Wellbutrin dosage for depression and anxiety

Wellbutrin dosage for depression and anxiety
Medically reviewed by Dr. Mavra Farrukh


Wellbutrin is also commonly known as bupropion, used to treat anxiety and depression. It is also used off-label for the treatment of seasonal affective disorder (SAD). It comes in two main forms designed for the treatment of specific disorders, i.e., a sustained-release (SR) form is used to treat depression, while extended-release (ER) is used for the treatment of SAD. In this blog, we will explore the dosage of Wellbutrin for anxiety and depression, how to take it, and the duration of taking the medicine.

What is Wellbutrin’s (Bupropion) dosage for depression and anxiety?

Wellbutrin dosage is different for different forms, which vary according to individual needs and medical conditions:

  • Immediate-Release (SR): This form of Wellbutrin is taken twice or thrice daily, providing a more frequent dosage schedule.
  • Extended-Release (XL): Wellbutrin XL, the extended-release variant, is taken once or twice daily. This form offers the convenience of a single daily dose.

Dosage for depression

The starting dose is different for different forms of Wellbutrin: 

  • Wellbutrin SR: For Wellbutrin SR, the starting dose is 150 mg once daily upon waking. This is the minimum recommended dose. After three days, your doctor may consider increasing to 150 mg twice daily. Further adjustments may be made if needed, with a maximum recommended dose of 200 mg twice daily.
  • Wellbutrin XL: If prescribed Wellbutrin XL for depression, the initial dose is typically 150 mg once daily upon waking. After at least four days, your doctor may recommend increasing to the standard 300 mg daily dosage.

Maintenance Dosage

Both Wellbutrin XL and Wellbutrin SR are commonly used for the maintenance treatment of major depressive disorder. Your doctor will determine the most appropriate maintenance dosage based on your response to the initial treatment.

Maximum Daily Dosage

The maximum recommended dosage for Wellbutrin SR is 200 mg twice daily, while for Wellbutrin XL, the maximum daily dose is 300mg. Following your doctor’s guidance and reporting any concerns or side effects is essential. 

Dosage for Seasonal Affective Disorder

For the prevention of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) with Wellbutrin XL, the recommended starting dose is 150 mg once daily. This is typically initiated before the onset of symptoms, often in the autumn season. After seven days, your doctor may advise increasing the daily dose to 300 mg.

Maintenance Dosage

As a maintenance strategy, your doctor may suggest continuing Wellbutrin XL treatment throughout the season when SAD symptoms are most prevalent.

Maximum Daily Dosage

The maximum recommended daily dosage for Wellbutrin XL in preventing SAD is 300 mg. It’s important to follow your doctor’s guidance throughout the treatment period.

Remember, it’s crucial not to discontinue Wellbutrin XL without consulting your doctor. If a dose adjustment or discontinuation is necessary, your doctor will provide a carefully planned approach to minimize potential side effects associated with the medication. Additionally, it’s worth noting that Wellbutrin SR is not approved for the treatment of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

How should I use this medication?

Wellbutrin sustained release (SR) and extended-release (XL) are oral tablets for ingestion. Here’s a guide on properly using Wellbutrin:

  • Swallowing instructions: Take Wellbutrin tablets whole; avoid chewing, crushing, or breaking them.
  • Timing matters: For optimal effectiveness, consider taking Wellbutrin around the same time daily. This helps maintain a consistent drug level in your body.
  • Wellbutrin SR dosage: Usually taken twice daily, take doses at least 8 hours apart on an empty stomach or post-meal.
  • Wellbutrin XL dosage: Take the medication in the morning upon waking pre or post-meal.
  • Discontinuation guidance: If discontinuation is necessary, consult your doctor first. A gradual decrease in dose over time is recommended to minimize the risk of severe side effects, including seizures. 

Is Wellbutrin used long-term for depression and anxiety?

Wellbutrin XL and Wellbutrin SR serve different purposes when it comes to the duration of treatment for depression and anxiety.

For depression both Wellbutrin XL and Wellbutrin SR are intended for long-term use in the treatment of depression. If deemed safe and effective in collaboration with your doctor, these medications are typically prescribed for extended periods.

For Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), Wellbutrin XL is employed as a short-term treatment for SAD during specific seasons. Treatment commonly spans from autumn to early spring, aligning with the period when SAD symptoms are most prominent. Discontinuation during the summer months is typical, with a potential reinitiation in the autumn when symptoms reoccur.

It’s crucial to discuss the duration of Wellbutrin usage with your doctor. If you have questions or uncertainties regarding the long-term use of Wellbutrin for depression, anxiety, or SAD, your doctor can provide personalized guidance based on your individual health and treatment response. 

How long does it take for Wellbutrin to treat depression and anxiety?

To achieve its maximum therapeutic impact, Wellbutrin may take a few days to improve symptoms and up to 6 weeks for complete recovery. Individuals must be patient and consistent with their medication regimen during this period.

Regular check-ins with a doctor can help assess treatment progress and make any necessary adjustments to ensure optimal outcomes.

When should I see a doctor?

If you encounter symptoms such as suicidal thoughts or actions, worsening depression, anxiety, panic attacks, agitation, restlessness, angry or violent behavior, or signs of mania while taking bupropion (Wellbutrin), it is imperative to cease the medication and contact your doctor immediately. Maintaining open communication with your healthcare provider is crucial, allowing for timely evaluation and adjustment of your treatment plan to prioritize your mental health and well-being.

FAQs about Wellbutrin dosage

Can my Wellbutrin dose be increased from 150 mg to 300 mg?

Yes, your doctor may increase the Wellbutrin XL dose from 150mg to a maximum of 300mg as per the severity of the condition and depending on the duration of your condition. 

Is there a 600-mg daily dosage of Wellbutrin?

No, 600mg is relatively high; the maximum daily dosage of Wellbutrin is 400-450mg for different forms. In the case of 600mg, the risk of side effects like seizures is very high. Therefore, consult your doctor before taking Wellbutrin for your condition. 

Can Wellbutrin be safely used during pregnancy for depression and anxiety treatment?

Bupropion (Wellbutrin SR) may be considered for pregnant individuals who haven’t found sufficient relief with other medications. However, research suggests a potential small risk of miscarriage or heart defects associated with bupropion use during pregnancy. If you are pregnant and considering Wellbutrin, consult your healthcare provider to weigh the potential benefits and risks based on your circumstances.

Your Doctors Online uses high-quality and trustworthy sources to ensure content accuracy and reliability. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and medical associations to provide up-to-date and evidence-based information to the users.

  • Cascade, Elisa F., Amir H. Kalali, and Michael E. Thase. “Use of antidepressants: expansion beyond depression and anxiety.” Psychiatry (Edgmont) 4, no. 12 (2007): 25.
  • Trivedi, Madhukar H., A. John Rush, Thomas J. Carmody, Rafe MJ Donahue, Carolyn Bolden-Watson, Trisha L. Houser, and Alan Metz. “Do bupropion SR and sertraline differ in their effects on anxiety in depressed patients?.” Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 62, no. 10 (2001): 776-781.
  • Dhillon, Sohita, Lily PH Yang, and Monique P. Curran. “Bupropion: a review of its use in the management of major depressive disorder.” Drugs 68 (2008): 653-689.

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