Bupropion (Wellbutrin) Dosage for Depression and Anxiety

Daniel Lieberman

Reviewed by Daniel Z. Lieberman, MD

Written by Rachel Sacks

Published 07/20/2020

Updated 11/16/2023

The saying “knowledge is power” applies well in certain situations — like becoming a leader in your field of expertise or knowing the best places to eat (we all have different skills).

Another situation where knowledge is power? Knowing antidepressant medication dosages for depression and anxiety disorders. The more you know about the medications available — from daily doses to side effects — the more comfortable you’ll feel about using them and the sooner you’ll be on your way to getting better.

While there are several options, this guide will focus on one for now. Don’t worry, though — we have plenty of content on other treatments.

We’re talking about bupropion, an FDA-approved antidepressant medication (that’s the U.S. Food and Drug Administration) for major depressive disorder (MDD) and seasonal affective disorder (SAD). This drug is also sold as Zyban® for smoking cessation (a fun way to say it can help you quit smoking).

Also sold under the brand names Wellbutrin®, Wellbutrin SR® and Wellbutrin XL®, bupropion hydrochloride (the super science-y name for the prescription drug) dosage can vary based on several factors. 

There’s plenty of information about bupropion dosages, where to start and how they may affect you. So keep reading to learn more.

Beyond major depressive disorder (or just depression), seasonal affective disorder and smoking cessation, bupropion hydrochloride is used off-label for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), bipolar disorder, weight loss and antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction.

There’s also some evidence suggesting certain bupropion doses help with anxiety symptoms associated with depression.

Your Wellbutrin dosage will depend on what mental health or medical conditions it’s prescribed for, among other factors — but we’ll get into that later.

Initially available as an immediate-release formulation, bupropion hydrochloride is also made as a twice-daily sustained-release tablet (bupropion SR), as well as a once-daily extended-release tablet (known as bupropion XL).

Wellbutrin is sold as sustained-release tablets (Wellbutrin SR) and extended-release tablets (Wellbutrin XL). “Sustained release” and “extended release” mean the medication dissolves slowly, releasing small amounts over an extended period, but extended-release pills usually take slightly longer to dissolve. Since once-a-day dosing is most convenient and least likely to result in missed doses, the XL formulation is almost always used unless there is a digestive issue that requires a sustained or immediate release formulation.

So, what Wellbutrin doses are available? Do sustained-release tablets differ in dosage from extended-release tablets? What’s the Wellbutrin dosage range?

  • Immediate release Wellbutrin is supplied as either a 75 mg (milligrams) or 100 mg tablet.

  • Although there’s no single best starting dose of Wellbutrin, the recommended starting dose is 200 mg per day, taken as a twice-daily dose of 100 mg.

  • The typical Wellbutrin dosage range is 75 mg to 150 mg, depending on your needs. 

  • The maximum Wellbutrin dosage is 450 mg for those who don’t experience any improvement after using a standard dosage for several weeks.

If you’ve been prescribed Wellbutrin online, it’s important to take your medication as recommended by your healthcare provider. Be sure to check your prescription’s packaging to know what your Wellbutrin dosing is.

Also FDA-approved to treat depression and seasonal affective disorder, Wellbutrin XL is an extended-release tablet, meaning the medication is released into the body over time. This means you take a single dose each day.

You now know all the basics of the Wellbutrin dosage range (we won’t quiz you). Here’s a recap of Wellbutrin XL dosages:

  • The lowest dose of Wellbutrin XL is 150 mg. This is the recommended Wellbutrin XL dosage to start with.

  • However, , most people move up to 300 mg Wellbutrin tablet after a few days or a week, depending on your condition and symptoms.

The same information for Wellbutrin applies to Wellbutrin XL: Your medication’s packaging should have the dosage listed, and it’s important to take your prescription as recommended by your healthcare provider.

online mental health assessment

your mental health journey starts here

Can Wellbutrin dosages for anxiety differ from those for depression? Now that we’ve covered the basics of bupropion doses, let’s take a closer look at dosages for depression and anxiety individually.


Like many other antidepressants, bupropion is thought to have an effect on certain chemicals in the brain that impact mood, motivation and more.

Bupropion belongs to a class of antidepressant medications called norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitors (NDRIS).

NDRIs target the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine, although bupropion seems to target them weakly compared to other dopamine reuptake inhibitors. 

Dopamine regulates pleasure and motivation, while norepinephrine keeps your brain alert. Specifically, this effect on dopamine is why bupropion is thought to be effective for smoking cessation.

