Aplenzin vs Wellbutrin


Major depressive disorder is characterized as a constant feeling of sadness, high stress, and loss of interest. Also referred to as clinical depression or simply ‘depression,’ the exact causes of the condition are unknown. Researchers have identified risk factors such as the loss of a job or relationship or the death of a loved one.

The most effective treatments for major depressive disorder are Aplenzin and Wellbutrin. The mechanism of action for both drugs but data indicates that an active ingredient called bupropion may restore the balance of neurotransmitters by inhibiting the reuptake of dopamine and norepinephrine. Both medications are approved by the FDA.

About Aplenzin vs Wellbutrin

What is Aplenzin?

Aplenzin is among the most common medications prescribed to treat major depressive disorder in adults. It is commonly taken in the morning, with or without food. The Aplenzin tablet must be swallowed whole and not crushed, chewed, or divided. It can take anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks (or even lounge) for patients to notice an improvement in their symptoms.

Researchers are not sure how Aplenzin works, but studies indicate that an active ingredient called bupropion regulates both dopamine and norepinephrine. This serves as a unique mechanism of action that has an efficiency similar to other antidepressants.

What conditions are Aplenzin approved to treat?

Aplenzin is used to treat major depressive disorder in patients and seasonal affective disorder (SAD), often referred to as winter depression. It may also be prescribed as part of a support program to help patients quit smoking. The active ingredient bupropion has been shown to be highly effective in the early stages of smoking cessation withdrawal by minimizing the effects of nicotine withdrawal.

The drug has also been approved for treating the following conditions:

  • Seasonal affective disorder
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

Clinical studies are also underway to see the drug’s effect on obesity and dieting.

How does Aplenzin work for Major Depressive Disorder?

It is not fully known how the medication works for treating major depressive disorder. Researchers believe that Aplenzin works by inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. This restores the neurotransmitter imbalance, which has been shown to help with depression.

Note that any side effects, such as changes in energy levels and low appetite, can improve in the first 1 to 2 weeks. Improvements in these symptoms is an important indication that the medication is working. Note that it can take more than four weeks, or up to eight weeks, for depressed mood and lack of interest in activities to fully improve.

What is Wellbutrin?

Wellbutrin is an antidepressant medication that is used to primarily treat the major depressive disorder and prevent nicotine withdrawal in patients addicted to smoking. Like Aplenzin, Wellbutrin uses an active ingredient called bupropion that regulates dopamine and norepinephrine hormones in the brain, thus improving the person’s mood and alleviating depression.

Wellbutrin has a unique clinical profile with minimal side effects while having a similar efficacy to that of other antidepressants. A major advantage of Wellbutrin is that it does not disrupt a patient's serotonin levels; and, as such, is less likely to cause sexual side effects, weight gain, or sedation.

What conditions is Wellbutrin approved to treat?

Besides major depressive disorder, Wellbutrin has been used in treating a wide range of conditions that mostly require mood regulation. Examples of such conditions include smoking cessation, obesity, dieting, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and others.

How does Wellbutrin work for Major Depressive Disorder?

Wellbutrin works by regulating the brain’s neurotransmitters, known as dopamine and norepinephrine. The active ingredient bupropion retains these neurotransmitters for a longer period of time so that the patient's mood may be improved. This makes it ideal for treating conditions that are associated with dopamine disorders, such as depression and addiction.


How effective are Aplenzin and Wellbutrin for treating depression?

Both Aplenzin and Wellbutrin have been found to be very effective in treating depression. The medications treat the same conditions in the same way. The only difference is that Aplenzin is the only form of bupropion that is viable in a high dose and does not have a lower-cost generic alternative, which makes it relatively expensive for patients.

On the other hand, Wellbutrin is available as a lower-cost generic medication. Wellbutrin is produced by GlaxoSmithKline and contains bupropion hydrochloride. Aplenzin, on the other hand, pairs the bupropion molecule with a different halogen called Bromine. The side effect profile of both medications is similar, including headache and insomnia. In other words, patients may be prescribed either Wellbutrin or Aplenzin by their doctor to treat depression and addiction to smoking.

A major advantage of using either Wellbutrin or Aplenzin is that they have fewer side effects compared to other antidepressants. Clinical trials have shown that Wellbutrin and Aplenzin have fewer sexual side effects and a higher success rate.

Side Effects

What are the most common side effects of Aplenzin?

Some of the most common side effects of Aplenzin include:

  • Dizziness
  • Feeling of anxiousness
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Constipation
  • Aching in the joints
  • Dry mouth
  • Stuffy nose
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Headache
  • Decreased appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Constipation
  • Excessive sweating

Are there any potential serious side effects of Aplenzin?

* If you experience any of these serious side effects, seek medical help immediately

  • Seizure
  • Eye pain
  • Widened pupils
  • Changes in vision (such as blurred vision and seeing rainbows around lights at night)
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Swelling

What are the most common side effects of Wellbutrin?

Some of the most common side effects of Wellbutrin include:

  • Nausea
  • Dry mouth
  • Headache
  • Constipation
  • Increased sweating
  • Joint aches
  • Sore throat
  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness
  • Diarrhea
  • Strange taste in the mouth
  • Weight loss
  • Dizziness
  • Sore throat

Are there any potential serious side effects of Wellbutrin?

