One of the most frustrating factors in dealing with depression — at least for me — is finding the best medication (or combination of meds) for yourself. Back in my early twenties, I had tried various meds before finding the combination that worked best for me: Prozac and Wellbutrin.
This time around, since it had been almost a decade since I last took antidepressants, and because what worked in the past may not always be the case now, we are once again beginning the experimentation. Both my psychiatrist and I agree that trying the Prozac & Wellbutrin combo first is probably our best bet. But because starting with less drugs is always preferable to more, we have decided to try just Wellbutrin first.
Over the past two months, we have slowly increased my dosage of Bupropion XL (the generic form of Wellbutrin XL) — starting with 150 mg at first, then 300 mg, and now, at 450 mg which is the maximum recommended dosage. The reason for the increase is because I did not feel much difference with the lower doses…and now, at 450 mg, I do feel somewhat different.
As with all drugs, Bupropion XL has brought with it a few side effects. The ones that I have noticed include:
- dry mouth — this is actually good for me, since I never drank enough water in the past and now I am drinking lots
- slight constipation — this isn’t much different from the constipation I experienced during pregnancy, so I just continue taking daily fiber supplements
- occasional insomnia — once again, this is similar to what I had experienced while pregnant. Unisom, the sleep aid my OB had recommended, has worked for me in the past so I just pop one whenever I can’t sleep.
- increased libido — J has enjoyed this tremendously
- vivid dreams
- decreased appetite and subsequent weight loss — but the weight loss could also be attributed to hot yoga
The above are all side effects that have been reported by others who take the drug, and they are all easily manageable so we are not too worried.
But what about my mood? Is Bupropion XL doing what it’s supposed to do?
I do feel a bit of a difference. I have more energy and my mood is slightly elevated. However, the contrast is so slight — less than we had hoped for and much less than what I remember from my past experience of taking antidepressants — that we will probably introduce fluoxetine (the generic form of Prozac) into the mix at my next doctor’s appointment.
I am fully aware that antidepressants — like many drugs — may only treat the symptom and not the cause. And I believe that in my case, antidepressants have, and hopefully will, help get me to a point where I can more easily diagnose and tackle the cause of my depression.
Let’s hope that the Prozac & Wellbutrin combo will once again be the best for me.