Home Blog

Head-to-head: Comparing Wellbutrin vs Lexapro

Wellbutrin vs Lexapro

Head-to-head: Comparing Wellbutrin vs Lexapro

Written by:

Rabia Khaliq

MSc in Applied Psychology

Wafaa Amjad Dar



The medications listed on this website are provided for informational purposes only. Their inclusion does not guarantee that they will be prescribed to any individual, as treatment decisions are ultimately at the discretion of healthcare providers. This list is not exhaustive, and healthcare providers may prescribe other medications, including non-stimulant options, based on the patient’s unique health circumstances and needs.

Antidepressants are among the most frequently prescribed medications overall. Millions of people worldwide use them to treat depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders. Because of the variety of available options, it’s critical to have complete knowledge of the advantages and disadvantages of each drug before making a choice.

In this post, we describe the specifics of the two commonly prescribed antidepressants: Wellbutrin vs Lexapro. They have various modes of action, indications, and side effects. Below, we compare these medicines in-depth, highlighting their similarities and differences and providing advice on picking the best medication for your requirements.

This guide will provide you with the information you need to discuss your treatment plan with a doctor, so you’ll be able to ask any questions about possible side effects and other aspects.

To choose the best prescription for depression treatment, seek the advice of a medical professional.

Uses of Wellbutrin and Lexapro

Doctors often prescribe either Lexapro or Wellbutrin for anxiety and depression. Wellbutrin (generic name: bupropion) is an atypical antidepressant that affects the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. Lexapro (generic name: escitalopram) is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) that works by increasing serotonin levels in the brain.

Here are a few of the typical on-label and off-label applications for both Lexapro and Wellbutrin.

 FDA-Approved UsesOff-Label Uses
  • Major depressive disorder (MDD [9*] ) in adults and adolescents.
  • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD [10*] )

How Do Wellbutrin and Lexapro Work

Being an SSRI, Lexapro raises serotonin levels in the brain by preventing its reuptake, which increases the amount of this neurotransmitter. Serotonin is important for controlling mood, appetite, and sleep, so its increased amount helps alter the state of mind and emotions.

Wellbutrin drug class is norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitors (NDRIs). It works by increasing the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. It does this by blocking the reuptake of these neurotransmitters, allowing more of them to be available in the brain. Dopamine and norepinephrine play important roles in mood, motivation, and attention.

Lexapro vs. Wellbutrin: Similarities and Differences

The following are some similarities and differences between Lexapro and Wellbutrin:

Drug classificationSelective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI)Norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitor (NDRI)
Available FormsOral tablets and oral solutionOral tablets and extended-release tablets
Available Dosages5 mg, 10 mg, and 20 mg100 mg, 150 mg, 200 mg, and 300 mg
Usual DosageUsual starting dose is 10 mgUsual starting dose is 150 mg
Mechanism of actionIncreases the availability of serotonin in the brainInhibits the reuptake of norepinephrine and dopamine, leading to increased levels of these neurotransmitters
Treatment Duration


(several weeks to months)


(several weeks to months)

Risk of addictionNon-addictiveNon-addictive
Pregnancy categoryC (risk not ruled out)B (no risk demonstrated in animal studies)
ContraindicationsHypersensitivity, use of MAOIs within 14 days, concomitant use with pimozide, linezolid, and intravenous methyl blueHypersensitivity, seizure disorder, anorexia/bulimia nervosa, use of MAOIs within 14 days, concomitant use with linezolid and intravenous methyl blue, and abrupt discontinuation of alcohol, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, and antiseizure drugs


(From $3.49 per unit)


(From $2.65 per unit)

Which antidepressant is right for you? To get the right prescription, connect with the MEDvidi professionals.

Lexapro and Wellbutrin Side Effects

Both drugs have potential side effects, some of which can be severe. The following are a few of the Wellbutrin and Lexapro adverse effects:

Side EffectWellbutrinLexapro
Dry mouth
Increased heart rate
Agitation or anxiety
Activation of mania/hypomania
Seizures (rare but serious)
Risk of bleeding
Drowsiness or fatigue
Increased sweating
Sexual dysfunction
Suicidal thoughts

The risk of sexual side effects is more with Lexapro than with Wellbutrin, so it is the preferred choice in cases where sexual dysfunction is an issue.

