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What Is Bupropion Used For?

How Bupropion Works

Bupropion is a norepinephrine and dopamine reuptake inhibitor, or NDRI for short. NDRIs, such as bupropion, affect specific chemicals within the brain known as norepinephrine and dopamine. Norepinephrine and dopamine are two of several chemicals used to send messages from one nerve cell to another.
 
As a message travels down a nerve, it causes the end of the cell to release norepinephrine (or dopamine). The norepinephrine (or dopamine) enters the gap between the first nerve cell and the one next to it. When enough norepinephrine or dopamine reaches the second nerve cell, it activates receptors on the cell and the message continues on its way. The first cell then quickly absorbs any norepinephrine or dopamine that remains in the gap between cells. This is called "reuptake."
 
Normally, this process works without any problems. But when the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine become unbalanced, it can cause a variety of conditions, including depression and seasonal affective disorder. Bupropion helps to block the reuptake of norepinephrine and dopamine so that more remains in the space between the brain's nerve cells. This gives the norepinephrine and dopamine a better chance of activating the receptors on the next nerve cell.
 
Currently, the only NDRI antidepressants approved for use are medications containing bupropion. Wellbutrin is the short-acting version of bupropion. Bupropion also comes in longer-acting forms, including:
 

 

Bupropion for Use in Children

Bupropion is not approved for use in children with depression. Talk with your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of using bupropion in children with depression.
 
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Bupropion HCl

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