Can Bupropion Cause Erectile Dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction is the inability to get an erection which occurs in men. When engaging in sexual activity, a man with erectile dysfunction (ED) has trouble maintaining or getting an erection. Although it is a widespread illness that can affect anyone at any age, older men are more prone to develop it than younger ones.

Bupropion, an antidepressant drug, is used to treat major depressive disorder. However, it may help in lessening the erectile dysfunction caused by bupropion. 

We will go into detail about bupropion and its effect on erectile dysfunction in this article. 

What is Bupropion?

Bupropion is an antidepressant drug. The main conditions that bupropion is used to treat are major depressive disorder and seasonal affective disorder. It is also marketed under the name Wellbutrin. It can occasionally be used to assist smokers in quitting. Bupropion is thought to function by elevating the levels of some brain chemicals, including dopamine and norepinephrine, which are important for controlling mood.

How Does Bupropion Work?

Although the exact mechanism of action of bupropion is unknown, it is thought to operate by interfering with several brain neurotransmitters, including dopamine and norepinephrine.

Bupropion increases the availability of these neurotransmitters in the brain by inhibiting their reuptake. Increasing the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine can help reduce the symptoms of depression and enhance focus and attention because they both have a role in regulating mood, energy, and motivation.

Furthermore, nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, which are involved in the addiction process and may support bupropion’s efficacy as a smoking cessation aid, may be affected by it.

It is believed to affect several neural pathways in the brain, including nicotinic acetylcholine receptors and neurotransmitter reuptake.

What is Erectile Dysfunction?

A man with erectile dysfunction (ED) has problems maintaining or achieving an erection during sexual engagement. Another name for it is impotence. Older men are more likely to get it than younger men, although it is a common disorder that can affect anyone at any age.

ED may be influenced by several factors, including physical and psychological ones. Physical factors include conditions including diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and neurological disorders. Smoking, binge drinking, and inactivity are other lifestyle factors that may be linked to ED. Psychological factors such as stress, worry, sorrow, and relationship problems can either cause or contribute to ED. ED has also been linked to specific drugs. 

Drug-Induced Erectile Dysfunction

When certain medications disrupt the normal physiological processes involved in getting and maintaining an erection, it can result in drug-induced erectile dysfunction (ED). Numerous drugs, including various antidepressants, antihypertensive meds, antipsychotics, and chemotherapeutic treatments, among others, have been linked to this illness.

Depending on the particular drug, different medications have different modes of action for drug-induced ED. For instance, some antidepressants function by preventing the reuptake of serotonin, which can lower sexual desire and make getting an erection harder. The same is true for several antihypertensive medications, which might result in ED by reducing blood pressure, which in turn can limit blood flow to the penis.

Can Bupropion Treat Erectile Dysfunction?

The effects of bupropion on sexual function, particularly erectile dysfunction (ED), have been researched. Bupropion may improve sexual function, according to some research, however, the evidence is scant. 

According to certain studies, bupropion may help some patients’ sexual function, including ED, potentially as a result of its effects on raising dopamine and norepinephrine levels in the brain [1]. 

Bupropion may be a treatment option for Serotonin reuptake inhibiting antidepressants (SRI) induced sexual dysfunction [2]. A study showed forty-seven patients who had SRI-induced sexual dysfunction whose symptoms improved following the intake of bupropion. 

Bupropion should only be used for the treatment of ED under the supervision of a healthcare provider because it is not a medicine that has been approved for this usage.

Side Effects of Bupropion

  • Agitation or restlessness
  • Allergic reactions, including hives, itching, or swelling
  • Blurred vision
  • Changes in mood or behaviour, such as aggression or hostility
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Dry mouth
  • Headache
  • Increased heart rate
  • Insomnia or difficulty sleeping
  • Mania or psychosis
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Suicidal thoughts or behaviors
  • Tremors or shaking

Popular Brands of Bupropion

  • Wellbutrin
  • Zyban
  • Aplenzin
  • Budeprion SR
  • Budeprion XL
  • Forfivo XL

Who Should Not Take Bupropion?

