Treating depression: Wellbutrin is more effective for females than males.

Millions suffer from depression, so it’s important to know which treatments work.

Women are underrepresented in clinical trials. Thus, it is possible that they react differently to drugs. To study this, we downloaded online drug reviews to see if women responded to drugs differently than men.

Surprisingly, women rated Wellbutrin XL higher than males. Wellbutrin is typically prescribed for depression. Women gave a +1.16 higher score for effectiveness (p=0.004) and +0.83 higher for satisfaction (p=0.045) compared to men.

In the reviews, women write that Wellbutrin XL is “effective”. Over half of the reviews written by women described Wellbutrin as “effective.” In contrast, only 1 out of 5 men described Wellbutrin as “effective.” Meanwhile, 44% of men in their reviews said Wellbutrin was “not effective.” So we can conclude from the reviews that Wellbutrin works better in women than in men.

Here is a detailed comparison of the word frequencies “effective” and “not effective” in men and women:

Phrase Female* Male** p-value
“effective” 54% (13/24) 19% (3/16) 0.025
“not effective” 17% (4/24) 44% (7/16) 0.06

* % of female reviewers that use the phrase
** % of male reviewers that use the phrase

Thus, we can conclude that Wellbutrin is more effective in females than in males.

— Herty Liany and Pauline Ng