Zoloft and Wellbutrin are two prescription medications that are used to treat major depressive disorder. Major Depressive Disorder, or MDD, is one of the most common mental health disorders in the United States.
MDD is characterized by a period of time, lasting two or more weeks, where an affected person experiences a loss of interest in activities that typically cause happiness or a depressive mood. People with MDD also usually have trouble with energy, concentration, eating, and sleeping.
Are Zoloft and Wellbutrin the same thing?
Zoloft (sertraline) and Wellbutrin (bupropion) are antidepressants that are used to manage major depression. Wellbutrin is also used to treat seasonal affective disorder. This is a type of depression that usually occurs as the days grow shorter in the winter and fall.
It is believed that the people that are affected by seasonal affective disorder react unfavorably to the colder temperature as well as the declining amount of lights as autumn and winter progress. The symptoms of SAD include symptoms that are typical for depression, such as weight gain and excessive sleeping and eating, during the fall and winter months.
Once the seasons begin to change, there is complete remission from depression in the months of summer and spring. The Zyban brand of Wellbutrin is also used to help people to stop smoking by reducing the withdrawal effects they experience.
Zoloft is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor or SSRI antidepressant. It is used to treat premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), anxiety disorders, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), panic disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
The Difference Between Wellbutrin and Zoloft
As we had previously mentioned, Wellbutrin is used in the treatment of seasonal affective disorder and major depressive disorder. Bupropion, the active ingredient in this medicine, has been previously marketed under the name Zyban, and it is also approved for people to use to quit smoking.
At the neuronal level, Wellbutrin works as a norepinephrine and dopamine reuptake inhibitor which leaves more norepinephrine and dopamine available in the brain. Improved mood is associated with higher levels of norepinephrine and dopamine.
Zoloft is used in the treatment of depression, and it works by blocking the reuptake of serotonin at the neuronal synapse. Because it blocks serotonin’s reuptake, it is classified as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor or SSRI for short. What this does is it leaves more serotonin that is available since higher levels of serotonin are associated with improved energy levels and mood.
When choosing a therapy, one of the most important factors that should definitely be considered is how well one can tolerate the side effects of the antidepressants.
Antidepressants do not provide immediate relief. It can take between four to six weeks to see the medication’s effectiveness in treating the symptoms of depression. However, before the full benefit of the antidepressants is realized, some patients can feel tempted to stop taking it due to the uncomfortable side effects.
Zoloft is more likely to cause symptoms than Wellbutrin which can affect daily functioning and activities you might have planned. Zoloft can also cause decreased libido and sexual dysfunction, while these side effects aren’t likely to be caused by Wellbutrin.
Something that is also common when taking Zoloft is feeling excessive drowsiness, and it is important for providers and patients to consider this since it can affect the safety and productivity of the person during treatment.
Below is a list of side effects for both medications. This isn’t intended to be a complete list of side effects that can occur when taking these medications. To get a complete list of possible side effects, make sure that you consult a doctor, pharmacist, or another medical professional.
Wellbutrin has some possible side effects, which include:
- Weight loss or gain
- Increased urination
- Strange taste in the mouth
- Joint aches
- Dry mouth
- Changes in appetite
- Increased sweating
- Loss of interest in sex
- Ringing in the ears
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- Itching or skin rash
- Seizures (especially at higher doses)
- Problems or blurred vision
- Stomach pain
On the other hand, the possible side effects of Zoloft include:
- Abnormal ejaculation
- Decreased sex drive
- Dry mouth
- Stomach pain
- Skin rash
- Sleep problems (insomnia)
- Changes in appetite
- Weight loss
- Dry mouth
- Difficulty having an orgasm
- Upset stomach
You should inform your doctor if you’re experiencing some more serious side effects of Zoloft, such as:
- Feeling like you might pass out, have uneven or fast heartbeats, confusion, sweating, high fever, rigid or very stiff muscles.
- Tremors, overactive reflexes, fever, agitation, and hallucinations.