Different dosage options of bupropion are available for treating depression:

  • Immediate-release tablets are available in 75 mg or 100 mg doses.

  • Sustained-release versions of bupropion (Wellbutrin SR, for example) can contain 100 mg, 150 mg or 200 mg.

  • Extended-release tablets of bupropion contain either 150 mg or 300 mg.

A typical starting dose of bupropion for depression is 150 mg per day.

For treating seasonal affective disorder (seasonal depression), the recommended starting dosage of Wellbutrin XL is 150 mg per day. After a week, your healthcare provider may increase your dosage to 300 mg per day, taken once daily in the morning.


Wellbutrin is used for those who have anxiety symptoms as a result of depression, though there isn’t much research on bupropion solely for anxiety. The current thinking is that you need an antidepressant that interacts with the serotonin system to effectively treat a full-blown anxiety disorder.

And despite the belief that bupropion worsens anxiety, previous studies found that, like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), bupropion treatment has no notable effect on anxiety.

Since there isn’t much known about the dosage for anxiety symptoms, some healthcare professionals suggest going with the “low and slow” approach when a patient’s depression is characterized by prominent symptoms of anxiety. This means using about half the recommended depression doses as a starting point.

Your symptoms, health history, response to the medication and several other factors will be taken into consideration for the Wellbutrin dosage your healthcare provider suggests.

Want to know more about the effect of Wellbutrin on anxiety? Our guide on Wellbutrin and anxiety covers everything you want to know.

So you’ve started taking Wellbutrin or Wellbutrin XL but don’t notice any improvements in your depression or anxiety. Do you increase the dosage? By how much?

Did you just Google “increasing Wellbutrin dosage from 150 to 300 side effects” to find out what’ll happen?

It may be tempting to make changes to your Wellbutrin doses if you aren’t noticing improvements, but definitely seek medical advice from your healthcare provider instead. They may change your dosage or even your type of treatment if necessary.

And we’ll save you the trouble of having to Google “increasing Wellbutrin dosage from 150 to 300” by letting you know it’s safe, so long as your healthcare provider makes the recommendation and it’s been three days since you started the medication.

For a Wellbutrin XL dosage, your doctor may increase your dosage to 300 mg once a day after four days.

There are several reasons why your dosage may need to be increased or adjusted: The placebo effect wears off, your symptoms get worse or you have no significant response to the medication.

This guide on when to increase antidepressant dosage goes into more detail.

Treating depression is a process. Antidepressants like Wellbutrin can take weeks, if not months, to start having an impact.

How do you know your Wellbutrin dosage is working? Some signs Wellbutrin is working include an improved mood, more energy and motivation and better focus.

If your Wellbutrin dosage is increased, you may experience more of the common side effects of bupropion, such as nausea, dizziness, abdominal pain, constipation, weight gain, trouble sleeping, dry mouth or agitation. Some people may also experience high blood pressure while taking Wellbutrin. More serious side effects (though less common) include a risk of seizures or suicidal thoughts.

Also, it shouldn’t be taken with certain other medications to treat depression, such as monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), due to a risk of drug interactions. On the other hand, the combination of Wellbutrin plus an SSRI is a popular choice for people who don’t respond to either one alone.

Fortunately, these adverse effects are fairly mild and tend to go away within a week or two. Still, you should seek medical advice from your healthcare provider if they persist.

And just so you know, Wellbutrin and Wellbutrin XL have a boxed warning known as a black box warning, the highest safety-related warning given by the FDA. This warning notifies people of an increased risk of suicidal thoughts and worsening depression in adolescents and young adults prescribed antidepressants — especially during the first few months of treatment or after your provider adjusts your dosage.

psych meds online

psychiatrist-backed care, all from your couch

Bupropion dosages, like anxiety or depression symptoms, can vary by person. But it’s still helpful to keep this general info in mind:

  • Bupropion (an antidepressant used to treat depression, seasonal affective disorder, ADHD, anxiety, bipolar disorder and more) is sold under the brand names Wellbutrin and Wellbutrin XL. It’s also sold as Zyban to help people quit smoking.

  • A typical starting dosage is 200 mg per day, taken twice a day in 100 mg doses. The maximum Wellbutrin dosage is 450 mg.

  • Wellbutrin XL is the extended-release version, ranging between 150 mg and 300 mg daily.

  • The Wellbutrin dosage range for depression can be between 75 mg and 150 mg per single dose, depending on your needs. However, there isn’t much research on bupropion dosage for anxiety symptoms.

