IRFANA PARVEEN
By Irfana Parveen

B.Sc (Psychiatry Ward)

20 April 2022
Medically reviewed by
Freny Menezes
Pharm. D
Wellbutrin vs Zoloft
Table of Contents

Depressive disorder is a common but serious mood disorder. It is likely to cause severe symptoms affecting how you feel, think, and handle routine activities. A new study finds that nearly 10% of Americans suffer from depressive disorder, with the mood disorder most prevalent among teens and young adults.

The population-based study on depression from India shows that the prevalence of depression was 15.1%. India is a home to nearly 57 million people (18% of the global estimate) affected by depression.
There are many ways to combat depression. From exercise, therapy and meditation to pills, the options are limitless. 

One of the most frequently prescribed medications are Zoloft® (sertraline) and Wellbutrin® (bupropion), which are both antidepressant drugs but have different mechanisms of action on major depression. You might be here because you have tried these medications in the past or your healthcare professional might have prescribed any of these, and now you are trying to understand the difference. Let's address the similarities and differences of these two antidepressant medications in this blog.

What is Wellbutrin? 

Wellbutrin, also known as bupropion, is used to treat depression. It can also be used to help smokers in quitting. It was licensed for clinical use in the United States (US) for the first time in 1985. It is less likely than an SSRI to cause weight gain or sexual dysfunction, but it can cause seizures in people who are sensitive to it. Buy Wellbutrin online  from a certified online pharmacy but you should always consult your healthcare provider before consuming this medicine. (Cooper, B.R., Hester, T.J. and Maxwell, R.A., 1980)

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What is Zoloft?

Sertraline or Zoloft is a type of antidepressant that acts on the brain. Major depressive disorder, panic disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, and social anxiety disorder are among the conditions for which it has been licensed. It's also licensed for the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) in adults, children, and teenagers aged 6 to 17. Buy Zoloft online from a reputable online pharmacy, but you should always check your doctor before using this medication. (Murdoch, D. and McTavish, D., 1992)

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Is there a difference between Wellbutrin and Zoloft?

Although both Wellbutrin and Zoloft are antidepressants, they are not the same medication. Wellbutrin works by boosting dopamine and norepinephrine levels in the unbound neural synapses. Zoloft works by raising the amount of free serotonin in the body. These neurotransmitters influence mood and affect in a good way.

Taking Wellbutrin and Zoloft together may work well for some patients but can also increase the risk of seizures. Make sure you speak to your doctor before making any alteration to your drug regimen.
There are chances of a change in weight during antidepressant therapy. If you notice significant weight gain or weight loss, tell your doctor. They can help make the best recommendations for your unique scenario.
Most patients see some improvement within the first 1-2 weeks of taking Wellbutrin (an NDRI); the same goes for Zoloft (an SSRI).

Scientific study on Wellbutrin and Zoloft

Bupropion, sertraline, and venlafaxine were compared for depression remission and tolerability in a randomized, controlled experiment published in The New England Journal of Medicine. 

The individuals in this trial experienced depression that had not responded to prior therapies. All three treatment methods were shown to be successful and did not differ significantly in terms of remission rates, tolerance, or side events in this study. 

These two medicines have similar depression remission rates, according to a separate retrospective review of two other studies.  

Forms and Strengths

For Wellbutrin 

Wellbutrin SR is available in three strengths as a tablet. There are two dosage strengths of Wellbutrin XL.

Sustained-release tablets (SR) - 100 mg, 150 mg, and 200 mg.

Extended-release tablets (XL) - 150 mg, 300 mg

For Zoloft

Zoloft is available in three forms.

Tablets (Zoloft, generic) - 25mg, 50mg, 100mg

Capsules (generic) - 150mg, 200mg

Oral solution (Zoloft, generic) - 20mg/mL

Dosages

For Wellbutrin 

The suggested starting dose is 200 mg per day, divided into two doses of 100 mg each. After three days of dosage, the dose can be increased to 300 mg daily, given as 100 mg three times a day, with at least six hours between doses.

