June 19th, 2006


Alcohol and Wellbutrin

So, as a sort of PSA, I would just like to encourage people to believe in the "do not drink alcohol while taking wellbutrin" warning on the label.

I did some research, and for the most part, doctors recommend that one not change drastically one's alcohol consumption pattern while taking wellbutrin. However, my experience has shown that any drinking at all is bound to negatively impact the effectiveness of the medicine. I'm at best a light drinker - other than a drink on nerdnight, and maybe one or two on the weekend, my consumption of alcohol is very limited. However, I've discovered that fairly predictably, if I drink anything at all, the following day the medicine will stop having any palliative effect. I can tell that my dosage is appropriate when my appetitie is limited, I have to dirnk a lot of water to stay hydrated, and I have more energy (some of it nervous energy) than normal. But this weekend I had a cocktail and-a-half on Friday night, and a couple of glasses of wine Saturday night - and by Sunday I was feeling depressive, hungry, and bloated like I was retaining water.

I've read that Wellbutrin works in your liver; it breaks down into a series of chemicals that increase your uptake of serotonins and dopamine. But alcohol is metabolized in the liver as well - so I'm guessing that what's happening is that when my liver is too busy getting the alcohol out of my blood stream, it either severely reduces of stops altogether breaking down the Wellbutrin. Result: an effective temporary lapse in medicine, like I hadn't been taking it at all.

So, for any of you out there also on Wellbutrin - I highly recommend just not drinking at all.