Medication can be an effective way to treat depression. But it's important to know the potential side effects of combining antidepressants and caffeine. Take Wellbutrin, for instance — this antidepressant may not mix well with common substances like alcohol. But how about Wellbutrin and coffee?
Wellbutrin is a brand-name version of the generic drug bupropion, which is commonly used to treat people with depression and to prevent depression from seasonal affective disorder, according to the Mayo Clinic.
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But the drug also has some side effects to be aware of. On that note, here's whether it's safe to mix bupropion and caffeine.
Can You Mix Wellbutrin and Caffeine?
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), caffeine is a bitter substance that occurs naturally in certain plants, including:
- Coffee beans
- Tea leaves
- Kola nuts
- Cacao pods
Caffeine can also be commercially manufactured and added to medicines, energy drinks and snacks. It stimulates your central nervous system, which can make you feel more alert or energetic, per the NLM.
There's currently no evidence to suggest that taking Wellbutrin and caffeine is dangerous. In other words, it's OK to have Wellbutrin and coffee (unless your doctor recommends otherwise).
However, that doesn't necessarily mean you should always mix bupropion and caffeine.
For instance, if you have a caffeine sensitivity, you may experience side effects from the substance that indirectly reinforce symptoms of depression, per the Mayo Clinic, which isn't ideal if you're taking Wellbutrin to treat depression. Caffeine's side effects can include:
- Sleep problems
Stick to four 8-ounce cups of coffee per day or less to avoid potential side effects from caffeine, according to a November 2017 review in Food and Chemical Toxicology.
While it's safe to to have Wellbutrin and coffee at the same time, there are some other safety considerations to keep in mind. For instance, can you drink on Wellbutrin? The short answer is no, Wellbutrin and alcohol do not mix.
According to the Mayo Clinic, drinking on Wellbutrin can exacerbate side effects of the medicine like dizziness, drowsiness, unusual dreams, trouble sleeping and difficulty concentrating. It can also put you at risk for having seizures. Accordingly, don't mix bupropion and alcohol.
Wellbutrin can also cause the following common side effects, per the Mayo Clinic:
- Dry mouth
- Heart palpitations
- Irritability or restlessness
- Difficulty sleeping
It's also possible to get a bupropion headache: Indeed, Wellbutrin does cause headaches for some. However, this side effect is less common than the aforementioned issues, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Wellbutrin may not mix well with a wide array medications, so talk to your doctor about the other medicine you take before starting bupropion to make sure it's safe. For instance, Wellbutrin may not be right for you if you're already taking:
Finally, tell your doctor if you have any underlying illnesses — like an eating disorder or a condition that causes seizures — as bupropion may not be safe for you, according to the Mayo Clinic.
If Wellbutrin causes shortness of breath, chest pain, an allergic reaction or hallucinations, talk to your doctor right away, as these can be signs of a bad reaction to the drug, per the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
- Mayo Clinic: "Bupropion (Oral Route)"
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: "Caffiene"
- Mayo Clinic: "Does caffeine make depression worse?"
- Food and Chemical Toxicology: "Systematic review of the potential adverse effects of caffeine consumption in healthy adults, pregnant women, adolescents, and children"
- Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center: "Bupropion"