* If you experience any of these serious side effects, seek medical help immediately

  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Severe high blood pressure
  • Irregular heartbeat and other heart problems
  • Homicidal thoughts
  • Worsened case of depression
  • Seizures
  • Psychosis, hallucinations, panic attacks, and mania
  • Angle-closure glaucoma

Contraindications and interactions

Warnings and general precautions for Aplenzin and Wellbutrin

Both Aplenzin and Wellbutrin have a boxed warning for suicidal thoughts and behaviors. It is common for doctors to monitor patients for signs of suicidal thoughts when they first receive Aplenzin treatment. If you or your loved one has thoughts about self-harm, your doctors should be informed at the earliest.

It is common for a small percentage of the population to have an allergic reaction to Aplenzin. Your doctor may prescribe a different medication depending on the severity of the allergic reaction. It is also worth mentioning that drinking alcohol or suddenly stopping alcohol while taking Aplenzin can significantly increase one's risk for seizure.

Patients who have seizures should not take these medications. Taking these medications may increase their risk of further seizures. Your doctor may prescribe a different depression treatment that is better suited to you.

Another common warning for patients taking Wellbutrin and Aplenzin is the risk of narrow-angle glaucoma. These medications can increase pressure in the eyes, which could lead to new or worsening narrow-angle glaucoma. This kind of glaucoma is known as angle closure glaucoma.

You should not take these medications before bedtime to avoid trouble sleeping at night. Don’t take an extra dose to make up for a missed dose. Take the next dose at your regularly scheduled time. Taking too much of either Aplenzin or Wellbutrin will increase your risk of seizures and other serious side effects.

Finally, it is possible for patients to overdose on Aplenzin and Wellbutrin. Taking more than the recommended dose of either medication can lead to serious side effects and a higher risk of seizure. You may even lose consciousness due to these seizures.

Contraindications and important interactions for Aplenzin and Wellbutrin



Both drugs contain the same active ingredient and have similar contraindications. Aplenzin and Wellbutrin are contraindicated in patients with a history of hypersensitivity to bupropion. The drug is contraindicated in patients with the following conditions:

  • Pre-existing seizure disorder
  • CNS tumor
  • CNS infection
  • Bulimia nervosa
  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Severe stroke

Drug/Medication Interactions


  • Both Aplenzin and Wellbutrin have similar drug/medication interactions. These are as follows:
  • 4-Methoxyamphetamine: The effect of this drug can be decreased when combined with bupropion.
  • 5-methoxy-N, N-dimethyltryptamine: The effect of this drug can be decreased when combined with bupropion.
  • Acebutolol: The metabolism of this drug can be decreased when combined with bupropion.
  • Acetaminophen: The metabolism of this drug can be decreased when combined with bupropion.
  • Almotriptan: The metabolism of Almotriptan can be decreased when combined with bupropion.

Other interactions with Aplenzin and Wellbutrin include:

  • Abilify
  • Adderall
  • Ambien
  • Cymbalta
  • Lexapro
  • Pristiq
  • Trazodone
  • Vyvanse
  • Xanax
  • Topamax

Note that these drugs should not be taken with other medications that can slow down the breathing rate, such as alcohol, CNS depressants, general anesthetics, and opioids. This is because combining them together will increase the risk of life-threatening side effects.

Food/Beverage/Supplement Interactions


Try to avoid foods that contain a high level of caffeine, including chocolate.

Do not drink alcohol while taking Aplenzin because it will alter the effects of the medication. Serious side effects may occur if you take the two together.

Drinking large amounts of caffeinated drinks can make the side effects of Aplenzin worse.

Do not combine caffeinated beverages with Aplenzin because it could lead to side effects such as difficulty sleeping, increased blood pressure, and even seizures.

Avoid caffeine supplements when taking Aplenzin.


Avoid food groups that contain caffeine, such as chocolate.

You should never combine alcohol with Wellbutrin because doing so may cause severe side effects.

Limit your consumption of caffeinated drinks such as coffee and tea because they can lead to severe side effects when combined with Wellbutrin.

Do not combine Wellbutrin with caffeine supplements.

Cost Comparison

How much do Aplenzin and Wellbutrin cost?

Wellbutrin is a moderately priced drug that is often covered by most health insurance plans, including Medicare. Prices at some pharmacies may be lower. By contrast, most prescription drug plans do not cover Aplenzin.

The cost of Aplenzin for a supply of 30 tablets is around $2,000, depending on the pharmacy. By contrast, the price for Wellbutrin tablets can be as low as $12 for a supply of 30 tablets, depending on your insurance provider and pharmacy. This makes Wellbutrin more accessible to most patients.

Popularity of Aplenzin and Wellbutrin

Both Wellbutrin and Aplenzin are commonly prescribed to patients because they have been shown to be highly effective at treating depression and addiction. The total estimated number of prescriptions in the US for drugs containing bupropion is over 28 million.



So there you have it, an in-depth look at Aplenzin and Wellbutrin. Both medications contain the active ingredient bupropion. The only difference is the salt in the medication (hydrochloride vs. hydrobromide), which is an inactive ingredient and depends on the manufacturer.

As a consequence, the medications have the same set of side effects, efficacy, and clinical profile. It is also worth noting that the price per tablet for Aplenzin is much higher than that of Wellbutrin. You may be able to secure a supply of 30 tablets of Wellbutrin for just under $12, while Aplenzin will set you back around $2000.