Wellbutrin Vs Lexapro: Similarities & Differences

Over the years, several types of medication have been made available for the treatment of depression. 
Wellbutrin vs Lexapro are prescription medications that are used in the treatment of the major depressive disorder (MDD)

Although both medications are used in treating a common disorder, they both do so using a different mechanism of action. While wellbutrin increases the level of available dopamine and norepinephrine, Lexapro works by increasing the levels of available serotonin.

Let’s look deeply to learn about the similarities and differences of both drugs.


Wellbutrin (bupropion) is most commonly used in treating depression (MDD) and seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
It also has other medical uses like, it can be prescribed in lower doses to cigarettes addicts, to help with smoking cessation.

Doctors may sometimes prescribe them as off-label drugs, meaning that they are used differently from their approved use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In cases like bipolar disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder(ADHD), Wellbutrin can be prescribed off-label. This is because Wellbutrin is made in combination with psychostimulants like Adderall.


It usually rakes about 6-8 weeks before wellbutrin begins to fully work in treating depression. Wellbutrin works by blocking the brain from absorbing two neurotransmitters; dopamine and norepinephrine.

Norepinephrine is responsible for keeping your body alert, increasing your heart rate, and pumping blood through your vessels, while dopamine is responsible for monitoring learning, pleasure, sleep, and mood.

People who suffer from depression have low levels of these two neurotransmitters, by blocking the brain from absorbing them, Wellbutrin causes an increase in the levels of both neurotransmitters, thereby, treating the symptom of depression.


You may be allergic to any of the compounds used in making Wellbutrin. Get immediate emergency medical help should you notice any of the allergic reactions when taking the medication:

  • Itching.
  • Fever.
  • Difficulty In Breathing.
  • Swelling in The Face.
  • Burning Eyes.
  • Skin Rash

Common side effects of Wellbutrin may include:

  • Dry mouth.
  • Insomnia.
  • Weight loss.
  • Nausea.
  • Increased urination.
  • Headache.
  • Muscle ache.
  • Dizziness.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Fast heartbeat.
  • Rash on the skin.

Other side effects may occur but should you notice any of the severe side effects, call your doctor at once:-

  • Seizure.
  • Unusual Change in Mood.
  • Irregular Heartbeat.
  • Manic Episodes.


Lexapro (escitalopram) is an antidepressant prescription medication belonging to a group of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).
It is used in treating MDD and anxiety in adults and adolescents of not less than 12 years old.
Doctors also sometimes use Lexapro for off-label uses such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and panic disorders.


Lexapro affects the levels of certain chemicals in the brain that can be altered in people suffering from either depression or anxiety. It works by restoring the balance of serotonin in the brain.
Lexapro blocks some of the reabsorptions of serotonin, thereby increasing the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain.


The side effects experienced from the use of Lexapro are slightly different for adults and adolescents. Some common side effects are:

  • Weight gain.
  • Nausea.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Weakness.
  • Sweating.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Dizziness.
  • Insomnia.
  • Constipation.
  • Trouble urinating.
  • Increased thirst.
  • Nose bleeding.
  • Reduced sex drive.

Severe side effects may arise, like high blood pressure and serotonin syndrome which is characterized by fever, hallucination, restlessness, and irregular heartbeat. In a case where you experience any of these symptoms, speak with your doctor immediately.


Both Wellbutrin and Lexapro have been found to treat depression at similar rates of improvement, however, let’s look at the few similarities and differences they both have.


Uses: Both wellbutrin vs lexapro is used in the treatment of major depressive disorder and can both be used as off-label medication.

Side Effects: They have similar side effects like dry mouth, nausea, and decreased appetite.

Patients: Both adults and adolescents can take the medication.


  1. Drug Class: While wellbutrin is a dopamine and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, lexapro is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor.
  2. Lexapro has fewer side effects, although it can affect your sex drive, wellbutrin does not affect your sex drive but has many reported side effects.
  3. While both medications are used in treating depression, Lexapro can also be prescribed to help with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), while Wellbutrin can be used to help seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and also in helping with symptoms of ADHD.
  4. Although both take long term for treatment to be effective, Lexapro works slowly compared to Wellbutrin.



One of the significant differences between both medications is the tendency of lexapro to cause a reduced sex drive, even though Wellbutrin carries more risk especially if you are prone to seizures.
If Lexapro is better than Wellbutrin depends on the patient’s needs, age, weight, use of other medications, medical history, and current medical condition. 

This is because while wellbutrin has a better tolerance for drug interaction, lexapro has fewer drug interactions than other similar antidepressants.
Both medications have strengths and weaknesses. To decide which of them is better, it is best to seek medical advice from your doctor.

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