Drug vs Drug

Buspirone vs. Bupropion:
Which Is Better For You?

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Discover the differences between buspirone and bupropion and how a genetic test can help you choose the right medication for your needs.

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Buspirone vs Bupropion

Mental health is a rising concern in the United States. While many people struggle with mental wellness conditions, a significant proportion don’t seek help — for instance, over 40% of people with generalized anxiety disorder remain untreated.

Whether you’re suffering from depression, anxietyADHD or a similar condition, it’s important to consult your healthcare provider and find treatment options that work for you. When left unaddressed, these conditions can worsen and negatively impact all aspects of life. In this article, we’ll review two common mental health medications: buspirone vs bupropion. Read on to learn more about their similarities, differences and how DNA testing can help you choose between them.

Buspirone vs Bupropion: What Are They?

Although they may have similar sounding names, buspirone and bupropion are two very different drugs. Let’s take a closer look at how they work.

Buspirone

Buspirone medication is a generic drug designed to provide quick relief of anxiety symptoms. It belongs to a class of drugs known as azapirones, which includes various anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) and antipsychotic medications. To lower anxiety symptoms, buspirone boosts the following neurotransmitters:

  • Dopamine: Informally called the “happy hormone,” this neurotransmitter influences how we feel pleasure.

  • Serotonin: This neurotransmitter plays a role in mood, emotions, appetite and digestion.

The most commonly known branded version of buspirone is Buspar, which was discontinued in 2010. However, people can still take the generic version.

Bupropion

Bupropion is a generic drug that’s usually prescribed to people with depressive symptoms. It belongs to a class of drugs called antidepressants, which can be used to treat both depression and anxiety disorders. To improve moods and discourage negative thoughts, bupropion increases levels of these neurotransmitters:

  • Norepinephrine: Higher levels of this neurotransmitter can lead to improved mood and concentration.

  • Dopamine: As mentioned earlier, dopamine is often called the “happy hormone” and can impact mood and motivation.

There are several different branded versions of bupropion — the most well-known ones include Wellbutrin, Wellbutrin XL, Forfivo XL and Zyban.

Can Buspirone and Bupropion Be Taken Together?

About 50% of people with anxiety also experience depression (and vice versa). Because buspirone is used to treat anxiety, and bupropion is used to treat depression, some patients have wondered: can you take them together?

While there are no known drug interactions between buspirone and bupropion, not much research has been done about taking these medications together. If you’re curious about a joint depression and anxiety treatment, talk to your healthcare provider.

Buspirone vs Bupropion: Dosage Amounts

Since buspirone and bupropion have different strengths and acting speeds, they’re available in varying dosage amounts. The chart below outlines how these drugs differ in terms of recommended starting dose, available dosages and absorption times.

Recommended starting dose for adults Available dosage amounts Amount of time before drug is absorbed
Bupropion (Wellbutrin) 150 mg once daily (up to 450 mg per day) 100 mg, 150 mg, 200 mg, 300 mg 3 – 4 hours (or 5 hours for extended release version)
Bupropion (Wellbutrin) 7.5 mg twice daily (up to 60 mg per day) 5 mg, 7.5 mg, 10 mg, 15 mg, 30 mg, Less than 1 hour

The recommended dosage is usually based on how long it takes for the drug to absorb. However, if you have a lower than average metabolism rate, you may take longer than usual to break down the drug — this puts you at higher risk of side effects.

Can Buspirone and Bupropion Be Taken Together?

When you begin a new medication, it’s not unusual to experience some side effects. Since they both impact neurotransmitters, buspirone and bupropion share a few of these effects. The chart below details which side effects they do and don’t have in common.
Buspirone Bupropion
Insomnia Yes Yes
Sweating Yes Yes
Increased anxiety No Yes
Weight loss No Yes
Headaches Yes Yes
Anger/irritation Yes No
Rash/hives Yes No
Fatigue/nausea Yes Yes
Sexual side effects Yes No
Historically, there was no way of determining whether a patient would undergo adverse effects until after they tried a medication. Thus, many healthcare providers would play a game of trial and error in which they prescribed a drug, waited to see the results, then altered the dosage or medication if necessary. If this process sounds burdensome to you, you’re not alone. Not only does it force patients to experience uncomfortable effects, but it also wastes valuable time and delays treatment. To solve this problem, ClarityX offers pharmacogenetic testing that can accurately predict how you respond to certain medications.

ClarityX: DNA Testing

Every one of us has genes that influence how we look, what medical conditions we’re susceptible to and how we metabolize certain drugs. Through DNA testing, ClarityX can pinpoint variations that affect metabolism rates, consequently assisting with drug selection. Our tests focus specifically on the cytochrome P450 (CYP450) enzyme, which is responsible for breaking down the majority of FDA-approved drugs. Here are a few of the things testing can tell you:
 
  • How effective a medication will be: If you metabolize a medication too quickly, it will be largely ineffective. On the flip side, if you metabolize too slowly, you’ll likely experience uncomfortable and even severe side effects.

  • What dosage amount you should start with: Your metabolism rates influence the recommended starting dosage. For example, if you metabolize quicker than normal, you may need to start with a higher than average dosage.

  • How a medication will interact with other drugs: If you’re already on other medications, it’s possible that introducing a new one will cause adverse effects. Our tests will let you know whether the new drug will interact negatively.

We offer two test types: the Mindwell test (which is designed for mental wellness conditions) and the Max Rx test (which covers mental wellness conditions and 16 additional therapeutic areas). While the latter is more comprehensive, both can effectively determine how you’ll react to buspirone and bupropion. Get started with your health journey by completing the checkout process today!

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