Modafinil and Wellbutrin: Can They Be Combined?

In this article, we will investigate whether you can combine two drugs: Wellbutrin and Modafinil. Both of these drugs come from distinct groups of drugs, and we will look individually at their properties, uses, and side effects. Lastly, we will finish by diving into whether it is possible to combine them.
Frederika Malichová

Frederika Malichová

Neuroscientist at the University Of Cambridge.

A blue image with text saying "Modafinil and Wellbutrin"

Combining Modafinil and Wellbutrin

The combination of Modafinil and Wellbutrin may potentially lead to complications, such as increased blood pressure.

In addition, both drugs have their own side effects and interactions, and the combination of the two may exacerbate the side effects of both medications.

However, there is no direct answer to whether you can or cannot combine Modafinil and Wellbutrin. It is always recommended to consult with a healthcare professional before combining.

What Is Modafinil?

Modafinil is a nonamphetamine nootropic drug [1], which is usually used to treat excessive daytime sleepiness associated with various sleep disorders. This may include narcolepsy, obstructive sleep apnea, or even shift work sleep disorder [1, 2].

Often times, Modafinil is referred to as a "wakefulness-promoting agent,” which means that it helps to keep you awake.

However, Modafinil is also known to enhance cognitive abilities. For instance, it is used off-label to increase concentration and improve cognitive abilities in healthy individuals. It is also common for students to take Modafinil with the hope of helping them perform better [1].

Modafinil has a unique mechanism of action. When taken Modafinil targets the dopamine transporter, leading to reuptake inhibition and an increase in dopamine levels in the synaptic cleft [3]. Altogether, this makes Modafinil active.

However, like every drug, even Modafinil has side effects. These may include headache, insomnia, anxiety, diarrhea, dry mouth, or an increase in blood pressure and heart rate [1].

What Is Wellbutrin?

Wellbutrin is a prescription drug. It is also sometimes known by its generic name, bupropion.

Bupropion is also the name of the active ingredient in Wellbutrin, and it is exactly bupropion that makes the drug effective [4, 5].

It belongs to a group of drugs known as norepinephrine and dopamine reuptake blockers. Both are types of antidepressants [4].

Wellbutrin is usually used to treat mental health conditions, such as major depressive disorder. It is often used as a preventative treatment for seasonal affective disorder (SAD) [4, 6, 5].

Wellbutrin is usually available in two forms: Wellbutrin SR (sustained-release) and Wellbutrin XL (extended-release). The drug is administered orally and needs to be swallowed [4, 6, 5].

Can You Take Modafinil and Wellbutrin Together?

Unfortunately, whether one can take Modafinil and Wellbutrin together has yet not been addressed in any scientific study. However, we can look at the information available and try to draw conclusions.

Wellbutrin, as an antidepressant drug, can interact with other drugs of this kind and also with stimulant medications. Such interactions can increase the risk of seizures or serotonin syndrome, which is a medical condition caused by an excessive amount of serotonin in the body [6].

On the other hand, Modafinil has been studied before in combination with other stimulants and antidepressants and usually has been well-tolerated [7, 8, 9]. Modafinil, a wake-promoting agent, has been studied in combination with other stimulants and antidepressants. In some cases, it was well-tolerated and did not significantly alter the pharmacokinetics of the other drug [7, 8, 9]. However, this is not true when Modafinil is combined with monoamine oxidase inhibitors, which can lead to adverse reactions [6, 5].

Although there is no direct evidence against combining Modafinil and Wellbutrin, it is important to always consult your intention of combining these two with your healthcare provider.

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Frederika Malichová

Frederika Malichová

Frederika is a postgraduate researcher at the University of Cambridge, where she investigates new biomarkers for Frontotemporal Dementia and other tauopathies. Her research has been published at prestigious conferences such as the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2023. She obtained her BSc in Biomedical Sciences from UCL, where she worked closely with the UK Dementia Research Institute.