Wellbutrin and Insomnia

by on August 6, 2012

Wellbutrin can cause a number of side effects and insomnia appears to be one of the most commonly reported. Studies show that up to 18.6 percent of people taking Wellbutrin experience insomnia. However, it is quite difficult to determine whether insomnia is a direct side effect of Wellbutrin because it was also reported by up to 15.7 percent of people who did not use the drug.

How Wellbutrin May Cause Insomnia

Wellbutrin (Bupropion) is intended for people who have depression. It works on the brain by affecting the brain’s chemical messengers (neurotransmitters) potentially making the brain cells more active and able to transmit messages to one another. Increased amount of neurotransmitters causes the brain to be highly active possibly affecting cognition, physical activity, and even causing feelings of tiredness. Although this pharmacologic effect of the drug is beneficial in the treatment of depression, it results in trouble sleeping and reduced sleep efficiency, especially when taken around bedtime.

In some patients with depression, insomnia can be one of the presenting symptoms. The use of Wellbutrin may increase the chances of a patient to experience this trouble sleeping. It is important that you inform your healthcare provider if you have insomnia as a symptom of your depression. This way your healthcare provider will consider the possibility of worsening insomnia. Depending on the severity of the sleeping disturbance, your doctor may recommend a lower dose of Wellbutrin.

Insomnia caused by Wellbutrin may be considered transient because it occurs only as a result of medication use. Once the primary emotional condition is treated and medication treatment is no longer required, the insomnia often goes away. However, it is difficult to differentiate if the insomnia is caused by depression or the medication. The only thing that can be done is to manage and treat it.

Managing Insomnia Caused by Wellbutrin

Insomnia due to Wellbutrin is managed the same way as regular insomnia. Take note that insomnia does not only mean difficulty going to sleep, it also pertains to trouble maintaining sleep, waking up in the middle of sleep and difficulty getting back to sleep, and getting un-refreshing sleep.

There are a lot of factors that can trigger insomnia as such there is no one way of managing this side effect. To achieve a relaxing, satisfying sleep, there are several things that need to be done. Here are some healthy sleep habits that can help you manage insomnia with Wellbutrin:

  • Maintain a regular sleep and wake-up time. Try to go to bed and wake up around the same time of the day.
  • Avoid substances that can stimulate you such as alcohol, caffeine and nicotine at least four to six hours before sleep.
  • Do not engage in extreme physical activity or exercise within two hours before sleeping. However, exercising in the morning or six hours before sleep may help make sleep better.
  • Do not eat large amount of food within two hours of sleep.
  • Avoid late afternoon naps.
  • Keep your room conducive for sleep such as making it dark, quite and with a comfortable temperature.
  • If you cannot fall asleep within 30 minutes, get up and do some quiet activity and then return to bed only when you feel sleepy.
  • Performing relaxing pre-sleep ritual 30 minutes before bedtime can make sleep better.

These suggestions would help you manage and treat insomnia. If these tips do not help, be sure to consult your healthcare provider for other treatment options.