocaine--not that Wellbutrin is bad i do not want to scare you but it is a major major big time drug)
Well, i just got on this forum today because of Lexapro.  As i said i tapered off Wellbutrin 2 weeks ago and then Lexapro slowly and off fully last week.  Well, since tuesday i have been really feeling like **** (too many side effects to list unless you are wanting to know i can get back to you)

But, i guess i need to get to the point -----one of the things you mentioned the burning sensations in the body i too have had as i am withdrawling from Lexapro so i think that that is from Lexapro leaving your system and not Wellbutrin--give it more of a chance as with any new at least a month or so--any other quest. for me i willl be more than happy to share because this drug bouncing stuff plain sucks.  I want to be normal!!!! but, what's that?
Avatar universal
I was taking Lexapro 20mg for approx. 2 years. I can testify that this drug DOES cause weight gain! Many drs. don't mention that or will claim it not true. Besides the weight gain I actually did fairly well but still was depressed and anxious. My dr. suggested taking me off the lexapro and starting Wellbutrin.
I heard some great things about wellbutrin plus the added possibility of weight loss and help quitting smoking I was all for it.
My doctor stopped the Lexapro and put me on the wellbutrin all at once. I was told to take the wellbutrin that night instead of the dose of lexapro and disregard the rest of the medication I had left of it. Well that was last Tuesday. Since then, I have had severe headaches, this tingling shocking pins and needles feeling in my face, these what feel like lightning bolts going through my head when I move my head or eyes to fast or even blink to hard, my eyes are throbbing, my ears are ringing, I am nausuous, I have severe anxiety, I am crying like a baby , chills and sweats, morbid thoughts and dreams, BAD heartburn, I am lightheaded so I can't even drive, I can't sleep and just feel rotten! After very little research and this site, I have come to realize this was due to the abrupt stopping of the lexapro. It should not be stopped cold turkey and even with tapering the side effects are still pretty bad. I honestly thought I was dying!! I was preparing myself for the worst.It has been 7 days now and is still as bad if not getting worse day by day. This is hard especially with three small children. But I must thank everyone who has posted their experiances, I feel like atleast I am not loosing my mind here!! I will write back next week with my progress. I am also on Lamictal so I think that is helping but I also take xanax for anxiety but my pharmacist said that I shouldn't take xanax with the wellbutrin?????? Oh, I have called my dr and to speak to her as I cryed my way through the message....and I haven't heard back from her  yet.

Avatar universal
I've been taking 40mg of Paxil for panic attacks for about 4 years.  About 2 years ago, I became depressed and everything just irritated me.  My doctor prescribed 300mg of Wellbutrin with the Paxil.  It has worked for me - no panice attacks and no depression.  I tried to get off of Paxil because I don't want to be dependant on 2 types of drugs, but after 3 months of weaning myself off Paxil, I began to get panic attacks and felt horrible, so I'm back on 40mg of Paxil w/ the Wellbutrin.  Works great!
Avatar universal
I have been on many SSRI's- the best thus far has been zoloft but it helped me gain 20 lbs. I weaned of it easily. I haven't been on any medication for about 10 months and my anxiety is worse than ever. But I do not want to gain any weight, since I have lost 20lbs after stopping SSRI treatments. I have been prescribed Wellbutrin SR for anxiety, but I am afraid that it will make my anxiety worse, which is my biggest fear. Has anyone had any luck on it?

Also, has anyone taken atenolol for stage fright?

I'd also like to hear about any luck that anyone has had on any anxiety medications or treatments? Does accupunture really work?
Avatar universal
I have suffered from severe depression and GAD,(general anxiety disorder), for almost 8 years now. I have seen man phychiatrists, as well as physcholists. After trying almost every SSRI, some MAOIs, and a few Tricycils, for the depression, combined with every benzo in the market, for the GAD,(anxiety), I can honestly say that while I felt some relief with some combinations, horrible experiences with others, and the rest did nothing at all, I have come to the conclusion that that both depression and anxiety, which most say go hand in hand, this a very serious illness that is still pretty new to find the perfect solution and cure for. I dare to compare it to cancer, in several ways. 1) They still haven't found a bullet-proof cure for it and continue to make strides to at least find the proper remedies. 2) Both illnessess cause you to prefer dieing, rather than going on, because it can be, and for most already is, unbearable. and 3) I don't think they will ever find exactly what causes it, or find a complete cure for either one. That's my negative view of it, but I am a very relentless and hopeful person, so not just for myself, but for others who suffer from severe depression and/or accute anxiety, I truly wish I'm proven wrong someday. Now, for the positive side, I have now been on what my doctor calls; "My Cocktail", which is Cymbalta, Buspar, Vicodin, yes, the pain killer Vicodin, combined with physchotherapy twice a week, for almost 2 years now, and while I'm not cured, this is what has worked best for me, and has been over a year now that I haven't had anxiety/panic attacks, stay in bed all day, have suicidal thoughts, etc..., and, while I'm still not able to work, I'm finally enjoying some things I had completely lost interest in, such as talk with family and friends, watch tv, play video games, finally get out of the house, and as you can see here, even surf the internet and write down sentences..., just to name a few. I hope this helps at least one of you, hopefully more, and if so, mention this "Cocktail" to your doctor(s), to see if perhaps he feels this might be something he considers might help you and wants to try with you. But, keep in mind that nobody is the same and symptoms differ from one person to another, as well as this "Cocktail" didn't work immediately, with the excption of the Vicodin which caused me to at least feel a soothing and relaxing sensation immediately. Also, keep in mind that Vicodin is a very addictive drug, so it was thrown in for temporary relief in knocking the edge off of my reaching points of losing sanity, and I started with 7.5 mg 4 times a day, but once the Cymbalta and Buspar started to take effect, he's gradually tapered me off the Vicodin, to where I now only take 5 mg twice a day if needed, until he finally feels cuts it down to zero. Finally, no matter how bad it gets, always remember that hope is something nobody can take away from you as long as you're alive, so even if you do feel hopeless at times, as I know I certainly did more times than I can count, it's always in you..., deep down inside. Hope everyone here feels better sooner or later & Peace to All.
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