Does Wellbutrin expire?
Does Wellbutrin expire?
Yes, Wellbutrin does expire and that’s exactly why it has an expiration date printed on its packaging. It is generally considered okay to use Wellbutrin if it has recently expired.
However, if your antidepressant expired over a year ago, no one would recommend taking it. This is because expired Wellbutrin starts to lose its potency and there’s no way to tell when the process begins. This is why you should avoid it (1).
It is also important to note that some medications can affect Wellbutrin’s metabolism or the drug’s mechanism, including other antidepressants (Zoloft, Paxil, Prozac, etc), some other psychotropics, and even some OTC cold medications.
Taking expired Wellbutrin along with such medications can cause unexpected side effects.
It is also important to note that the active drug in Wellbutrin, bupropion, is also available in generic forms which work almost the same as Wellbutrin. You should always check for expiry dates when taking generic tablets as well to ensure the safety and efficacy of your treatment regimen.
What are the dangers associated with the use of expired Wellbutrin?
Expired Wellbutrin can be a little problematic. The following outcomes are expected:
- Therapeutic failure
- Worsening mental health condition
- Possible damage to the liver and kidneys
The most important concern when it comes to using expired Wellbutrin is a therapeutic failure, as the drug will not work the way it should. No matter what reason you’re taking this antidepressant, you will not see a positive change in your condition.
People who took it for depression claimed to see no change in their mental health. Similarly, if you opt for expired Wellbutrin to stop smoking, you will not achieve promising smoking cessation.
Depression is a nerve-racking condition which affects your emotions and personality. Medications like Wellbutrin can help with depression, emotions, mood swings, low self-esteem and several other symptoms. It may also be used for anxiety disorders, such as social anxiety, and panic episodes.
However, other antidepressants like SSRIs are considered more effective for such disorders.
Wellbutrin may also help with symptoms associated with autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), borderline personality disorder, narcolepsy, etc. However, it should not be used in people younger than 18 years of age (teenagers and children).
Wellbutrin is a prescription medication and it’s not just taken when needed. You need to take this medication for months to see your desired therapeutic outcome, which you can not achieve by taking expired Wellbutrin.
Worsening mental health condition
Another possible consequence of taking expired Wellbutrin is the worsening of your mental health condition. Depression is no joke and it slowly progresses if not treated properly.
Expired Wellbutrin will most likely fail to treat and manage your mental health condition and it will start to deteriorate even more. It will also not help you with smoking cessation, as Wellbutrin can help people quit smoking – unlike other commonly prescribed antidepressants, such as Zoloft, Celexa, etc.
Possible damage to the liver and kidneys
Expired Wellbutrin may start to damage your liver and kidneys, the organs which are primarily involved in the metabolism and excretion of Wellbutrin. If you continue to harm your organs like that, who knows what could happen in the long run? It’s better to be safe than sorry.
It is also important to note that expired Wellbutrin could be contaminated, which can increase the risk of bacterial and fungal infections.
What to do if you have taken expired Wellbutrin?
A dose or two of expired Wellbutrin will not harm you. However, continuous use can cause complications. This is why it’s best to talk to your healthcare provider.
Having expired Wellbutrin indicates that you might not be taking your treatment seriously or else you would not have expired Wellbutrin at home. If the meds do not belong to you, you should not take them, whether they are expired or not.
Wellbutrin is a prescription antidepressant and you should only take it if prescribed by your healthcare provider. If you’re concerned about your mental health, talk to your doctor.
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U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Don’t Be Tempted to Use Expired Medicines [Internet]. Silver Spring (MD): U.S. Food and Drug Administration; 2021 [cited 2022 Oct 19]. Available from: https://www.fda.gov/drugs/special-features/dont-be-tempted-use-expired-medicines.