Aplenzin (bupropion) is a prescription drug used to treat certain types of depression. Aplenzin can cause side effects that range from mild to serious. Examples include dry mouth, nausea, and insomnia.

Specifically, Aplenzin is used in adults to treat:

The active ingredient in Aplenzin is bupropion hydrobromide. (An active ingredient is what makes a drug work.) The drug comes as an extended-release tablet that you swallow whole.

Keep reading to learn about the common, mild, and serious side effects Aplenzin can cause. For a general overview of the drug, including details about its uses, see this article.

Some people may experience mild to serious side effects during Aplenzin treatment. Side effects can vary depending on what condition the drug is being taken to treat. Below are just a few of the more common side effects reported by people taking Aplenzin in studies.

More common side effects in people taking Aplenzin for major depressive disorder include:

More common side effects in people taking Aplenzin for seasonal affective disorder include:

  • weight loss*
  • dry mouth
  • headache
  • insomnia
  • constipation

* To learn more about this side effect, see the “Side effects explained” section below.

Note: After the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves a drug, it tracks and reviews side effects of the medication. If you’d like to notify the FDA about a side effect you’ve had with Aplenzin, visit MedWatch.

Mild side effects have been reported with Aplenzin. These include:

These side effects are usually temporary. And diet adjustments, over-the-counter medications, and home remedies can help manage some of them. But if you have symptoms that are ongoing or bothersome, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. And do not stop taking Aplenzin unless your doctor recommends it.

Aplenzin may cause mild side effects other than those listed above. See the drug’s prescribing information for details.

* To learn more about this side effect, see the “Side effects explained” section below.

Serious side effects have been reported with Aplenzin. These include:

If you develop serious side effects while taking Aplenzin, call your doctor right away. If the side effects seem life threatening or you think you’re having a medical emergency, immediately call 911 or your local emergency number.

* To learn more about this side effect, see the “Side effects explained” section below.

Help is out there

If you or someone you know is in crisis and considering suicide or self-harm, please seek support:

If you’re calling on behalf of someone else, stay with them until help arrives. You may remove weapons or substances that can cause harm if you can do so safely.

If you are not in the same household, stay on the phone with them until help arrives.

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Aplenzin is approved for use in adults only and has not been proven to be safe and effective in children.

Additionally, short-term studies showed a higher risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors in children, adolescents, and young adults ages 24 years and younger compared with older adults. To learn more about this side effect, see the “Side effects explained” section below.

Get answers to some frequently asked questions about Aplenzin’s side effects.

How do side effects of Aplenzin compare with those of Wellbutrin XL?

Aplenzin and Wellbutrin XL both have the same active ingredient, bupropion, but are different salt forms. Aplenzin is the hydrobromide form, and Wellbutrin XL is the hydrochloride form. Salts do not change the effectiveness of a medication, but they help dissolve the drug in your body.

Because Aplenzin and Wellbutrin XL have the same active ingredient, they have similar side effects, such as:

  • insomnia
  • tremor or jitteriness
  • agitation
  • anxiety
  • dry mouth
  • weight loss*
  • racing or pounding heart
  • boxed warning: risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors*

Each drug also has other side effects not listed above. For more details, see the prescribing information for Wellbutrin XL and the sections above for Aplenzin.

* To learn more about this side effect, see the “Side effects explained” section below.

Can Aplenzin cause withdrawal symptoms?

Yes, suddenly stopping Aplenzin may cause physical withdrawal symptoms, such as irritability, anxiety, sleeplessness, headache, body ache, and seizure. Withdrawal symptoms are uncomfortable side effects that can occur when you stop taking a drug your body is used to.

Tapering your Aplenzin dosage slowly under your doctor’s supervision can help prevent withdrawal symptoms and allow you to stop the medication safely.

Does Aplenzin cause long-term side effects?

It can. Long-term side effects include those that may start at any time you’re taking a drug, even if you’ve taken it for a long time. It also includes side effects that may not go away even after you stop taking the drug.