- Loss of coordination, loss of appetite, feeling unsteady, vomiting, and nausea.
- Breathing that stops, shallow breathing, fainting, seizure, memory problems, weakness, and trouble concentrating.
Wellbutrin shouldn’t be taken if you:
- Have or had epilepsy or a seizure disorder.
- Within the last 14 days, you have taken certain medications for depression called MAOIs, or monoamine oxidase inhibitors, such as Marplan (isocarboxazid), Parnate (tranylcypromine sulfate), or Nardil (phenelzine sulfate).
- You have abruptly stopped drinking or you still drink a lot of alcohol, or you use benzodiazepines or sedatives that make you sleepy, or you have just suddenly stopped using these medicines.
- Are taking Zyban or any other medicines that contain bupropion hydrochlorides, such as Wellbutrin XL Extended-Release Tablets or Wellbutrin SR Sustained-Release Tablets. Bupropion is the same ingredient that is contained in Wellbutrin.
- Had or have an eating disorder such as bulimia or anorexia nervosa.
- Are allergic to bupropion, the active ingredient in Wellbutrin.
Zoloft shouldn’t be taken if you:
- Take certain medications for depression called MAOIs, or monoamine oxidase inhibitors.
- Haven’t stopped taking an MAOI, or monoamine oxidase inhibitor within 2 weeks of stopping Zoloft unless your healthcare provider has directed you to do so.
- Take disulfiram due to the alcohol content.
- Have taken any medicine that contains sertraline such as sertraline hydrochloride.
- Are allergic to sertraline or any other ingredients that can be found in Zoloft.
- Have taken the antipsychotic medicine pimozide, since this can result in some serious heart problems.
When you abruptly discontinue Zoloft, some side effects from the withdrawal can include memory impairment, fatigue, flu-like symptoms, and abdominal cramps.
How To Consume
Wellbutrin should be taken as prescribed by your doctor. However, keep in mind that you should take it at the same time each day and the doses of the medicine should be taken at least six hours apart from one another. The medicine can be taken with or without food.
Instead of taking an extra tablet when you miss a dose, you should wait and take your next tablet at the time you typically would. It is important to not make up for the dose you forgot by taking two tablets since taking too much Wellbutrin can increase your chance of having a seizure.
If you overdose or take too much of this medicine, make sure that you call the poison control center or your local emergency room as soon as possible. Make sure that you talk to your doctor before you stop taking Wellbutrin or change your dose.
Zoloft should also be taken as prescribed by your doctor. Until you get the right dose of Zoloft, your doctor might need to tweak the amount until you experience the desired and optimal benefit.
Zoloft can be taken with or without food. After you mix Zoloft Oral solution, it might look a bit hazy or cloudy, but this is perfectly normal since it must be diluted before you use it. When the Zoloft Oral Solution is being diluted, you can use only orange juice, lemonade, lime or lemon soda, ginger ale, or water.
Latex is contained in the oral dropper. Ask your skin care provider about what is the best way to measure your medicine in case you are allergic or sensitive to latex.
If you missed taking a dose of this medicine, take the missed dose as soon as you can remember. Skip the missed dose if the time has almost come for your next dose, and then take the next dose at the time you usually would. Make sure that you don’t take more than one dose of this medicine at the same time.
Zoloft is used to treat severe cases of premenstrual dysphoric disorder, social anxiety disorder or social phobia, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic attacks, and depression.
This medication can improve your energy level, appetite, sleep, and mood. It can help in decreasing the number of panic attacks a person has, unwanted thoughts, anxiety, and fear.
On the other hand, Wellbutrin is used to treat depression. It helps to restore the balance of specific neurotransmitters in your brain, thus improving your feeling of well-being and your mood.
As you can see, even though both Wellbutrin and Zoloft are classified as antidepressants, they are not the same drug. We hope that you found our article useful, and make sure you consult your doctor before consuming Zoloft or Wellbutrin.