I found this thread after having one of my worst Crohn's flares ever right at the time I had a colonoscopy scheduled (November 7, 2013). I had been on Remicade in the past but stopped taking it due to fear of side effects and started trying natural therapies. The natural therapies I was on worked to some degree, but when I started noticing I was having more "bad days" than good I scheduled the colonoscopy so I could see where things were at and consult with my Gastro on how to best address the issues.
My Gastro is well aware of my desire to avoid drugs that have a side effect of "cancer" and "death", and thankfully is willing to work with me to experiment with different solutions. After the colonoscopy and subsequent CAT Scan (the inflammation found in the procedures was horrible!) I asked him about
Wellbutrin for it's TNF-inhibiting properties. He said there was nothing in the medical resources available to him that indicated it worked at all for Crohn's, but he was still willing to let me give it a try. Due to insurance restrictions, I could only get started on 200mg daily of the "immediate release" generic (Bupropion) tabs -- one tab twice daily -- and even with that dosage I noticed an incredible turn-around. I'm about
45 days into this treatment and I am having solid bowel movements once or twice a day. Of those 45 days, I had one bad week (somewhere between the 3rd and 4th week), but taking a probiotic capsule once a day for a couple of days cleared it right up. I am amazed! I have a follow-up appointment with my Gastro in about
2.5 weeks and I'm looking forward to getting another round of blood tests to see how my levels look, but I feel great!
There are some side effects of Wellbutrin/Bupropion to be aware of, not all of them bad. The ones I experienced are:
* Headaches. I started having headaches when I started taking the Bupropion and these lasted roughly 3 weeks. I took Ibuprofen as needed to get through them. Headaches are no longer a problem for me.
* Increased aggitation. This seems counter-intuitive for an anti-depressant, but I noticed I was more "on edge" shortly after starting the treatment. This lasted only about
3 weeks, though. I feel balanced and calm now.
* Hot flashes. I started having hideous hot flashes that would wake me almost hourly at night, and were starting to make me miserable at work during the day. I researched alternative therapies for this and found Pycnogenol, Maca Root, apple cider vinegar and Vitamin E could help. I tried the apple cider vinegar solution for a few days (sipping on a glass of water with 2 teaspoons of the vinegar in it) until the other supplements could kick in. I no longer have horrible hot flashes but do periodically feel warm in the night, but it's not so intense that it keeps me awake.
* Increased libido. Holy cow!
My sex drive went from zero to 100 in a week, and it hasn't abated at all. My husband is rather delighted with this side effect, as am I. Even if this turns out not to work long term for the Crohn's, it would be worth continuing on the Wellbutrin just for this "side effect" alone!
* Decreased appetite. Being overweight, I'm loving this side effect. I haven't weighed myself since starting, but can tell I've lost some weight just by the way my clothes are fitting.
* Decreased alcohol cravings. Another great side effect! I was drinking waaaaay too much, and once I started drinking, I couldn't stop. Since starting on Wellbutrin, I no longer have serious alcohol cravings. I can go days without a drink, and if I do grab an alcoholic beverage I can have just a couple and stop. Wellbutrin seems to have turned on an indicator in my brain that tells me when I've had enough, and I can simply stop at that point.
I hope to post periodic updates here as I continue down this treatment path. If things continue the way they have up to this point, though, I'm declaring this a "miracle drug"!