A visitor asked about an unusual side effect of increasing Wellbutrin (bupropion) dosage from 150 to 300 mg: increased libido.
I looked at the package insert (prescribing information that the FDA approves for a drug) and didn’t see increased libido in the side effect profiles, including the rare side effect profiles. I did a medline search and saw a couple of case reports of hypersexuality from bupropion:
J Clin Psychiatry. 2003 Oct;64(10):1268-9. “Effect of bupropion on sexual dysfunction induced by fluoxetine: a case report of hypersexuality.” Chollet CA, Andreatini R.
* Case Reports
PMID: 14658981 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
Can J Psychiatry. 1998 Aug;43(6):644-5. “Bupropion-SR-induced increased libido and spontaneous orgasm.” Labbate LA.
* Case Reports
PMID: 9729695 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
I wanted to see if anyone either knows additional information about this or have experienced this. Wellbutrin is often prescribed for those concerned with the sexual side effects of SSRI-type of drugs, and the low incidence of sexual side effect is a feature of this drug that the manufacturer markets to physicians. However, I’m not aware of this drug increasing libido to a debilitating level.
Can anyone help with this visitor’s question?
2010 Update: Since I had posted this in 2006, I’m surprised at the outpouring of feedback from people who have indeed experienced hypsersexuality as a side effect to Wellbutrin. You can learn a lot from reading the comments (there are 86 comments as of September 2010)!
Remember: Wellbutrin is approved for usage in the treatment of depression. Any other usage outside of this means that your doctor has prescribed it off-label. Here is a link to the PDF of the product information (also known as package insert, or PI) via Google Docs, or, you can also get the same PDF PI directly from the GSK website
2012 Update: “Wellbutrin: The United States also alleges that, from January 1999 to December 2003, GSK promoted Wellbutrin, approved at that time only for Major Depressive Disorder, for weight loss, the treatment of sexual dysfunction, substance addictions and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, among other off-label uses. The United States contends that GSK paid millions of dollars to doctors to speak at and attend meetings, sometimes at lavish resorts, at which the off-label uses of Wellbutrin were routinely promoted and also used sales representatives, sham advisory boards, and supposedly independent Continuing Medical Education (CME) programs to promote Wllbutrin for these unapproved uses. GSK has agreed to plead guilty to misbranding Wellbutrin in that its labeling did not bear adequate directions for these off-label uses. For the Paxil and Wellbutrin misbranding offenses, GSK has agreed to pay a criminal fine and forfeiture of $757,387,200.” http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2012/July/12-civ-842.html — “GlaxoSmithKline to Plead Guilty and Pay $3 Billion to Resolve Fraud Allegations and Failure to Report Safety Data – Largest Health Care Fraud Settlement in U.S. History”