Wellbutrin (bupropion hydrochloride) is in the aminoketone class of anti-depressants. The most recent version is Wellbutrin XL, an extended release version of bupropion. Bupropion was initially developed in 1966 and first approved by the FDA as Wellbutrin in 1985. Bupropion was additionally approved by the FDA for smoking cessation. GlaxoSmithKline then marketed the drug under the name Zyban as treatment for smoking withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Despite nearly 25 years of research linking certain health problems to Wellbutrin use, bupropion is being studied for treatment of ADHD, Restless Leg Syndrome, Seasonal Affective Disorder, increased sex drive in women and weight loss.
Wellbutrin side effects can be severe, one of which is seizure. The drug was almost immediately recalled because of a high rate of seizures, the risk of which was reduced by cutting the dosage in half. Some medical professionals have estimated that the rate of seizures in Wellbutrin users may be four times that of other antidepressants. Similarly, birth defects, particularly cardiac birth defects, are not considered to be increased by other antidepressants, such as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs). The primary advantage of Wellbutrin over other antidepressants is that it doesn’t cause sexual dysfunction in men and may even increase sex drive in both men and women.
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Certain groups of persons experienced much more severe Wellbutrin health problems than others. It was first noted that children under 18 were much more likely to become suicidal while taking Wellbutrin. In 2006 the FDA finally acknowledged the serious risk of suicide in young adults aged 18 – 24 that have taken these anti-depressants. Even though individual FDA officials and even clinical studies by outside entities such as Columbia University confirmed that these anti-depressants almost doubled the rate of suicide in children, it was not until the FDA heard the testimony of parents directly impacted by suicides of their children that the agency took action, and then it was only a warning regarding the risk of deepening depression and possible suicide that appeared on the product label.
Wellbutrin birth defects have recently been brought to light by the National Birth Defects Prevention Study, which is funded by the CDC. These birth defects have most typically affected the heart, a problem known as a Left Outflow Cardiac Birth Defect.
The experienced Mass Torts staff at LONCAR & ASSOCIATES is currently reviewing potential Wellbutrin lawsuits involving a range of psychiatric problems, seizure, and birth defects. If you have a question or have suffered serious side effects from Wellbutrin, contact my office as soon as possible. Our Mass Torts staff can be reached by email or by calling 1-800-285-HURT.