For Zoloft

The recommended starting therapeutic dosage is 25 mg or 50 mg per day. Following that, in case of an inadequate response, dosages may be increased in 25 to 50 mg daily increments once a week, up to a maximum of 200 mg daily for adults and pediatric patients, depending on tolerability.

Side Effects

The following are the most prevalent Zoloft and Wellbutrin, Wellbutrin SR, and Wellbutrin XL side effects. But you may still experience some that aren't listed here

Wellbutrin Side effects  Zoloft Side Effects 
Abdominal pain Dizziness
Drowsiness Nausea
Dry mouth Skin rash
Anxiety Headache
Appetite loss Constipation
Changes in the way food tastes Changes in appetite
Constipation Abnormal ejaculation

Wellbutrin vs. Zoloft drug interactions

Because Wellbutrin inhibits CYP2D6, the levels of CYP2D6 substrates may need to be reduced in people taking the drug. Codeine, haloperidol, risperidone, and metoprolol are all CYP2D6 substrates. Zoloft is a mild CYP2D6 inhibitor that may produce similar interactions, albeit to a lesser extent.

When Zoloft is taken with other serotonergic medicines, the risk of serotonin syndrome increases. Agitation, dizziness, and an elevated heart rate can all be symptoms of serotonin syndrome, caused by excessively high amounts of free serotonin.

When Zoloft is combined with certain other medications, it might trigger a type of heart arrhythmia known as a prolonged QTc interval. Your doctor and pharmacist must have a thorough list of the medications you're taking so they can properly screen for potential interactions. 

Can you take Wellbutrin and Zoloft Together? 

Yes, you can take them both together. Zoloft and Wellbutrin are considered complementary drugs because they work together to affect the trifecta of monoamine neurotransmitters, notably serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine, which have long been involved in depressive symptomatology. Serotonin is covered by Zoloft, whereas the other two are covered by Wellbutrin. 

Another reason Wellbutrin might be added to an existing Zoloft prescription is to help with a particularly unpleasant side effect that all SSRIs have in common: sexual dysfunction. While it's a bit of a crapshoot whether it helps, primarily due to the diverse, complex nature of sexual difficulties, it can fully reverse even serious issues in the bedroom for many individuals.

Is it better to take Wellbutrin or Zoloft?

Because both Wellbutrin and Zoloft are regarded as effective medicines, the optimal option may be chosen by probable adverse effects. Because Wellbutrin is less likely to produce sexual dysfunction and somnolence, it may be preferred by some patients and healthcare providers.

Bottom Line from Practical Anxiety Solutions

Zoloft and Wellbutrin can be a refuge for depression sufferers who were unfortunate with other medications. Both drugs are approved for use in adolescents and adults. The choice between the two may narrow down to potential interactions and adverse effects.

Zoloft tends to cause more sexual side effects and nausea than Wellbutrin. But the latter may be more likely to cause constipation and dry mouth. If you’re experiencing symptoms of depression, it’s best to discuss your options with your healthcare provider. Your healthcare professional will recommend and prescribe the right treatment option. 

  • Granger, Arthur L., et al. "An assessment of patient preference and adherence to treatment with Wellbutrin SR: a web-based survey." Journal of affective disorders 90.2-3 (2006): 217-221. From https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2005.08.018 Obtained on 22/30/2022
  • Kimmick, Gretchen G., et al. "Randomized, double‐blind, placebo‐controlled, crossover study of sertraline (Zoloft) for the treatment of hot flashes in women with early stage breast cancer taking tamoxifen." The breast journal 12.2 (2006): 114-122. From https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1075-122X.2006.00218.x Obtained on 22/30/2022
  • Smucny, John, and Michael S. Park. "Which antidepressant is best to avoid sexual dysfunction?." (2004). From http://hdl.handle.net/10355/3931 Obtained on 22/30/2022
  • Rush, A. John, et al. "Bupropion-SR, sertraline, or venlafaxine-XR after failure of SSRIs for depression." New England Journal of Medicine 354.12 (2006): 1231-1242. From https://doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa052963  Obtained on 22/30/2022
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