Drug vs Drug

Wellbutrin vs Lexapro:
Which Is Better For Me?

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Read our guide on Wellbutrin vs. Lexapro to learn about the differences between these antidepressants and discover which is best for you.

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Wellbutrin vs Lexapro

Across the globe, over 280 million people suffer from depression, a serious mood disorder that negatively affects physical and mental health. When left unaddressed, depression can interfere with careers, relationships and personal interests.

To treat depression, many healthcare providers prescribe antidepressants like Wellbutrin and Lexapro. In our Wellbutrin vs. Lexapro guide, we’ll cover how these medications work, potential side effects and how a ClarityX DNA test can provide drug information to help you and your healthcare provider choose.

Wellbutrin vs Lexapro For Depression

Both Wellbutrin and Lexapro serve as a treatment of major depressive disorder by altering chemicals in your brain. However, they accomplish this in two different ways.

Wellbutrin

Wellbutrin (bupropion) is a norepinephrine/dopamine reuptake inhibitor (NDRI). This class of antidepressants affects the following neurotransmitters:

  • Nonrepinephrine: This chemical can impact mood and concentration.
  • Dopamine: Dopamine, also called the “feel-good” hormone, is linked to pleasure, happiness and motivation.

 

People struggling with depression often have lower levels of nonrepinephrine and dopamine. Wellbutrin can keep these neurotransmitters inside the brain’s neurons for longer periods of time, consequently increasing happy thoughts.

Lexapro

Lexapro (escitalopram) is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). Like Wellbutrin, it works by increasing the levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain. However, this class of antidepressant drugs focuses specifically on serotonin, a hormone responsible for stabilizing moods. It also brings the following benefits:

  • Increased happiness
  • Better sleep
  • Improved digestion

 

By keeping extra serotonin in the brain, Lexapro can help combat negative thoughts and effectively function as a treatment of major depressive disorder.

How Strong Are Wellbutrin and Lexapro?

While both Wellbutrin and Lexapro are used to treat depression, the medications are not interchangeable — this is because they have different potencies. When starting one of these medications, healthcare providers usually recommend the following dosage amounts:

  • Wellbutrin: New Wellbutrin users generally start with a 150 mg daily dosage. This may be increased over time (up to 450 mg).
  • Lexapro: New Lexapro users take about 10 mg a day. As time progresses, this may be increased up to 20 mg.

 

Both medications require about three to four hours to be absorbed by the body. However, if you take Wellbutrin XL (which is a slower-acting, extended-release version of the drug), it can take up to five hours.

What Side Effects Do Wellbutrin and Lexapro Have?

When trying a new treatment of major depressive disorder, it’s normal to experience a few drug side effects. Either Wellbutrin and Lexapro can cause the following:

  • Dry mouth
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Shaking
  • Anxiety
  • Sexual (such as lowered libido or difficulty with arousal)

 

While there’s a fair amount of overlap when it comes to adverse effects, not all effects are shared. For example, some Lexapro users report experiencing blurred vision and changes in appetite, while Wellbutrin has been linked to constipation.

Can You Take Wellbutrin and Lexapro Together?

Since Wellbutrin and Lexapro both target depression, you might be wondering: can I take them together? While taking Lexapro and Wellbutrin together isn’t very common, clinical studies show that this mix can be highly effective in limiting depression symptoms. By using both medications, you’re altering three major neurotransmitters (serotonin, nonrepinephrine and dopamine) instead of just one or two.

Although using both Wellbutrin and Lexapro has had positive results, it’s not everyone — for some people, the combination may be too strong (leading to physical, mental and sexual adverse effects). Usually, it’s only recommended if Wellbutrin or Lexapro turns out to be ineffective on its own. If you’re interested in trying a combination, speak with your healthcare provider for more drug information.

Lexapro or Wellbutrin: Which Is Better?

When it comes to choosing a new treatment of major depressive disorder, there’s no right answer — it all depends on how your body reacts to NDRI and SSRI antidepressants. Some people may have no issue metabolizing SSRIs (like Lexapro), but experience side effects with NDRIs (like Wellbutrin). So, how do you know which drug is better for you? The answer lies in genetic testing.

What Is Genetic Testing?

Genetic testing, also known as pharmacogenetic testing, evaluates your unique genetic material to identify variations that can affect your medication responses. It usually focuses on the CYP450 enzyme, which is responsible for metabolizing the majority of clinically used drugs. Once the test is complete, you and your healthcare provider will discover the following general drug information:

  • Metabolism rates
  • Medication interactions

 

Metabolism rates play a huge role in how effective a certain medication will be. If your results indicate that you metabolize a certain drug too quickly, you might need to increase your dosage. Alternatively, if you metabolize very slowly, the medication may remain in your system for too long and cause adverse sexual side effects.

Genetic testing will also tell you how certain drugs may interact with one another. This is helpful if you’re thinking of using two drugs (such as Lexapro and Wellbutrin) or if you’re already on another medication.

Get a Genetic Test Today!

Do you and your healthcare provider want to learn more about your body’s response to Lexapro and Wellbutrin? If so, ClarityX can help. We offer two types of genetic tests for drug information:

 

Our Mindwell test focuses on mental health conditions (such as depression and ADHD) and tests your reaction to antidepressants, antipsychotics, anxiolytics, SSNRI’s and SSRI’s. Our Max Rx test covers a variety of fields and provides insight on over 450 common medications. Both can be completed from the comfort of your home through a simple saliva test. Take control of your health by activating your test kit today!

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