Examples of long-term side effects reported in Aplenzin’s studies include:

  • risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors*
  • angle-closure glaucoma
  • weight loss*

If you’re concerned about possible long-term side effects from Aplenzin, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

* To learn more about this side effect, see the “Side effects explained” section below.

Learn more about some of the side effects Aplenzin may cause.

Risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors

Aplenzin has a boxed warning for the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors.* A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the FDA.

Suicidal thoughts and behaviors were uncommon in the drug’s studies. Symptoms include:

  • thoughts of harming yourself or others
  • harming yourself or others, or taking steps to do so
  • impulsive, aggressive behavior
  • violent or angry actions
  • agitation, restlessness, and irritability
  • sudden and unusual mood changes
  • insomnia
  • panic attacks
  • mania
  • overwhelming, racing feelings or thoughts
  • worsening depression or anxiety

Factors that can increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors with this medication include:

  • history of suicidal thoughts or actions
  • recently starting or changing your dose of Aplenzin
  • taking higher doses than prescribed
  • history of mental health conditions such as mania, bipolar disorder, or anxiety
  • history of alcohol misuse or substance use disorder
  • being age 24 years or younger

What might help

Ask trusted family, friends, and healthcare professionals to watch for the above symptoms when you start Aplenzin. They could be the first people to detect unusual behavior and get help.

If you have suicidal thoughts or behaviors during Aplenzin treatment, talk with your doctor right away. If your symptoms feel life threatening, call 911 or your local emergency number and seek immediate medical care.

Weight loss

Weight loss from nausea and decreased appetite was a common side effect reported in studies of Aplenzin. Weight loss may cause symptoms such as:

  • weakness
  • fatigue (low energy)
  • irritability
  • dizziness
  • headache
  • constipation
  • hair loss
  • muscle loss

Factors that can increase the risk of weight loss when taking this drug include:

  • history of eating disorders
  • taking other medications or supplements that can cause weight loss, such as stimulants and caffeine

What might help

Lack of appetite and weight loss may result in dehydration (low fluid level) and reduced nutrients, minerals, and vitamins in your diet. Drinking plenty of water and choosing a balanced mix of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and lean meats can help support your body during weight loss.

If you have unwanted weight loss during Aplenzin treatment, talk with your doctor. They’ll likely recommend lowering your dose or switching you to a different medication.

Allergic reaction

As with most drugs, Aplenzin can cause an allergic reaction in some people. Studies have shown symptoms can be mild to serious and can include:

  • skin rash
  • itchiness
  • flushing (temporary warmth, redness, or deepening of skin color)
  • swelling under your skin (usually in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet)
  • swelling of your mouth, tongue, or throat, which can make it hard to breathe

Since Aplenzin came on the market, cases of a severe allergic reaction called Stevens-Johnson syndrome have been reported. In addition to the side effects listed above, you may have a burn-like rash that blisters and peels, especially on the hands and feet. This is a condition that requires immediate medical care because it can cause permanent organ damage and even death.

What might help

If you have mild symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as a mild rash, call your doctor right away. They may suggest a treatment to manage your symptoms. Examples include:

  • an oral antihistamine, such as Benadryl (diphenhydramine)
  • a product you apply to your skin, such as hydrocortisone cream

If your doctor confirms you’ve had a mild allergic reaction to Aplenzin, they’ll decide whether you should continue taking it.

If you have symptoms of a severe allergic reaction, such as swelling or difficulty breathing, call 911 or your local emergency number right away. These symptoms could be life threatening and require immediate medical care.

If your doctor confirms you’ve had a serious allergic reaction to Aplenzin, they may have you switch to a different treatment.

Keeping track of side effects

During your Aplenzin treatment, consider taking notes on any side effects you’re having. You can then share this information with your doctor. This is especially helpful when you first start taking a new drug or using a combination of treatments.

