Q: Wellbutrin; Movement Disorders & Psychosis
I am wondering if wellbutrin could be the source of my movement
disorder and my psychotic episode. I was on Wellbutrin (for bipolar
disorder) for one year. During that year I rapid cycled and basically
lived a very hellish life.
I went off the Wellbutrin in January 2001. In Febuary 2001 I had my first ever
psychotic episode and I started taking Serquel for it. Exacly when this
episode occured my movement disorder also started. I had many delusion at
the time but the biggest one what that voices were making my arms and legs jerk
and twitch. I know that was just a delusion now and am looking into the
idea that I have a movement disorder.
Now August of 2002 I still get these twitches. It's mostly in my right leg
but sometimes it hits both shoulders at once, or both legs at once. It also
affects my neck at times but this is more rare. It's a strong jerking
movement and sometimes it hurts. Coffee and wine seem to make the jerking
worse. I only get this twitching / jerking when I am relaxed and I can
will it away for short periods of time.
Anyway I've been reading that Wellbutrin affects Dopamine and I know that other
drugs that affect Dopamine cause movement disorders and rebound psychosis.
So I am wondering if you think that Wellbutrin withdrawal could have made me
psychotic and unmasked a movement disorder that was cause by Wellbutrin?
I've been rediagnosed as schizoaffec tive bipolar type but I have been off all
medications for 7 months and have not had any more psychosis and I've only had
one mania and no depressions.
I feel so much better off medications. I exercise a lot and watch what I
eat and go to therapy and do relaxation exercises.
Dear Shawnie --
Congratulations on having found one mood stabilizer I wish I could get all my
patients to take, namely exercise. And on using relaxation exercises as
Your story is disturbing, partly because of the
severity of what you've been through, and partly because I've not seen this
before with Wellbutrin but I think the explanation you've come up with could be
right. I wonder if someone who specializes in Tourette's disorder,
particularly a researcher in this area, might be interested in your story at
least if not be able to help somehow (as you might imagine though, one of the
ways to help Tourette's is with medications, including some of the medications
you're glad to be off...).
Here's a list of
stabilizer options to be aware of if
someday your own management is no
longer enough to control your symptoms.
Published September, 2002