Bupropion is primarily metabolized to hydroxybupropion by CYP2B6. Therefore, the potential exists for drug interactions between bupropion hydrochloride tablets and drugs that are inhibitors or inducers of CYP2B6.
Inhibitors of CYP2B6
Ticlopidine and Clopidogrel: Concomitant treatment with these drugs can increase bupropion exposure but decrease hydroxybupropion exposure. Based on clinical response, dosage adjustment of bupropion hydrochloride tablets may be necessary when coadministered with CYP2B6 inhibitors (e.g., ticlopidine or clopidogrel) [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)].
Inducers of CYP2B6
Ritonavir, Lopinavir, and Efavirenz: Concomitant treatment with these drugs can decrease bupropion and hydroxybupropion exposure. Dosage increase of bupropion hydrochloride tablets may be necessary when coadministered with ritonavir, lopinavir, or efavirenz [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)] but should not exceed the maximum recommended dose.
Carbamazepine, Phenobarbital, Phenytoin: While not systematically studied, these drugs may induce the metabolism of bupropion and may decrease bupropion exposure [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)]. If bupropion is used concomitantly with a CYP inducer, it may be necessary to increase the dose of bupropion, but the maximum recommended dose should not be exceeded.
Drugs Metabolized by CYP2D6
Bupropion and its metabolites (erythrohydrobupropion, threohydrobupropion, hydroxybupropion) are CYP2D6 inhibitors. Therefore, coadministration of bupropion hydrochloride tablets with drugs that are metabolized by CYP2D6 can increase the exposures of drugs that are substrates of CYP2D6. Such drugs include certain antidepressants (e.g., venlafaxine, nortriptyline, imipramine, desipramine, paroxetine, fluoxetine, and sertraline), antipsychotics (e.g., haloperidol, risperidone, thioridazine), beta-blockers (e.g., metoprolol), and Type 1C antiarrhythmics (e.g., propafenone and flecainide). When used concomitantly with bupropion hydrochloride tablets, it may be necessary to decrease the dose of these CYP2D6 substrates, particularly for drugs with a narrow therapeutic index.
Drugs that require metabolic activation by CYP2D6 to be effective (e.g., tamoxifen) theoretically could have reduced efficacy when administered concomitantly with inhibitors of CYP2D6 such as bupropion. Patients treated concomitantly with bupropion hydrochloride tablets and such drugs may require increased doses of the drug [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)].
Coadministration of bupropion hydrochloride tablets with digoxin may decrease plasma digoxin levels. Monitor plasma digoxin levels in patients treated concomitantly with bupropion hydrochloride tablets and digoxin [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)].
Use extreme caution when coadministering bupropion hydrochloride tablets with other drugs that lower seizure threshold (e.g., other bupropion products, antipsychotics, antidepressants, theophylline, or systemic corticosteroids). Use low initial doses and increase the dose gradually [see Contraindications (4), Warnings and Precautions (5.3)].
Bupropion, levodopa, and amantadine have dopamine agonist effects. CNS toxicity has been reported when bupropion was coadministered with levodopa or amantadine. Adverse reactions have included restlessness, agitation, tremor, ataxia, gait disturbance, vertigo, and dizziness. It is presumed that the toxicity results from cumulative dopamine agonist effects. Use caution when administering bupropion hydrochloride tablets concomitantly with these drugs.
In postmarketing experience, there have been rare reports of adverse neuropsychiatric events or reduced alcohol tolerance in patients who were drinking alcohol during treatment with bupropion hydrochloride tablets. The consumption of alcohol during treatment with bupropion hydrochloride tablets should be minimized or avoided.
Bupropion inhibits the reuptake of dopamine and norepinephrine. Concomitant use of MAOIs and bupropion is contraindicated because there is an increased risk of hypertensive reactions if bupropion is used concomitantly with MAOIs. Studies in animals demonstrate that the acute toxicity of bupropion is enhanced by the MAO inhibitor phenelzine. At least 14 days should elapse between discontinuation of an MAOI intended to treat depression and initiation of treatment with bupropion hydrochloride tablets. Conversely, at least 14 days should be allowed after stopping bupropion hydrochloride tablets before starting an MAOI antidepressant [see Dosage and Administration (2.4, 2.5), Contraindications (4)].
False-positive urine immunoassay screening tests for amphetamines have been reported in patients taking bupropion. This is due to lack of specificity of some screening tests. False-positive test results may result even following discontinuation of bupropion therapy. Confirmatory tests, such as gas chromatography/mass spectrometry, will distinguish bupropion from amphetamines.