  • It’s not recommended to adjust your bupropion or bupropion XL dosage without seeking medical advice from your healthcare provider first. You could experience more side effects of Wellbutrin and increase your risk of bupropion withdrawal symptoms.

Dealing with depression or anxiety isn’t easy — and  simply knowing all the medication dosages may not make it any easier. That’s why we’re here to assist. Our online psychiatry and mental health services can help you figure out the best treatment for your unique needs.

You can also check out online therapy as an alternative or additional treatment for mental health.

14 Sources

Hims & Hers has strict sourcing guidelines to ensure our content is accurate and current. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references.

  1. Reference ID: 3939632. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  2. Wellbutrin (bupropion hydrochloride) tablets label. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  3. Huecker, M.R., Smiley, A., Saadabadi, A. Bupropion. [Updated 2023 Apr 9]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Retrieved from
  4. Fava, M., Rush, A. J., Thase, M. E., Clayton, A., Stahl, S. M., Pradko, J. F., & Johnston, J. A. (2005). 15 years of clinical experience with bupropion HCl: from bupropion to bupropion SR to bupropion XL. Primary care companion to the Journal of clinical psychiatry, 7(3), 106–113. Retrieved from
  5. Berigan T. R. (2002). The Many Uses of Bupropion and Bupropion Sustained Release (SR) in Adults. Primary care companion to the Journal of clinical psychiatry, 4(1), 30–32. Retrieved from
  6. Reference ID: 4688599. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  7. Wang, L., & Liu, X. (2019). Sustained Release Technology and Its Application in Environmental Remediation: A Review. International journal of environmental research and public health, 16(12), 2153. Retrieved from
  8. Reference ID: 4093863. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  9. Wilkes S. (2008). The use of bupropion SR in cigarette smoking cessation. International journal of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, 3(1), 45–53. Retrieved from
  10. Bupropion (Wellbutrin). (n.d.). NAMI. Retrieved from
  11. Garakani, A., Murrough, J. W., Freire, R. C., Thom, R. P., Larkin, K., Buono, F. D., & Iosifescu, D. V. (2020). Pharmacotherapy of Anxiety Disorders: Current and Emerging Treatment Options. Frontiers in psychiatry, 11, 595584. Retrieved from
  12. Poliacoff, Z., Belanger, H. G., & Winsberg, M. (2023). Does Bupropion Increase Anxiety?: A Naturalistic Study Over 12 Weeks. Journal of clinical psychopharmacology, 43(2), 152–156. Retrieved from
  13. Delong C, Preuss CV. Black Box Warning. [Updated 2023 Feb 11]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Retrieved from
  14. Sub Laban T, Saadabadi A. Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOI). Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing.

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Learn more about our editorial standards here.

Daniel Z. Lieberman, MD

Dr. Daniel Z. Lieberman is the senior vice president of mental health at Hims & Hers and of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at George Washington University. Prior to joining Hims & Hers, Dr. Lieberman spent over 25 years as a full time academic, receiving multiple awards for teaching and research. While at George Washington, he served as the chairman of the university’s Institutional Review Board and the vice chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.

Dr. Lieberman’s has focused on , , , and to increase access to scientifically-proven treatments. He served as the principal investigator at George Washington University for dozens of FDA trials of new medications and developed online programs to help people with , , and . In recognition of his contributions to the field of psychiatry, in 2015, Dr. Lieberman was designated a distinguished fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. He is board certified in psychiatry and addiction psychiatry by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.

As an expert in mental health, Dr. Lieberman has provided insight on psychiatric topics for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of Commerce, and Office of Drug & Alcohol Policy.

Dr. Lieberman studied the Great Books at St. John’s College and attended medical school at New York University, where he also completed his psychiatry residency. He is the coauthor of the international bestseller , which has been translated into more than 20 languages and was selected as one of the “Must-Read Brain Books of 2018” by Forbes. He is also the author of . He has been on and to discuss the role of the in human behavior, , and .


  • 1992: M.D., New York University School of Medicine

  • 1985: B.A., St. John’s College, Annapolis, Maryland

Selected Appointments

  • 2022–Present: Clinical Professor, George Washington University Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

  • 2013–2022: Vice Chair for Clinical Affairs, George Washington University Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

  • 2010–2022: Professor, George Washington University Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

  • 2008–2017: Chairman, George Washington University Institutional Review Board

Selected Awards & Honors

  • 2022: Distinguished Life Fellow, American Psychiatric Association

  • 2008–2020: Washingtonian Top Doctor award

  • 2005: Caron Foundation Research Award


Read more

Care for your mind,
care for your self

Start your mental wellness journey today.