Your side effect notes can include things such as:

  • what dose of the drug you were taking when you had the side effect
  • how soon you had the side effect after starting that dose
  • what your symptoms were
  • how your symptoms affected your daily activities
  • what other medications you were taking
  • any other information you feel is important

Keeping notes and sharing them with your doctor will help them learn more about how Aplenzin affects you. They can then use this information to adjust your treatment plan if needed.

Below is important information you should consider before taking Aplenzin.

Boxed warning: Risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors

Aplenzin has a boxed warning for the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the FDA.

Suicidal thoughts and behaviors while taking Aplenzin can happen to people of any age. However, those ages 24 years and younger have an increased risk. (Aplenzin is not approved for use in children under the age of 18 years.)

To learn more, see the “Side effects explained” section above.

Other warnings

Aplenzin can sometimes cause harmful effects in people with certain conditions. This is known as a drug-condition interaction. Other factors may also affect whether this drug is a good treatment option for you. Talk with your doctor about your health history before starting Aplenzin. Be sure to tell them if any of the following factors apply to you:

  • history of head injury or brain or spinal tumor
  • epilepsy or seizure disorder
  • heart problems or high blood pressure
  • liver or kidney problems
  • history of angle-closure glaucoma
  • treatment with insulin or blood sugar-lowering medications
  • mental health conditions such as mania, bipolar disorder, or anxiety
  • eating disorder such as bulimia or anorexia nervosa
  • history of alcohol misuse or substance use disorder
  • use of weight loss medications, such as those containing amphetamine or caffeine
  • treatment with a monoamine oxidase inhibitor in the last 14 days
  • use of benzodiazepines or barbiturates
  • taking other prescriptions or over-the-counter drugs, herbs, supplements, or vitamins
  • past allergic reaction to Aplenzin
  • pregnancy
  • breastfeeding

Alcohol and Aplenzin

During treatment with Aplenzin, it’s best to limit or avoid alcohol. If you regularly drink alcohol in moderate to large amounts, talk with a healthcare professional before suddenly stopping alcohol. Your risk of seizure may increase if you abruptly stop drinking alcohol while taking Aplenzin.

If you have questions about consuming alcohol during Aplenzin treatment, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding with Aplenzin

There’s limited information about the safety of Aplenzin during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.

Pregnancy

Studies have not confirmed whether it’s safe to take Aplenzin during pregnancy. Overall, the risk of harm to the fetus from untreated depression in the pregnant person may be greater than the harm Aplenzin may cause. It’s best to talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of Aplenzin before becoming pregnant.

If you take this drug while pregnant, consider signing up for the National Pregnancy Registry for Antidepressants by visiting the website or calling 866-961-2388. A pregnancy registry collects information about the safety of certain drugs when taken during pregnancy.

Breastfeeding

It’s not known whether Aplenzin affects breast milk production or is safe to take while breastfeeding. Small amounts of bupropion (the active ingredient in Aplenzin) may pass into breast milk.

Since bupropion came on the market, there have been rare reports of seizures in children who are breastfed. So if you’re breastfeeding a child while taking Aplenzin, be sure to monitor them for seizure and excessive drowsiness.

Talk with your doctor about breastfeeding risks and benefits before starting or continuing Aplenza treatment.

As with most drugs, Aplenzin can cause many side effects that range from mild to serious. But most are temporary and go away after a few days to weeks. If you have questions about side effects Aplenzin can cause, talk with your doctor. Examples of questions to help get you started include:

  • Can Aplenzin harm my liver or heart?
  • Will Aplenzin’s side effects prevent me from driving?
  • Will Aplenzin cause dulled emotions?
  • Can I become addicted* to Aplenzin?
  • Will crushing, splitting, or chewing Aplenzin cause side effects?
  • Does Aplenzin have sexual side effects?

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* Addiction is when a drug is taken even if it’s causing harmful effects.

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.