  • People who are allergic to bupropion or any of the ingredients in the medication.
  • People who have a seizure disorder or a history of seizures.
  • People who have or have had an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia.
  • People who are currently undergoing abrupt withdrawal from alcohol or sedatives (including benzodiazepines).
  • People who have a recent history of a heart attack or have severe heart disease.
  • People who are taking certain medications such as monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), thioridazine, or linezolid.

Potential Drug Interactions With Bupropion

Bupropion can have negative effects and interact negatively with several drugs. Here are some potential drug reactions to be aware of when taking bupropion:


Bupropion may interact negatively with other antidepressants and raise the chance of seizures or serotonin syndrome, a potentially fatal illness that can result in agitation, confusion, a rapid heartbeat, high blood pressure, and fever.

Blood thinners

Bupropion can interact with other anti-seizure drugs such as carbamazepine, phenobarbital, and phenytoin and reduce the seizure threshold, which can increase the chance of seizures.

Anti-seizure medications

Bupropion can interact with other anti-seizure drugs such as carbamazepine, phenobarbital, and phenytoin and reduce the seizure threshold, which can increase the chance of seizures.


Bupropion and beta-blockers may interact and raise blood pressure.


Bupropion may interact negatively with stimulants, leading to seizures, high blood pressure, or other negative consequences.


Consuming alcohol while taking bupropion can put your liver at risk for damage and increase your chance of having seizures.

Other Steps to Lessen ED

Exercise — Exercise frequently prevents ED by keeping a healthy weight and increasing blood flow.

Maintain a healthy weight —  obesity and being overweight increase the risk of ED. By keeping a healthy weight through a balanced diet and frequent exercise, this risk can be reduced.

Consume a healthy, balanced diet —   that is high in fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and healthy fats to maintain overall wellness and reduce your risk of getting ED.

Control chronic conditions —  Diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease are all hazards for ED. By medicating these conditions, altering one’s lifestyle, and having regular medical attention, one might reduce their risk.

 Avoid smoking and binge drinking —  Both of these can increase your risk of developing ED. Smoking cessation and alcohol restriction can also reduce this risk.

  Get enough restful sleep —  Sleeping enough is important for health and can help reduce stress, which is a major factor in the development of ED.

 Reduce stress —  ED may be brought on by ongoing stress. By acquiring effective stress management skills, such as meditation, exercise, or counseling, this risk can be reduced.

Other Medications to Treat ED

Erectile dysfunction can be treated with a variety of medications. Sildenafil, tadalafil, vardenafil, and avanafil are a few of these.

These medications also referred to as PDE5 inhibitors, work by increasing blood flow to the penis. This may make it easier to get and maintain an erection when sexually aroused and stimulated. 

Pharmaceutical alternatives that can treat ED are:

  • Sildenafil (Viagra, Cenforce, Kamagra, Fildena, P-Force, Vygex, & more)
  • Tadalafil (Cialis, Tadagra)
  •  Avanafil (Avaforce, Stendra, Avana)
  •  Mirodenafil (Mvix)
  •  Udenafil (Zydena)


Antidepressant medicine bupropion is occasionally used outside of its approved uses to treat sexual dysfunction, including erectile dysfunction. This is because bupropion has been demonstrated in some individuals to have a favorable impact on libido and sexual function.

Bupropion is known to raise dopamine and norepinephrine levels in the brain, which can enhance sexual desire and arousal, while the exact mechanism of action is still unclear.

It is crucial to remember that not everyone who takes bupropion will see improvement in their erectile dysfunction, and this drug may have unwanted side effects. It is always better to talk to a healthcare professional about any erectile dysfunction concerns so they can assist by establishing the best course of treatment for the individual. 


  1. Gitlin, M. J., Suri, R., Altshuler, L., Zuckerbrow-Miller, J., & Fairbanks, L. (2002). Bupropion-sustained release as a treatment for SSRI-induced sexual side effects. Journal of Sex &Marital Therapy, 28(2), 131-138. 
  2. Ahston, A. K., & Rosen, R. C. (1998). Bupropion as an antidote for serotonin reuptake inhibitor-induced sexual dysfunction. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 59(3), 112-115. 






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