Wellbutrin Vs. Celexa


Depression is a major health disorder that impacts the way an individual functions, thinks and feels. It gradually starts impacting everyday activities in severe cases. Unfortunately, depression is a common mental health problem. Over 21.0 million American adults experience at least one depressive episode.

However, there are multiple treatments available for depression, including lifestyle adjustments, therapy, and medication. Celexa (Citalopram) and Wellbutrin (Bupropion) are among the most common antidepressants used to treat this condition.

While both these medications are antidepressants, Wellbutrin is an aminoketone, and Celexa is Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI).

About Wellbutrin and Celexa

What is Wellbutrin?

Wellbutrin is an antidepressant that has been approved for depression by FDA since 1985. This medication works directly in the brain nerves to help manage major depression. It has also been approved for seasonal affective disorder treatment but not for pediatric patients. Wellbutrin comes in sustained-release, extended-release, and immediate-release forms.

What conditions is Wellbutrin approved to treat?

FDA has given approval for all Wellbutrin forms for the treatment of the major depressive disorder (MDD). However, this medication is also used for the treatment of other disorders off-label. These include:

  • Sexual dysfunction (anti-depressant-induced)
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Bipolar disorder linked to depression
  • Obesity
  • ADHD for pediatric patients

It is important to inform your doctor if you have or are suffering from certain conditions before starting Wellbutrin. These include seizures, eating disorders, drug dependency, heart disease, diabetes, kidney and liver issues, psychiatric illness, and glaucoma.

How does Wellbutrin work for Depression?

People who are struggling with major depressive disorder have reduced amounts of dopamine and norepinephrine. This medication prevents the reabsorption of these chemicals. As a result, there is an increase in the levels of these chemicals that help in the management of depression.

You might notice an improvement in your appetite, energy, and sleep within the initial two weeks of taking Wellbutrin. This is a strong indication that the medication has started to work. Within the next six to eight weeks of taking this antidepressant, you will start noticing an improvement in your interest in activities and depressed mood.

What is Celexa?

FDA approved this medication for the treatment of adult depression in 1998. It works by enhancing the levels of serotonin in your body to regulate your mood and reduce the level of depression. It takes about two weeks for the medication to show improvement in the symptoms but it might take longer to experience the full benefits.

What conditions is Celexa approved to treat?

Celexa has been approved for the treatment of depression. However, it is also used for the treatment of other conditions off-label. These include:

  • Alcohol use disorder
  • Panic disorder
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Postmenopausal flushing
  • Coronary arteriosclerosis
  • Binge eating

It is important to inform your doctor if you have been taking certain medications before starting Celexa. These medications include heart disorder drugs, SSRIs or other antidepressants, triptans, tramadol, cimetidine, and other supplements. Moreover, make sure to inform the doctor if you have or have had conditions like liver issues, convulsions or seizures, heart issues, stroke, high blood pressure, bipolar disorder, or low sodium levels.

How does Celexa work for Depression?

Celexa, like all SSRIs, works by improving the serotine levels in your brain. Serotine is a hormone that affects and regulates your sleep, mood, and metabolism. Reduced serotine levels have been linked to increased levels of depression and anxiety. Therefore, Celexa helps manage depression by increasing the serotonin in the body.


How effective are Wellbutrin and Celexa for treating Depression?

Wellbutrin and Celexa have been found to be effective in treating the symptoms of depression. However, it is highly recommended that depression must be initially treated with SSRI medications, like Celexa, before other antidepressants, like Wellbutrin.

Wellbutrin blocks the brain from the reabsorption of dopamine and norepinephrine chemicals that increase the levels to help manage depression symptoms. On the other hand, Celexa blocks the neurons' reabsorption of serotonin. As a result, the level of serotonin increases, which enhances the message transmission between neurons.

Both these antidepressants work differently but are also prescribed together to make the treatment more effective in severe cases. For patients struggling with a lack of motivation and concentration problems, Wellbutrin is a great option. Moreover, Celexa can also combine with it to manage serotonin levels if the patient also experiences high anxiety and depression.

These medications are usually started with a lower dose to assess the side effects and the reactions. The healthcare provider can later increase the dose as required.

Dosage information

How is Wellbutrin administered for Depression?

Wellbutrin dosage information

The standard dose for Wellbutrin is 100 mg dose thrice a day, depending on the condition.

How is Celexa administered for Depression?

Celexa dosage information

The standard dose for Celexa is 20 mg dose per day, depending on the condition.

Side Effects

What are the most common side effects of Wellbutrin?

Some of the common side effects of this medication include:

  • Dizziness
  • Constipation
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Dry mouth
  • Insomnia
  • Headache
  • Weight loss
  • Sore throat
  • Nausea

Are there any potential serious side effects of Wellbutrin?

Wellbutrin may cause serious side effects including:

  • Blurred vision
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Seizures (convulsions)
  • Increased energy
  • Confusion
  • Extreme emotions
  • Irregular or fast heartbeat
  • Racing thoughts
  • Eye swelling or pain
  • Tunnel vision
  • Reckless behavior
  • Severe sleep problems
  • Unusual changes in behavior or mood
  • Talking more than usual

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

It is also possible to overdose on Wellbutrin. Some of the common symptoms of Wellbutrin overdose include:

  • Hallucinations
  • Dizziness
  • Insomnia
  • Heart palpitations
  • Tachycardia
  • Seizures
  • Rash
  • Tremors

Are there the most common side effects of Celexa?

Some common side effects of this medication include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Impotence
  • Decreased sexual desire
  • Increased urination or sweating
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Dry mouth
  • Sneezing or sore throat
  • Insomnia
  • Weight changes
  • Drowsiness
  • Upset stomach

Are there any potential serious side effects of Celexa?

