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Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 2011 Nov-Dec;33(6):612-7. doi: 10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2011.07.001. Epub 2011 Aug 26.

Bupropion-induced psychosis: folklore or a fact? A systematic review of the literature.

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Carilion Clinic Virginia Tech-Carilion School of Medicine, Psychiatry Residency Program, Roanoke, VA, USA.



Bupropion is a substituted phenyl-ethylamine that is extensively utilized for the treatment of major depressive disorder and for smoking cessation. It is a reuptake inhibitor of dopamine and norepinephrine, and it also has some nicotinic antagonism. There are concerns that it may increase the risk of psychosis due to its dopaminergic effects. Our objective is to review the literature and analyze the risk of bupropion precipitating a psychotic illness in the general population as well as in the populations with a history of psychotic symptoms.


A Medline database search limited to human and English-language studies was conducted using the keywords "bupropion" and "psychosis." A total of 23 articles were selected based on the relevance of the articles and their references. The data from these articles were collated.


Collated data show that there is some evidence to suggest that bupropion may cause or worsen psychosis in selected subpopulations. Higher doses of bupropion appear more likely to be associated with the outcome severity. Preexisting psychotic symptoms, substance abuse and drug interactions also seem to increase the risk. Concurrent use of antipsychotics at adequate doses appears to be protective.


The literature is incomplete and in some cases contradictory. In selected cases, bupropion appears to be associated with the induction of psychotic symptoms in addition to the precipitation or worsening of an existing psychotic syndrome. Further research including controlled studies is required to clarify the risk of bupropion precipitating a psychotic illness in vulnerable populations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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