updated 6/12/2006 3:32:46 PM ET 2006-06-12T19:32:46

An antidepressant won federal approval Monday as the first drug to treat seasonal affective disorder, the wintertime blues that can strike when the days grow short.

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Wellbutrin XL can be used in the prevention of major depressive episodes in patients with a history of seasonal affective disorder, often called SAD, the Food and Drug Administration said.

SAD is characterized by recurrent major depressive episodes during the fall and winter.

The FDA approved Wellbutrin XL — the extended release version of bupropion HCL in tablet form — in 2003. The original version of the drug won approval in 1985.

Wellbutrin XL is manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline.

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