Pregnancy Exposure Registry
There is an independent pregnancy exposure registry that monitors pregnancy outcomes in women exposed to any antidepressants during pregnancy. Healthcare providers are encouraged to register patients by calling the National Pregnancy Registry for Antidepressants at 1-844-405-6185 or visiting online at https://womensmentalhealth.org/clinical-and-research-programs/pregnancyregistry/antidepressants.
Data from epidemiological studies of pregnant women exposed to bupropion in the first trimester have not identified an increased risk of congenital malformations overall (see Data). There are risks to the mother associated with untreated depression in pregnancy (see Clinical Considerations). When bupropion was administered to pregnant rats during organogenesis, there was no evidence of fetal malformations at doses up to approximately 10 times the maximum recommended human dose (MRHD) of 450 mg/day. When given to pregnant rabbits during organogenesis, non-dose–related increases in incidence of fetal malformations and skeletal variations were observed at doses approximately equal to the MRHD and greater. Decreased fetal weights were seen at doses twice the MRHD and greater (see Animal Data).
The estimated background risk for major birth defects and miscarriage is unknown for the indicated population. All pregnancies have a background risk of birth defect, loss, or other adverse outcomes. In the U.S. general population, the estimated background risk of major birth defects and of miscarriage in clinically recognized pregnancies is 2% to 4% and 15% to 20%, respectively.
Disease-Associated Maternal and/or Embryo/Fetal Risk: A prospective, longitudinal study followed 201 pregnant women with a history of major depressive disorder who were euthymic and taking antidepressants during pregnancy at the beginning of pregnancy. The women who discontinued antidepressants during pregnancy were more likely to experience a relapse of major depression than women who continued antidepressants. Consider the risks to the mother of untreated depression and potential effects on the fetus when discontinuing or changing treatment with antidepressant medications during pregnancy and postpartum.
Human Data: Data from the international bupropion Pregnancy Registry (675 first trimester exposures) and a retrospective cohort study using the United Healthcare database (1,213 first trimester exposures) did not show an increased risk for malformations overall. The Registry was not designed or powered to evaluate specific defects but suggested a possible increase in cardiac malformations.
No increased risk for cardiovascular malformations overall has been observed after bupropion exposure during the first trimester. The prospectively observed rate of cardiovascular malformations in pregnancies with exposure to bupropion in the first trimester from the international Pregnancy Registry was 1.3% (9 cardiovascular malformations/675 first trimester maternal bupropion exposures), which is similar to the background rate of cardiovascular malformations (approximately 1%). Data from the United Healthcare database, which had a limited number of exposed cases with cardiovascular malformations, and a case-control study (6,853 infants with cardiovascular malformations and 5,763 with non-cardiovascular malformations) of self-reported bupropion use from the National Birth Defects Prevention Study (NBDPS) did not show an increased risk for cardiovascular malformations overall after bupropion exposure during the first trimester.
Study findings on bupropion exposure during the first trimester and risk for left ventricular outflow tract obstruction (LVOTO) are inconsistent and do not allow conclusions regarding a possible association. The United Healthcare database lacked sufficient power to evaluate this association; the NBDPS found increased risk for LVOTO (n = 10; adjusted OR = 2.6; 95% CI: 1.2, 5.7), and the Slone Epidemiology case control study did not find increased risk for LVOTO.
Study findings on bupropion exposure during the first trimester and risk for ventricular septal defect (VSD) are inconsistent and do not allow conclusions regarding a possible association. The Slone Epidemiology Study found an increased risk for VSD following first trimester maternal bupropion exposure (n = 17; adjusted OR = 2.5; 95% CI: 1.3, 5.0) but did not find increased risk for any other cardiovascular malformations studied (including LVOTO as above). The NBDPS and United Healthcare database study did not find an association between first trimester maternal bupropion exposure and VSD.
For the findings of LVOTO and VSD, the studies were limited by the small number of exposed cases, inconsistent findings among studies, and the potential for chance findings from multiple comparisons in case control studies.
Animal Data: In studies conducted in pregnant rats and rabbits, bupropion was administered orally during the period of organogenesis at doses of up to 450 and 150 mg/kg/day, respectively (approximately 10 and 6 times the MRHD, respectively, on a mg/m2 basis). There was no evidence of fetal malformations in rats. When given to pregnant rabbits during organogenesis, non-dose–related increases in incidence of fetal malformations and skeletal variations were observed at the lowest dose tested (25 mg/kg/day, approximately equal to the MRHD on a mg/m2 basis) and greater. Decreased fetal weights were observed at doses of 50 mg/kg/day (approximately 2 times the MRHD on a mg/m2 basis) and greater. No maternal toxicity was evident at doses of 50 mg/kg/day or less.
