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Monday, August 25, 2008 Kris, Community Member, asks

Q: mixing wellbutrin and celexa

My doctor just prescribed wellbutrin on top of the celexa I am already taking.  What is the difference between what these two drugs do? Do they have different effects on the brain?  Different parts of the  brain?  Thanks.

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Answers (2)
casey, Community Member
8/28/08 11:30pm

Hi Kris,

    Thanks for your question.  The biggest difference between these two medications is based on their mechanism of action and the chemicals that they effect in the brain.  There are 3 major chemicals ( aka neurotransmitters) that are responsible for our mood.  These three chemicals are seritonin,norepinephrine, and dopamine.  The biggest difference between all of the antidepressants on the market are the chemical or chemicals that they effect in the brain.

    For example Celexa which belongs to a larger group of medications known as SSRI's decrease the symptoms of depression by increasing the amount of seritonin that is in the brain.  It does this by decreasing the chemical's breakdown and removal. Seritonin is considered to have the largest impact on an individual's mood.  It is the same neurotransmitter that is released in large amount when an individual eats a particularly good meal and is responsible for that feeling of satisfaction we all get from certain activities.  Depressed individuals often have low levels of seritonin in the brain and therefore find it hard to find satisfaction in the things that they normally would.  This proves the point that depression really is disease and not something that can be cured by "Cheering Up".  

   It has been determined that seritonin is not the only chemical that alters an individuals mood.  The other two chemicals also are considered to effect mood, but the exact relationship is not completely understood.  This is where Wellbutrin comes into play and the reason that it can be sucessfully added to Celexa treatment.

   Wellbutrin is a unique medication that is in a class of its own.  It works on the other two chemicals (dopamine and norepinephrine) that are responsible for  mood.  How  this drug works is not completely understood yet, but it works to increase levels of these other two chemicals. 

  So basically this combination works to improve levels of all the chemicals that are responsible for a persons mood.  The differences are not based on the part of the brain they effect,rather the chemicals.   


Thank you for question and hopefully this helped,


Jan, Community Member
9/ 5/08 10:32pm



I have been on Celexa 80mg and 200mg of Wellbutrin for 15 years. It was the perfect blend for me. About a month ago I started feeling more tired with no change in my schedule so my psych increased my Wellbutrin up to 400mg. A month to the day later, I had a severe seizure and was unconscious for an hour, bit clear through my tongue, injured my neck and collar bone and have no memory of what caused the seizure or how it happened.


If you are considering this antidepressant cocktail of Celexa and Wellbutrin, please do your reasearch and talk to your psychiatrist to see if your type of mental illness will react positively to the blend.


I went off of Wellbutrin in 4 days (per psych's orders) and slept for 14 hours a day for 4 days. I am now being weened off of the Celexa and put back on Zoloft which has a partial norepenephrine uptake like Wellbutrin.


Sometimes, psychiatrists feel that all mentally ill patients are the same (i.e. robots) and will all react the same to the mental illness medications. Please get a second opinion if you have any doubt.



Atypical Bipolar, Community Member
10/28/10 7:51am

Most people don't take 80 mg of Celexa.  This is above the recommended dosage.  In addition, it is recommend to increment by 150mg at a time when increasing the level of wellbutrin. I'm guessing that if the probability of wellbutrin induced seizure really is = 0.0048 at or below 450mg/day then this would not have happened if you were not taking an SSRI at a higher than recommeded dosage.  There is also a risk of inducing serotonin syndrome as well.  Another risky thing to consider.

carmen64g, Community Member
11/ 7/13 5:43pm

I agree those are some really high dosages, I will be taking 10 mg celexa and 75 wellbutrin I would never go higher than 150 with the wellbutrin and never over 20 with celexa, and I feel 20 is too much unless you re really badly depressed.


Atypical Bipolar, Community Member
10/28/10 7:58am

I also agree that some psychiatrists take the formula approach.  Even worse, my ex-wife worked for a mental health center and she said that one of the psychiatrists had all his patients taking this neuroleptic for mania.  He also put me on it when he later diagnosed me with bipolar disorder. This was in the 90's.  I think they were just beginning to try and have success with neuroleptics back then.  Sometimes psychiatrists are publishing the data collected from patients or at least using this data to infer a success rate of some medicine.

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By Kris, Community Member— Last Modified: 05/20/14, First Published: 08/25/08