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Seizures Secondary to Bupropion Misuse/Abuse: Three Cases

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Background: Misuse and abuse of prescription drugs in the child and adolescent population is a growing health problem that can have devastating consequences. Bupropion is an antidepressant approved for the treatment of depression and smoking cessation in adults; however, it is also used off-label as mono- or adjunct therapy in children and adolescents for the treatment of depression and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Like other prescription drugs, bupropion has also shown abuse potential, but there are concerns for decreased seizure threshold as an adverse effect. Seizures in the context of recreational abuse have been reported in adults but little is known about this phenomenon in adolescents.

Method: We report three cases of adolescents who presented to a tertiary medical center with seizures in the context of a history of recreational abuse of bupropion. We review the intended use of bupropion and the potential for abuse, as well as the side effect profile for providers in consideration of its use in adolescents.

Conclusions: There is a potential for seizures in the use/misuse/abuse of bupropion. Prescribing health providers should warn all patients of this adverse effect and also query history of substance use prior to prescribing bupropion.
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Keywords: Adolescent; bupropion; prescription medications; prevention; seizures; substance abuse

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2013

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  • Adolescent Psychiatry publishes reports of original research, critical reviews of topics relevant to practitioners, clinical observations with analysis and discussion, analysis of philosophical, ethical or social aspects of the fields of psychiatry and mental health, case reports with discussions, letters, and position papers. Adolescent Psychiatry, a peer-reviewed journal, and the official journal of the American Society for Adolescent Psychiatry, aims to provide mental health professionals who work with adolescents with current information relevant to the diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric disorders in adolescence.
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