Click the button below to get a personalized treatment plan for depression and anxiety.

Wellbutrin vs Lexapro for anxiety

Can You Take Lexapro and Wellbutrin Together?

Both the antidepressants Wellbutrin (bupropion) and Lexapro (escitalopram) enhance the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain in distinct ways. In some circumstances, a healthcare expert may prescribe both medications together. However, this combination should only be carried out with close supervision and under the direction of a healthcare professional.

There are a few reasons for a doctor to recommend Wellbutrin and Lexapro together. Wellbutrin, for instance, can be useful in addressing symptoms of low energy, lack of desire, and difficulties concentrating, often not treated by SSRIs like Lexapro. On the other side, Lexapro frequently works well in easing the symptoms of anxiety, which frequently co-occurs with depression.

Combining these drugs, however, may raise your risk of experiencing some side effects, including agitation, restlessness, and insomnia. Patients having a history of seizures may be more susceptible to side effects from both drugs because they can lower the seizure threshold.

Remember that any changes in the treatment plan, including the medications you take, their dosage, and the duration of treatment, should be discussed with a healthcare professional.

In conclusion

Both Wellbutrin and Lexapro are frequently recommended drugs for treating anxiety and depression. While their modes of action and potential side effects have some similarities, they also differ significantly in some crucial ways that may make one medication more suitable for some people.

The decision between Wellbutrin vs. Lexapro should ultimately be made by a healthcare professional who can evaluate the patient’s unique needs and medical background. To get personalized recommendations and an online prescription, reach out to MEDvidi doctors.


+15 sources
  1. Bupropion in the treatment of major depressive disorder in real-life practice. (2011)
    Source link
  2. Bupropion for the treatment of seasonal affective disorder. (2013)
    Source link
  3. The use of bupropion SR in cigarette smoking cessation. (2008)
    Source link
  4. The Many Uses of Bupropion and Bupropion Sustained Release (SR) in Adults. (2002)
    Source link
  5. Bupropion SR in adults with ADHD: a short-term, placebo-controlled trial. (2005)
    Source link
  6. Significant Treatment Effect of Bupropion in Patients With Bipolar Disorder but Similar Phase-Shifting Rate as Other Antidepressants. (2016)
    Source link
  7. Naltrexone/Bupropion Combination Therapy in Overweight or Obese Patients With Major Depressive Disorder: Results of a Pilot Study. (2013)
    Source link
  8. Psychopharmacology for the Clinician. (2013)
    Source link
  9. Escitalopram for the management of major depressive disorder: a review of its efficacy, safety, and patient acceptability. (2012)
    Source link
  10. Escitalopram for the treatment of GAD: efficacy across different subgroups and outcomes. (2005)
    Source link
  11. Escitalopram in seasonal affective disorder: results of an open trial. (2007)
    Source link
  12. Escitalopram in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: A Case Series. (2007)
    Source link
  13. Efficacy and Tolerability of High-dose Escitalopram in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. (2019)
    Source link
  14. The therapeutic potential of escitalopram in the treatment of panic disorder. (2007)
    Source link
  15. Escitalopram administered in the luteal phase exerts a marked and dose-dependent effect in premenstrual dysphoric disorder. (2008)
    Source link
Written by:

Rabia Khaliq

MSc in Applied Psychology

Wafaa Amjad Dar


Share This One



Recommended Articles

Recent Articles

Join our newsletter

Sign up to receive mental health news and tips delivered right in your inbox every month.


Evidence Based

This article is based on scientific evidence, written by experts and fact checked by experts.

Our team of experts strive to be objective, unbiased, honest and to present both sides of the argument.

This article contains scientific references. The numbers
in the parentheses (1, 2, 3) are clickable links to peer-reviewed scientific papers.