Bupropion is a type of medication used to treat depression and help people stop smoking, MayoClinic.com says. Always use bupropion as directed by your doctor and never take more than your prescribed dose to avoid adverse effects. Avoiding stimulants like caffeine while taking bupropion is recommended because stimulants sometimes potentiate the adverse effects of bupropion.
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Bupropion and Caffeine Interaction
The effects of antidepressants like bupropion on rats bred for low activity were tested in a study published in a 1998 issue of “Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior.” The study made use of rat test subjects that were given bupropion and other antidepressants subcutaneously for 1, 12 or 26 days. The rats were then tested for activity in a swim test. Non-antidepressants like caffeine were also tested on the rats to provide a basis of comparison. The results showed that the rats in the group receiving the antidepressant medications like bupropion for at least 14 days were more likely to struggle or actively attempt to escape the water when subjected to the swim test. Long-term administration also reduced the rats’ tendency to float in the water passively during the swim test. More testing is necessary to establish whether the same effects will occur among humans. Although caffeine has not been associated with direct interaction with bupropion, consult your doctor about your caffeine intake before taking bupropion, the University of Maryland Medical Center says.
Risk of Abuse
Any drug that enters the brain and activates the cerebral pleasure centers has the potential to be abused. Activating pleasure centers induces feelings of euphoria and other pleasant effects, which may be addictive to some individuals. A study published in the April 2004 issue of "Pharmacology" shows that bupropion and caffeine both cause stimulation of the brain and can potentially be abused by addicts seeking the drugs' pleasurable effects. Combining the two drugs may increase activation of your brain's pleasure centers and enhance the risk of abuse.
Bupropion Side Effects
Bupropion use has been associated with side effects such as anxiety, dry mouth, hyperventilation, arrhythmia, irritability, insomnia and shortness of breath, MayoClinic.com notes. Skin rash, severe headaches and ringing in the ears are considered less common side effects. High caffeine consumption sometimes causes similar effects. Consuming caffeine while taking bupropion may increase the risk of side effects.
Caffeine Side Effects
Consuming more than 250 mg of caffeine daily elevates your risk of developing adverse effects such as fast heart rate, excessive urination, nausea, vomiting, restlessness, insomnia as well as anxiety and depression, the University of Maryland Medical Center notes. Sudden withdrawal from caffeine sometimes induces symptoms like headaches, drowsiness and irritability.
- Mayo Clinic; Bupropion (Oral Route); August 2011
- "Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior"; Effects of Antidepressant Drugs on Rats Bred for Low Activity in the Swim Test; West CH, et al.; September 1998
- "Pharmacology"; Subjective Effects of Slow-Release Bupropion Versus Caffeine as Determined in a Quasi-Naturalistic Setting; Zernig G, et al.; April 2008
- University of Maryland Medical Center; Caffeine; David C. Dugdale; May 2009