Drug vs Drug
Zoloft vs Wellbutrin
Which Is Better For Me?
Discover the differences between Zoloft and Wellbutrin by reading our guide. We’ll go through dosage amounts, side effects and how to choose between them.
Zoloft vs Wellbutrin
According to the National Institute of Mental Health Disorders, 1 in 4 Americans struggle with a diagnosable mental condition every year. Unfortunately, many of these individuals don’t seek treatment — in fact, studies show that anywhere from 30% to 80% of people with mental health struggles don’t get the help they need.
It’s no secret that mental wellness and overall health are closely linked. If you’re struggling with a mental health condition, it will likely affect other aspects of your life (including your physical health, career and social relationships). Thus, if you suspect that you’re struggling with something like depression or anxiety, it’s important to talk to your doctor and get treatment.
While treatments vary from person to person, they often consist of therapy and medication. In this article, we’ll review two drugs that are commonly prescribed in mental health cases: Zoloft vs Wellbutrin. Read on to learn more about how they work, possible side effects and how a DNA test can help you choose the best medication for your needs.
Zoloft vs. Wellbutrin: What Are They?
Zoloft and Wellbutrin both belong to a class of drugs called antidepressants. As you can probably tell from the name, they’re often used to treat depressive disorders. Let’s take a closer look at how both these drugs work.
Zoloft is a popular brand-name drug (the generic name of Zoloft is sertraline). While it’s commonly used to treat depression, it’s also prescribed for anxiety disorders, such as the following:
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)
- Social anxiety disorder
- Panic disorder
This drug is a type of antidepressant known as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). It works by increasing the levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter in the brain that can improve mood, happiness, sleep, appetite and digestion.
Wellbutrin (generically known as bupropion) is a common depression treatment. More specifically, it’s used to treat the following:
- Major depressive disorder (MDD)
- Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
- General depression
In some cases, Wellbutrin may be prescribed to help with smoking cessation. It belongs to a class of antidepressants called norepinephrine/dopamine reuptake inhibitors (NDRIs), which work by increasing the levels of norepinephrine and dopamine. Together, these neurotransmitters can boost mood, concentration and happiness.
Zoloft vs Wellbutrin: Dosage Amount
Before prescribing a medication, your healthcare provider will give you a specific dosage amount. This is usually determined based on the following factors:
- Condition being treated
- Other medications used by the patient
Let’s take a more in-depth look at the unique dosage requirements for both Zoloft and Wellbutrin.
Zoloft Dosage Amount
Zoloft can be found in three forms: tablets, capsules and oral solutions. All of these are generally prescribed in milligrams (mg). The exact dose varies depending on the type of condition that’s being treated — the chart below shows the recommended adult dosage amounts for multiple mental wellness conditions.
|General starting dose||Maximum allowed dosage|
|Major depressive disorder||50 mg/day||200 mg|
|Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)||50 mg/day||200 mg|
|Anxiety disorders (panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, PTSD)||25 mg/day||200 mg|
|Premenstrual dysphoric syndrome||50 mg/day (during menstrual cycle)||150 mg|
Wellbutrin Dosage Amount
Wellbutrin is available in three forms: immediate release, sustained release and extended release. The immediate release type is the fastest-acting version, while the extended release version takes the longest to kick in. However, its effects will last for longer periods of time. The chart below showcases the recommended adult dosage amounts for both major depressive disorder (MDD) and seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
|General starting dose||Maximum allowed dosage|
|MDD: Immediate release||100 mg/12 hours||150 mg/8 hours|
|MDD: Sustained release||150 mg/day||200 mg/12 hours|
|MDD: Extended release||150 mg/day||450 mg/day|
|Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)||150 mg/day||300 mg/day|
Zoloft vs Wellbutrin: Side Effects
When you begin a new medication, there’s always the risk of adverse reactions. Here’s a breakdown of the side effects commonly experienced when taking Zoloft and/or Wellbutrin.
|Weakness/lack of energy||Yes||No|
While anyone can experience unwanted side effects, certain individuals are at a higher risk. For instance, your risk increases if you are older, are on other medications or have a slow metabolism rate.
Zoloft vs. Wellbutrin: FAQs
Here are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about Zoloft and Wellbutrin.
Can I take Zoloft and Wellbutrin together?
