Can a 13-Year-Old Take Wellbutrin? (+3 major health risks)

This article will discuss the topic of administering Wellbutrin to a 13-year-old. It will explore the scientific evidence, discuss the limitations of Wellbutrin usage in this age group, and provide insights into alternative FDA-approved medications and the role of parents in the treatment process.

By examining these factors, the article aims to provide valuable information to ensure the well-being and proper treatment of 13-year-olds struggling with mental health concerns.

Can a 13-year-old take Wellbutrin?

No, a 13-year-old should not take Wellbutrin. There is currently no FDA-approved dosage specifically recommended for children under 18 years old [1].

While it was mentioned in some studies that Wellbutrin can be effective in treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and depression in children and adolescents [2], it is still not recommended due to the risk of increased side effects like tachycardia and seizures.

There are multiple other antidepressants approved for pediatric use by the FDA.

What does research suggest?

A study published in the Journal of Medical Toxicology examined the effects of intentional Wellbutrin ingestion in different age groups.

The study found that in older children, aged 13 years and above, there was a high rate of tachycardia upon arrival at the emergency department. Nearly 75% of adolescents this age experienced tachycardia [3].

On the other hand, in children under 13 years old, tachycardia was observed in only 1 out of 5 cases. The study also noted that older children were more likely to exhibit sustained tachycardia, seizures, and altered mental status compared to younger children [3].

Another study published in The Journal of Emergency Medicine discussed the effects of unintentional bupropion ingestion in patients of different ages.

It found that only 9% of children and 32% of adults displayed clinical symptoms. In contrast, teenagers showed symptoms in 46% of cases, and most of them were categorized as moderate or major. Thus, it can be concluded that adolescents were more likely to manifest more severe toxicity [4].

Given the lack of FDA approval and the potential for increased toxicity in adolescents, caution should be exercised when considering the use of Wellbutrin in children aged 13 years old.

What are the potential Wellbutrin complications in 13-year-olds?

Administering Wellbutrin is not recommended for children and adolescents due to the potential serious health risks and complications that may arise. Here are some of the concerns associated with children taking bupropion [5]:

Increased risk of suicidal thoughts or behaviors

Bupropion has been linked to an increased risk of suicidal thoughts, especially in younger individuals. Children and adolescents are already more vulnerable to mental health issues, so this risk is particularly concerning.


Bupropion lowers the seizure threshold, meaning it can increase the likelihood of experiencing seizures. Children may be more susceptible to this side effect compared to adults.

Cardiovascular effects

Bupropion can have an impact on heart rate and blood pressure. In rare cases, it has been associated with cardiovascular events such as heart attacks or arrhythmias. Children generally have a lower tolerance for cardiovascular stress compared to adults.

Other side effects

Common side effects of bupropion can be really potentiated in minors, they include:

What other antidepressants are approved to treat 13-year-olds?

Only certain antidepressants are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating pediatric patients. These medications include:

  • clomipramine
  • duloxetine
  • escitalopram
  • fluoxetine
  • fluvoxamine
  • imipramine
  • sertraline

However, all these medications are prescription antidepressants which should never be taken without a doctor’s supervision.

Safety considerations for teenagers administering antidepressants

If a teenager is prescribed antidepressants, there are crucial key points that must be considered:

  • It is very important to adhere to the prescribed dosage and schedule to ensure the safety of the patient. Altering the dosage or discontinuing the medication without medical guidance can have potential risks
  • Parents to closely monitor their child’s response to the antidepressant and track any changes in their mood, behavior, or overall well-being.
  • Parents should share any concerns (like side effects or behavioral changes) with the doctor, as they may make necessary adjustments to the treatment plan.

In summary, counseling parents of a child prescribed antidepressants is necessary. Parents must follow prescribed guidelines, closely monitor their child’s response, maintain open communication, and actively participate in the treatment decision-making process.


In conclusion, it is not recommended for a 13-year-old to take Wellbutrin. The medication has not been proven to be safe and effective for use in children under the age of 18, and there is no FDA-approved dosage specifically designed for children.

Scientific evidence suggests that older children and adolescents may experience higher rates of side effects such as tachycardia and seizures compared to younger children and adults when taking Wellbutrin.

Caution should be exercised when considering the use of Wellbutrin in this age group due to potential serious health risks and complications. Instead, if antidepressant treatment is necessary for a 13-year-old, there are other FDA-approved medications available that may be more appropriate.

It is vital for parents to engage in open communication with their child’s healthcare professional, closely monitor their child’s response to treatment, and actively participate in the decision-making process to ensure the safety and well-being of their child.

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Kweon K, Kim HW. Effectiveness and Safety of Bupropion in Children and Adolescents with Depressive Disorders: A Retrospective Chart Review. Clin Psychopharmacol Neurosci. 2019 Nov 20;17(4):537-541. doi: 10.9758/cpn.2019.17.4.537. PMID: 31671492; PMCID: PMC6852678.


Offerman S, Levine M, Gosen J, Thomas SH. Pediatric Bupropion Ingestions in Adolescents vs. Younger Children-a Tale of Two Populations. J Med Toxicol. 2020 Jan;16(1):6-11. doi: 10.1007/s13181-019-00738-7. Epub 2019 Nov 11. PMID: 31713175; PMCID: PMC6942085.


Belson MG, Kelly TR. Bupropion exposures: clinical manifestations and medical outcome. J Emerg Med. 2002;23:233–230. doi: 10.1016/S0736-4679(02)00522-X.


Huecker MR, Smiley A, Saadabadi A. Bupropion. In: StatPearls. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from:

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