Does Wellbutrin cause daytime drowsiness? (+7 Tips)

In this article, we will discuss whether Wellbutrin causes daytime drowsiness. We will also discuss what the research suggests about daytime drowsiness. We will also explain what to do if you experience daytime drowsiness. 

Does Wellbutrin cause daytime drowsiness?

Wellbutrin may cause daytime drowsiness. Although it’s not a common side effect of Wellbutrin, individuals may experience daytime drowsiness when they start their treatment course. After a few days, the body adjusts to the medication and drowsiness fades away.

Wellbutrin rarely causes daytime drowsiness, on the contrary, it can be used to help treat it. It’s common for people with depression to have daytime drowsiness. Wellbutrin has shown its effectiveness in treating fatigue and drowsiness in depressed patients(1). Not to mention, Wellbutrin can cause insomnia in some individuals.

It’s important to note that individual responses to medications vary widely. Some individuals may experience daytime drowsiness while others don’t. 

How does Wellbutrin cause daytime drowsiness?

There are a few reported cases of daytime drowsiness while using Wellbutrin. Wellbutrin works on neurotransmitters that are involved in the regulation of sleep and wakefulness patterns (2). These neurotransmitters are dopamine and norepinephrine. This is how Wellbutrin may cause daytime drowsiness.

Research suggests that daytime drowsiness can be caused by underlying conditions such as sleep disorders, depression, use of certain medications and other medical conditions. (3)

Clinical data suggest that Wellbutrin has a stimulant-like effect as it increases the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. Wellbutrin is an activating agent that helps treat depressive symptoms such as low energy and low mood. Wellbutrin, unlike other antidepressants, does not usually cause sedation.

What does the research suggest? 

Research suggests that 10%-38% of patients treated with antidepressants experience fatigue and daytime drowsiness as side effects. Studies show that selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) exhibit a greater incidence of drowsiness compared to Wellbutrin.

Clinical research results indicate that 18.9% – 32.1% of patients taking Wellbutrin experienced sleepiness. However, other studies have proved the effectiveness of Wellbutrin in treating fatigue and sleepiness. Wellbutrin treatment may provide benefits over SSRIs in alleviating drowsiness. (1,4)

What to do if Wellbutrin causes daytime drowsiness?

Experiencing daytime drowsiness as a side effect of Wellbutrin can be concerning. Here are some tips you can do if you find that Wellbutrin is causing excessive drowsiness during the day:

  • Consider changing the timing: Some individuals find that taking Wellbutrin in the morning can reduce daytime drowsiness.


  • Improve your sleep patterns: Ensure you are getting enough restful sleep at night and establish a consistent sleep schedule throughout the day.


  • Monitor caffeine intake: Excessive caffeine intake can disrupt sleep patterns and may contribute to daytime drowsiness.


  • Limit alcohol intake: Alcohol can worsen drowsiness. Alcohol is a sedating agent so you have to be aware of its effect on your sleep and alertness.


  • Regular exercise: Regular physical activity can improve your overall energy levels and sleep quality.


  • Pharmacological intervention: You can ask your doctor to prescribe a medication that treats excessive drowsiness. 


  • Consulting your healthcare provider: You have to promptly report any side effects you experience to your healthcare providers. They can assess your situation and offer the best course of action for you.

What pharmacological interventions are available to treat daytime drowsiness?

There are several pharmacological interventions that healthcare providers may consider to treat daytime drowsiness, depending on the underlying cause. It’s important to note that these interventions should be prescribed and monitored by a healthcare professional. Some of the pharmacological approaches include: 

Stimulant medications: Medications such as modafinil and armodafinil are approved to treat excessive daytime drowsiness. They promote wakefulness and help individuals stay alert.

Wakefulness-promoting agents: These medications include methylphenidate and dextroamphetamine. They enhance wakefulness and reduce daytime sleepiness. These medications are commonly used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder ( ADHD) but they can be used off-label for excessive drowsiness. 

 Antidepressants: Certain antidepressants have stimulating effects, such as Wellbutrin, which can help alleviate daytime drowsiness. 

Caffeine: Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant found in coffee, tea and various beverages and medications. It can temporarily alleviate drowsiness and increase alertness. (5)

What factors can contribute to daytime drowsiness while taking Wellbutrin?

While daytime drowsiness is not a common side effect of Wellbutrin, individual responses can vary. Factors that favor daytime drowsiness while taking Wellbutrin can include:

  • Individual sensitivity: Some individuals may be more sensitive to certain side effects, such as drowsiness, even at standard doses.


  • Dosage: Higher doses of Wellbutrin may increase the likelihood of side effects, including drowsiness. 


  • Age: Older adults may experience changes in the distribution of sleep stages, which can affect the quality of sleep and cause daytime drowsiness.


  • Interaction with other medications: Concurrent use of certain medications, especially those that cause drowsiness, may contribute to daytime drowsiness. 


  • Timing of dose: Taking Wellbutrin too close to bedtime might interfere with sleep and contribute to daytime drowsiness.


  • Underlying conditions: Pre-existing conditions, such as sleep disorders, could cause daytime drowsiness. 


  • Lifestyle: Sleep hygiene, stress, diet and nutrition, physical activity, caffeine and stimulant intake are all lifestyle factors that can significantly contribute to daytime drowsiness.


To sum up, Wellbutrin may cause daytime drowsiness but rarely. However, some may experience drowsiness from mental health conditions that Wellbutrin can help to treat. In my opinion, it’s crucial to inform your doctor about all your concerns to provide personalized advice and adjust your treatment plan to minimize side effects and ensure your overall well-being.


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Cooper JA, Tucker VL, Papakostas GI. Resolution of sleepiness and fatigue: A comparison of bupropion and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors in subjects with major depressive disorder achieving remission at doses approved in the European Union. Journal of Psychopharmacology. 2014;28(2):118-124.


Watson CJ, Baghdoyan HA, Lydic R. Neuropharmacology of Sleep and Wakefulness. Sleep Med Clin. 2010 Dec;5(4):513-528.


Pagel JF. Excessive daytime sleepiness. Am Fam Physician. 2009 Mar 1;79(5):391-6. PMID: 19275068.


Kelly K, Posternak M, Alpert JE. Toward achieving optimal response: understanding and managing antidepressant side effects. Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 2008;10(4):409-18.


Schwartz JR, Roth T, Hirshkowitz M, Wright KP. Recognition and management of excessive sleepiness in the primary care setting. Prim Care Companion J Clin Psychiatry. 2009;11(5):197-204.

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