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scratching the itch

I've been itchy for two weeks now (no, I haven't been hanging out with Kelley). I don't mean the itchy feeling you get in the beginning of winter when the air is dry and the heat is on. I mean itchy. Scratching constantly, driving you crazy type itching.

It started about two weeks ago, on the back of my neck, right at my hairline. Then the top side of my hands began to itch constantly. Then my arms, then the legs. I notice a pattern. Hands itch in the morning, arms in the afternoon, legs at night, with various other parts of my body joining in during the course of the day.

I changed shampoos and soap. I tried a different laundry detergent. I used ten different lotions and creams. Nothing changed. Still, the itch.

Last night I scratched so much that I broke out in hives on my arms and drew blood on my legs. Then it started on my face and some other parts of my body which you cannot scratch in public.

And then my husband said, gee, when did you start taking the Wellbutrin? Hmmm...two weeks ago, why? Oh......

So I did a quick Google on side effects for Wellbutrin. Here's what I found:

Call your doctor AS SOON AS POSSIBLE if you experience rash, itching, or hives.

I found that on every site I went to (you have to dig really deep on Google for these things; it seems the first fifty results for any kind of prescription drug query brings up discount drug stores. One result actually said Need Wellbutrin Side Effects, We Got Them!).

The real sucky part of this is that the Wellbutrin (in addition to the Paxil I've been taking) has really worked. I finally found a good balance of medications that make me feel and function like a normal human being. This is the best I've felt in years and now I'm going to have to give it up because my skin decided to freak out on me. Just my luck.

Now I'm just waiting for 9am to roll around so I can get to the doctor's office. Meanwhile, I'll be sitting here, scratching my skin raw.


Congratulations on finding something that at least works. I hope that you'll be able to get the side-effects issue straightened out....

I've been on Celexa/Lexapro for 3-4 months now, and it is difficult to adequately describe what a tremendous difference it has made in my life. I feel like a normal, functional human with real, honest-to-God emotions. Whodathunkit....

BTW, it's nice to know I'm not the only one losing sleep so early this morning. ;0)


I had similar problems. I took Wellbutrin to quit smoking. Before you cancel your prescriptions, here's what worked for me. I switched soap to the Dove hypoallergenic stuff, and laundry soap to All Free & Clear.

It didn't work a miracle, but it DID help a lot.

You said you switched soaps already, so you may have tried these.

As far as creams go, try one called Ureacin. It's not prescription, but you have to get it from the pharmacist. She'll either have it behind the counter, or can order it the next day. It's about $12 for a container about the size of a noxema container.

i had weird side effects with Wellbutrin, too. Spontaneous and intensely focused, nearly homicidal rage at the dumbest things. So much for THAT.

Hey, at least you aren't pregnant or dying of AIDS or one of the other various maladies that the internet always deduces that you absolutely have. I remember you posting on that earlier.

Ouch. Feel better, Michele.

Feel better. Hopefully the doctor will allow you to continue with the medicine.

good luck, hope they find the right mix without the itch

good luck, hope they find the right mix without the itch

I had a drug that did that to me and they put me on a stronger form of Benadryl basically to counteract the reaction -- hopefully they might have a similar solution for you since it's working otherwise. Hopefully the doctor will be prepared when you get there. Good luck!

I have a bad Wellbutrin story: major major dry mouth. Painfully dry. So dry it felt dry even when my mouth was full of water. So dry I resorted to smearing vasaline on the inside of my mouth for some relief (and yes, it was as awful as it sounds, but still better than the dry mouth).

So I did the same as you and googled for side effects. And found out that the first warning on it says "Not to be given to patients with eating disorders." Guess what I was seeing my doctor for? That's right! An eating disorder! And that's when I realized I hadn't eaten anything for over 24 hours.

Needless to say, I fired that p-doc.

I second the vote of confidence in Lexapro. It has zero side effects. It isn't covered by my insurance formulary, but my doc gives me samples. It's great stuff.

Listen to Josh:

No taking older antihystamines like benadryl for long periods of time... They'll mess up your head.

Cleratin/Alavert (loratadine) doesn't cross the blood/brain barier (at least on most people) and so have no side effects.

I have problems with alergies that make me itch. Loratadine works for me, though when things get really bad I have to take a double dose (shh.).

Megadoses of vitamin C help allergic reactions a bit, though they can cause diarrea.

I have problems taking some medications, not because I'm allergic to the medications themselves but because I'm very allergic to lactose, a common ingredient (it helps pills/capsules dissolve).

I often have to get drugs from a specific company or even a compounding pharmacy to avoid lactose.

And before anyone says something about using enzymes to break down lactose, I'm either to allergic for that to help or I'm allergic to the breakdown products as well.

I took wellbutrin for a while. It was a mixed experience for me.

One thing you might try is SAM-e, available over the counter. It is an antidepressant - not too popular in this country because it's unpatentable (your liver makes SAM-e). The only known side effect is that people with a tendency to mania can't take it. You take up to 1.6 gram/day.