If Zoloft or Wellbutrin individually are ineffective, they might be combined to help reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. However, taking these drugs together can cause additional effects such as seizures. If you’re interested in combining multiple medications, be sure to speak with your healthcare provider.
Do Zoloft or Wellbutrin interact poorly with any food/drinks?
Most healthcare providers recommend avoiding alcohol while using Zoloft or Wellbutrin. Taking Wellbutrin with alcohol can increase the risk of unwanted effects, such as the following:
- Mood changes
Mixing Zoloft with alcohol is usually not as dangerous, but it can still cause adverse reactions. For example, you might experience dizziness, sleepiness and trouble concentrating.
Is there an age limit for Zoloft and Wellbutrin?
Zoloft (sertraline) is not commonly used to treat pediatric depression. However, it has been prescribed to children with anxiety disorders. Wellbutrin (bupropion), on the other hand, is generally not given to anyone under the age of 18 years old. However, in rare cases, healthcare providers may make an exception.
When Zoloft or Wellbutrin is given to a child, it’s typically at a low dose. Geriatric patients (or patients over the age of 65) are also given lower-than-average doses.
How long does it take Zoloft and Wellbutrin to work?
When you begin taking a new medication, chances are it won’t start working immediately — rather, your body needs time to get accustomed to the drug. For both Zoloft and Wellbutrin users, it typically takes around one to two weeks for symptoms to improve. However, if depression is severe, it can take up to eight weeks.
For the first few weeks or so, it’s normal to experience side effects. However, if side effects don’t diminish, or if the condition doesn’t get better, then you may need to try a different medication or dosage.
Should I take Zoloft or Wellbutrin?
Now that you know more about Zoloft and Wellbutrin, you’re probably wondering: which drug should I take? When deciding between two medications, you should consider the following factors:
- The condition you’re treating
- What other medications you’re taking
- Your metabolism function
The first thing to think about is the condition you’re trying to treat. For example, if you have an anxiety disorder, Zoloft is the better choice. However, if you have major depressive disorder, both Zoloft and Wellbutrin can be effective.
You should also take into account whether the medication will interact negatively with any other drugs you may be taking. You can usually find this information online or by talking to your doctor.
The last factor to consider is your metabolism function. If you metabolize (or break down) drugs at a slow rate, you’re more likely to experience harmful side effects. In the past, there was no easy way to discover your metabolism function — that’s changed now thanks to DNA testing.
DNA Testing: Learn More About Your Medication Response
When it comes to medication, every person responds differently. While some people metabolize drugs normally, others break them down too slowly or too quickly. The former can cause painful side effects, while the latter renders drugs ineffective.
DNA testing (or pharmacogenetic testing) uses the information available in your DNA molecules to determine your metabolism function. It examines an enzyme called cytochrome P450, which is responsible for metabolizing over 70% of clinically used drugs. With this information, you’ll know which medications to take, which medications to avoid and which dosage amounts are best for you.
At ClarityX, we offer two comprehensive test types. Here’s a closer look at our DNA tests and how they work.
As the name suggests, the ClarityX Mindwell test is designed for medications that treat mental wellness conditions like depression, anxiety and ADHD. It can evaluate how you’ll react to the following:
- SSNRIs and SSRIs
The Mindwell test covers many popular brand name drugs, including both Zoloft and Wellbutrin.
Max Rx Test
If you’re looking for a thorough report on how you respond to a diverse set of medications, then the ClarityX Max Rx test is the best option for you. It covers all the fields included in the Mindwell Test, as well as 16 additional therapeutic areas. These include:
- Pain management
- Infectious disease
Both Wellbutrin and Zoloft are also covered by the Max Rx test.
Get a Test Today!
Whether you choose the Mindwell or the Max Rx test, you can rest assured you’ll receive a reliable report that can be shared with your healthcare providers and used to make well-informed medication decisions. All it takes is a few simple steps:
- Request your test
- Complete the check-out process
- Activate your test online
- Perform and send in your cheek swab sample using the provided envelope
- Receive your results!
Personalized reports are sent directly to your ClarityX patient portal — after sharing these with your doctor, you’ll know the optimal medications and dosages for your body. This will lead to healthier — and happier — medication decisions down the line. Take control of your healthcare and make the best possible choices by signing up today!