Does Wellbutrin make your heart pound? 

Does Wellbutrin make your heart pound?

Wellbutrin does not commonly make your heart pound and is considered to have a low risk of cardiovascular adverse events. However, some people may experience mild palpitations, especially those who are new to Wellbutrin or antidepressants in general. 

Medications affect people differently. If you’re a normal healthy individual with no history of cardiac illness, and you’re new to Wellbutrin – this side effect shouldn’t be a concerning one. 

Since Wellbutrin increases the amount of excitatory neurotransmitters in your brain, this may increase your heart muscle contraction as your body tries to adjust to the medication. 

You may begin to feel better within a few days. However, I can’t say the same for people who have a history of cardiac illness and they should report this to their doctor right away. 

What does research suggest?

Research studies generally indicate that Wellbutrin is not a cardiotoxic antidepressant and has a wider safety margin when it comes to cardiovascular side effects. 

One research study found that while Bupropion (the active ingredient present in Wellbutrin) caused a slight increase in blood pressure, it did not lead to significant heart rhythm problems or exacerbate existing heart arrhythmias. (1)

The study suggested that Bupropion may be a suitable treatment option for depressed patients with preexisting cardiovascular conditions, but more research with larger sample sizes and longer treatment durations is necessary to validate these findings.

Another research study compared Bupropion to placebo and Amitriptyline (a tricyclic antidepressant) in various patient groups, including those without cardiovascular disease, elderly patients, and patients with cardiovascular disease. (2)

The study suggested that Bupropion did not increase heart rate or cause delays in cardiac conduction, unlike Amitriptyline. It also did not adversely affect blood pressure, including in patients with orthostatic hypotension.

Patients with cardiovascular disease showed no significant changes in heart rate or blood pressure when treated with Bupropion, and their incidence of cardiovascular complaints was similar to disease-free individuals. 

Additionally, even in cases of large Bupropion overdoses, no distinct cardiovascular abnormalities were observed. These findings suggest that bupropion is a safer option than amitriptyline and other tricyclics for cardiac patients. 

In some rare cases, Wellbutrin may cause hypoglycemia – which can lead to symptoms like increased heart rate, sweating, shaking, nervousness, etc. 

What to do if Wellbutrin makes your heart pound? 

Talk to your healthcare provider if Wellbutrin makes your heart pound. If you’re a cardiac patient or have a history of hypertension, your doctor may ask you for some tests to monitor your cardiac parameters. 

If Wellbutrin is affecting your cardiac functions, your doctor will most likely taper you off this antidepressant and switch you to a safer one. However, if you’re a healthy individual, your doctor may try dose reduction at first to help your body adjust to the medication. 

If that works and you feel better within a few weeks, your treatment with Wellbutrin continues. However, if you don’t feel well on this antidepressant, then your doctor will switch you to another one. 

Make sure you don’t make any changes to your prescription without consulting your doctor first. 

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Roose SP, Dalack GW, Glassman AH, Woodring S, Walsh BT, Giardina EG. Cardiovascular effects of bupropion in depressed patients with heart disease. Am J Psychiatry. 1991 Apr;148(4):512-6. doi: 10.1176/ajp.148.4.512. PMID: 1900980. Available from:


Wenger TL, Stern WC. The cardiovascular profile of bupropion. J Clin Psychiatry. 1983 May;44(5 Pt 2):176-82. PMID: 6406453. Available from:

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