In a pre-and postnatal development study, bupropion administered orally to pregnant rats at doses of up to 150 mg/kg/day (approximately 3 times the MRHD on a mg/m2 basis) from embryonic implantation through lactation had no effect on pup growth or development.
Data from published literature report the presence of bupropion and its metabolites in human milk (see Data). There are no data on the effects of bupropion or its metabolites on milk production. Limited data from postmarketing reports have not identified a clear association of adverse reactions in the breastfed infant. The developmental and health benefits of breastfeeding should be considered along with the mother’s clinical need for bupropion hydrochloride tablets and any potential adverse effects on the breastfed child from bupropion hydrochloride tablets or from the underlying maternal condition.
In a lactation study of 10 women, levels of orally dosed bupropion and its active metabolites were measured in expressed milk. The average daily infant exposure (assuming 150 mL/kg daily consumption) to bupropion and its active metabolites was 2% of the maternal weight-adjusted dose. Postmarketing reports have described seizures in breastfed infants. The relationship of bupropion exposure and these seizures is unclear.
Safety and effectiveness in the pediatric population have not been established [see Boxed Warning, Warnings and Precautions (5.1)].
Of the approximately 6,000 subjects who participated in clinical trials with bupropion sustained-release tablets (depression and smoking cessation trials), 275 were aged ≥65 years and 47 were aged ≥75 years. In addition, several hundred subjects aged ≥65 years participated in clinical trials using the immediate-release formulation of bupropion (depression trials). No overall differences in safety or effectiveness were observed between these subjects and younger subjects. Reported clinical experience has not identified differences in responses between the elderly and younger patients, but greater sensitivity of some older individuals cannot be ruled out.
Bupropion is extensively metabolized in the liver to active metabolites, which are further metabolized and excreted by the kidneys. The risk of adverse reactions may be greater in patients with impaired renal function. Because elderly patients are more likely to have decreased renal function, it may be necessary to consider this factor in dose selection; it may be useful to monitor renal function [see Dosage and Administration (2.3), Use in Specific Populations (8.6), Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)].
Consider a reduced dose and/or dosing frequency of bupropion hydrochloride tablets in patients with renal impairment (Glomerular Filtration Rate: less than 90 mL/min). Bupropion and its metabolites are cleared renally and may accumulate in such patients to a greater extent than usual. Monitor closely for adverse reactions that could indicate high bupropion or metabolite exposures [see Dosage and Administration (2.3), Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)].
In patients with moderate to severe hepatic impairment (Child-Pugh score: 7 to 15), the maximum dose of bupropion hydrochloride tablets is 75 mg daily. In patients with mild hepatic impairment (Child-Pugh score: 5 to 6), consider reducing the dose and/or frequency of dosing [see Dosage and Administration (2.2), Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)].
Bupropion is not a controlled substance.
Controlled clinical trials conducted in normal volunteers, in subjects with a history of multiple drug abuse, and in depressed subjects showed some increase in motor activity and agitation/excitement, often typical of central stimulant activity.
In a population of individuals experienced with drugs of abuse, a single oral dose of 400 mg of bupropion produced mild amphetamine-like activity as compared with placebo on the Morphine-Benzedrine Subscale of the Addiction Research Center Inventories (ARCI) and a score greater than placebo but less than 15 mg of the Schedule II stimulant dextroamphetamine on the Liking Scale of the ARCI. These scales measure general feelings of euphoria and drug liking which are often associated with abuse potential.
Findings in clinical trials, however, are not known to reliably predict the abuse potential of drugs. Nonetheless, evidence from single-dose trials does suggest that the recommended daily dosage of bupropion when administered orally in divided doses is not likely to be significantly reinforcing to amphetamine or CNS stimulant abusers. However, higher doses (which could not be tested because of the risk of seizure) might be modestly attractive to those who abuse CNS stimulant drugs.
Bupropion hydrochloride tablets are intended for oral use only. The inhalation of crushed tablets or injection of dissolved bupropion has been reported. Seizures and/or cases of death have been reported when bupropion has been administered intranasally or by parenteral injection.
Studies in rodents and primates demonstrated that bupropion exhibits some pharmacologic actions common to psychostimulants. In rodents, it has been shown to increase locomotor activity, elicit a mild stereotyped behavior response, and increase rates of responding in several schedule-controlled behavior paradigms. In primate models assessing the positive-reinforcing effects of psychoactive drugs, bupropion was self-administered intravenously. In rats, bupropion produced amphetamine-like and cocaine-like discriminative stimulus effects in drug discrimination paradigms used to characterize the subjective effects of psychoactive drugs.
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