Wellbutrin is unusual because it affects dopamine, something few antidepressants do. I'm not sure if that will help you, but if it helps you, you might look into other drugs that effect that neurotransmitter. Antiparkinsons drugs for instance, like bromocyptine might help. You could look for a psychiatrist who specializes in pharmacology.

Another thing. I don't recommend staying with a drug that you're allergic to. I've tried that a couple of times and I just got sicker and sicker even if the condition being treated was doing well. I'm very sorry. I hope I'm wrong about that in your case.

I'd start shopping for new drugs as awful as that is. That can uproot your life for a year, but you got to do whatever it takes to stay well.

Sorry you're having a hard time - hope you find a solution soon.

wellbutrin is a mixed bag. it helps you tremendously if you want to quit smoking...it's really quite amazing that way. it also is tremendously dehydrating and really cuts your appetite. the funny thing is, it affects your appetite in the same way it affects your nicotine craving...if you're busy (like at work) you just kinda forget about it. i find myself coming home about every other day not having eaten since dinner the night before.

WTF is with you having to google to find that out? Is your doctor an ass? Why didn't he give you a sheet? Hell, everytime I or anyone I know has been put on long-term medication we've always gotten a sheet with possible side-effects and stuff to watch out for (like, "Call your doctor as soon as possible if...").
Bitchsmack that asshat.

Protopic saved my life in much the same situation. Expensive. A little goes a long way. Worth it.

The beauty of Wellbutrin if you're taking it for depression is the lack of sexual side effects. It's potentially worth the itching. I took it for a while with no side effects, went off it, then started again. I broke out in hives on my legs. I stopped taking it, then started again on a lower dosage, slowly building up. No rash. Have your doctor (or another one!) play with the dosage -- try it in conjunction with Lexapro. It might counteract the sexual side effects that Lexapro can sometimes have. Not that sex is the most important thing in the world to everyone.

I'm on the exact same drug combo as you, Michele -- Wellbutrin and Paxil. They've worked miracles for me, so I hope your doc found a solution.

As a fellow Wellbutrin-er (I, too, was amazed at the difference the drug made in my life!) - I hope you find a good solution for yourself. Good luck!

I think I'll just keep to the combo that works for me - paxil and tobacco. :)


So how did it go?

I've been on Zoloft for 3 years, and added Welbutrin about 6 months ago - legacy of my mid-life crisis! Have to say that they are the best things that ever happened to me. I am totally not the same miserable person that I was for years. If not for "better living thru chemistry", I would never have divorced my miserable marriage and gone back to school -- Medical School!

Hang in there!

Oh. My. Gosh. I had sweats, nausea, headaches and a general flu-like feeling. I was antsy and completely unable to concentrate. Turned out that you're not allowed to stop Lexapro cold turkey like I did. I felt sucky to learn that I'm addicted to some damn drug.....
Power to the people who pop pills to stay (somewhat) positive.

I wish I could help with the Wellbutrin (I probably need it) but I stick to the classics – alcohol, caffeine, and occasional nicotine - plus a little Tylenol with codeine for imminent family gatherings. It’s not always sufficient, but the side effects are predictable…



Love can damage more than you can heal with drinking.

I am into my 3rd week on Wellbutrin and I am having some sort of reaction. Intense itching on my scalp and neck, hands, backs of knees, and groin. It's driving me nuts! Worse though is that my eyes are very red and itchy, and puffy. The whites of my eyes are blood red in the morning and Visine doesn't seem to help. I called the doctor today and am hoping to hear back. I am taking LexaPro and just added Wellbutrin and love th energy it gives me. I hope I don't have to give it up!

Marnola, I also started taking Wellbutrin about three weeks ago. A couple of days ago I started itching like crazy, it started with the palms of my hands, the bottom of my feet and then my scalp. My scalp itched worse after I brushed my hair. And my feet would go crazy after I took a shower. I thought I would go insane. Yesterday I was itching so bad I could not study. I called my doctor's answering service and he called back, he told me it would be ok to take benedryl, but it would make me sleepy. So, he suggested I might try claritin. So I did. I took a claritin last night around 1am (the kind that dissolves in your mouth without water)It is now 5:52 pm and I have not had the itching that I'd had for the past few days. I have not taken the Wellbutrin for 3 days now, but I want to continue using it, because it seemed to be helping my problem. But, I can not stand the itching. All my life I've never been much for medications, so it scares me to have to take benedryl and wellbutrin together. I worry about being drugged up all day.


this goes to everyone, always go for the natural,organic way of treating your deseases.sure doctors medicine helps but no one needs all those secundary effects. Natural is the only way to health.

I too have begun the itching. It is driving me crazy. I am suprised I still have skin left on my palms of my hands and bottom of my feet. My scalp itches and I cannot stop itching. I began taking Wellbutrin around 3 weeks ago and like everyone else I really liked Wellbutrin. I tried
Celexa, but I did not like those side effects. I will be calling my Dr. first thing tomorrow morning!!