Wellbutrin: The Antidepressant with no Sexual Side Effects
Unfortunately, the majority of antidepressants can have sexual side effects. These include a loss of libido or sexual interest, trouble achieving orgasm, and difficulty obtaining an erection or becoming aroused. Types of antidepressants that are known to have these side effects include SSRIs (Prozac, Lexapro) SNRIs (Cymbalta, Effexor), and MAOIs and tricyclic antidepressants like amitriptyline and nortriptyline. The most commonly prescribed antidepressants today are SSRIs and SNRIs. Not everyone will experience these sexual side effects, and some people may just have them at the beginning of treatment. However, for those who are prone to these lasting side effects, it can be very frustrating in the long-term and affect the patients’ overall quality of life. Luckily, Wellbutrin is one option for treating depression that doesn’t have negative sexual side effects.
What makes Wellbutrin different?
Wellbutrin is an atypical antipsychotic medication. Its mechanism of action (the way it works) is different from all the other types of antidepressants described above, and how it works is still not completely understood. However, it is thought that its main mechanism of action for treating depression is that it increases the availability of dopamine. Most other antidepressants increase the availability of serotonin, or both serotonin and norepinephrine, but they can decrease dopamine activity at the same time.
There are a couple of ways known ways that SSRIs in particular can inhibit sexual interest and dysfunction. First of all, they inhibit the production of nitric oxide which is necessary for both male and female physical arousal. Nitric oxide plays a role in relaxing smooth muscle tissue so that blood flow rushes to the genitals. Secondly, as mentioned above, these medications can reduce dopamine activity. Dopamine is believed to play a key role in sexual interest and desire. By increasing dopamine activity, Wellbutrin may even help those having trouble with libido.
Who should not take Wellbutrin?
Those who have any type of seizure disorder and those who have or have had anorexia or bulimia or a related eating disorder should not take Wellbutrin. Also those who are undergoing withdrawal from or have a dependence on alcohol, barbiturates, benzodiazepines or other sedatives should not take Wellbutrin. While pregnant women can take Wellbutrin if necessary, SSRIs are considered safer for pregnant women.
Wellbutrin Cost & Drug Information
Wellbutrin is a brand-name drug, and it costs around $150-$200 for a month’s supply, which consists of 60 pills. Wellbutrin XL is also available, which is an extended-release version of the drug that only needs to be taken once per day. The generic name for Wellbutrin is bupropion, and it only costs around $50 for a month’s supply. Some side effects from taking Wellbutrin include nausea, headache, dizziness and loss of appetite. As with all antidepressants, there is a risk for developing worsening symptoms, suicidal thoughts and other negative mood changes. Tell your doctor right away if you experience any of these mental side effects.
If you suffer from sexual side effects from taking your antidepressants, ask your doctor about switching to Wellbutrin or bupropion. If you need help paying for any of your medications, remember to check out our pharmacy discounts.