Some severe side effects of Celexa include:

  • Suicidal behaviors and thoughts in young adults and children
  • Withdrawal symptoms
  • Mania or hypomania
  • Abnormal heart rhythms
  • Low sodium level in blood
  • Allergic reaction
  • Seizures
  • Serotonin syndrome
  • Bleeding or bruising easily

* If you experience any of these symptoms, seek medical help immediately

It is also possible to overdose on Celexa, and in rare cases, an overdose can be fatal. Some common symptoms of Celexa overdose include:

  • Poor coordination
  • Muscle rigidity
  • Agitation
  • Confusion
  • Restlessness
  • Hallucinations
  • Delirium
  • Muscle twitches

Contraindications and Interactions

Warnings and general precautions for Wellbutrin and Celexa

There is a black box warning for Wellbutrin by FDA for suicidal thoughts and behaviors. It may worsen depression symptoms in certain cases. This medication might enhance the risk of seizure if the patient is taking a high dose. Wellbutrin may increase the patient's risk of high blood pressure, glaucoma, mania, and psychosis.

Celexa also has an FDA black box warning for suicidal thoughts, particularly among children and young individuals. All patients must be closely monitored when taking this medication. Mixing this medication with alcohol should be avoided as it could lead to severe complications and drowsiness. Celexa has been linked with serious hyponatremia condition in certain cases, causing severe symptoms like memory impairment and unsteadiness.

Celexa can only be taken by pregnant women if the benefit is higher for the mother compared with the risk for the child. Wellbutrin can be prescribed during pregnancy but has been found to increase the birth defects and miscarriage risk.



Wellbutrin is contraindicated among patients with an eating disorder like bulimia or seizure disorder.

It is wiser to avoid this medication for those struggling with sudden discontinuation of barbiturates, alcohol benzodiazepines, and antiepileptic drugs.

It must not be taken within 14 days of taking Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs). This might result in a hypertensive reaction risk.

This antidepressant is contraindicated among patients struggling with hypersensitivity to any of its ingredients.


Avoid using any Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs) within 14 days of taking Celexa, as it might result in serotonin syndrome.

Celexa must not be taken with migraine medications and other antidepressants.

Avoid using any cough suppressant dextromethorphan with this antidepressant.

Drug/Medication Interactions


  • Antihistamines that make you sleepy,
  • Parkinson's disease medicines
  • Bronchodilators
  • Nausea/vomiting/motion sickness medicines
  • Antibiotics
  • Pituitary gland tumor medication
  • Birth control pills
  • Diet pills
  • Heart or blood pressure medications
  • Seizure medications
  • HIV or AIDS medications
  • ADHD medications
  • Hormone replacement estrogens
  • Irritable bowel or ulcer medications
  • Asthma, blood thinners, and insulin medications
  • Oral diabetes medication
  • Stimulants
  • Bladder or urinary medications


  • Ziprasidone
  • Thioridazine
  • Sparfloxacin
  • Rasagiline
  • Piperaquine
  • Tranylcypromine
  • Procarbazine
  • Nelfinavir
  • Pimozide
  • Metoclopramide
  • Selegiline
  • Pargyline
  • Moclobemide
  • Levoketoconazole
  • Methylene Blue
  • Phenelzine
  • Isocarboxazid
  • Mesoridazine
  • Furazolidone
  • Linezolid
  • Cisapride
  • Levomethadyl
  • Nialamide
  • Ketoconazole
  • Bepridil
  • Toloxatone
  • Fluconazole
  • Terfenadine
  • Clorgyline
  • Iproniazid
  • Dronedarone
  • Bromopride


Food/Beverage/Supplement Interactions


Wellbutrin can be taken with food and any supplement without any interactions.

It is highly recommended to avoid having alcohol with this medication as it could cause serious side effects. Caffeine with Wellbutrin could result in higher nervousness or agitation.

Inform the doctor if you are taking any herbs or supplements before taking Wellbutrin.


There haven’t been any interactions proven between Celexa and food.

Combining Celexa with alcohol may lead to severe side effects like dizziness, concentration problems, and drowsiness, as well as lack of judgment. Mixing with caffeine could worsen the symptoms.

It is best not to use fentanyl, amphetamines, buspirone, St John's wort, tryptophan, lithium, methylene blue injection, or some migraine or pain medications.

Cost Comparison

How much do Wellbutrin and Celexa cost?

Wellbutrin’s average cost is around $87 for 30 oral tablets of 75 mg without any insurance. The average cost for 100 mg oral tablets is $351.61 for 100 tablets. On the other hand, Celexa can be found for $65 for 20 mg tablets. The price can vary based on the pharmacy you buy these medications from.

Popularity of Wellbutrin and Celexa

Celexa and Wellbutrin are among the commonly prescribed antidepressants in America. About 25 million people use Wellbutrin in the US for depression treatment and to enhance their mood and energy levels. Around 18 million US adults use Celexa for depression treatment, and this medication is one of the top 20 prescribed antidepressants.



Depression can take a major toll on individuals and impact their work, social life, and relationships. It is integral to consult a mental health practitioner to get the right treatment immediately. Wellbutrin and Celexa should only be taken if your doctor prescribes them.

These are among the most popular antidepressants that have proven to be effective in the treatment of depression and related symptoms. While both work in different ways, it is best to use Celexa first before trying Wellbutrin, depending on your symptoms and conditions.

Your doctor will discuss the best treatment plan for you and prescribe the antidepressant that would work best for your condition.