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Using Bupropion (Zyban) as a Quit Smoking Aid


Updated June 25, 2008

What is Zyban?

Zyban® and Wellbutrin® are both brand names for the generic drug, bupropion hydrochloride. While bupropion is not for everyone, it does have the advantage of lessening the discomforts associated with nicotine withdrawal. This can make cessation much more manageable for those people who haven't been able to successfully quit smoking using other methods.

Originally marketed as an anti-depressant drug, bupropion is available by prescription only. Its effectiveness as a quit smoking aid was discovered when smokers using it to treat depression also lost interest in smoking. People not planning to quit smoking found themselves stopping with relative ease. Nicotine withdrawal symptoms usually associated with quitting smoking were minimal.

In 1997, the FDA approved Zyban to be used as a quit smoking aid, and since then, bupropion has become a popular method to help smokers kick the habit. Bupropion, when used in combination with other nicotine replacement therapies (NRT's), such as the nicotine patch or nicotine gum, increase the chances for long term success with smoking cessation.

Common Side Effects of Bupropion:

  • dry mouth
  • dizziness
  • insomnia
  • change in appetite
  • agitation
  • headaches
More serious side effects, such as seizures, while rare, can occur.

Bupropion is not for everyone. Listed below are conditions under which taking this drug would not be recommended.

Don't Take Bupropion If:

  • You are taking Wellbutrin or Wellbutrin SR (both are bupropion HCl)
  • You are taking any other medicine containing bupropion HCl
  • You have or have had a seizure disorder
  • You have or have had an eating disorder
  • You are abruptly discontinuing use of alcohol or sedatives(including benzodiazepines)
  • You are currently taking or have recently taken a monoamine oxidase inhibitor(MAOI)
  • You are allergic to bupropion HCl
  • You are pregnant or nursing.
Note: It is important to have a thorough discussion with your doctor about using bupropion as a quit smoking aid. He/she will know your medical history and be able to help you make an informed decision about what is right for you.

Brand names for bupropion are:
    Wellbutrin® SR
    Wellbutrin® XL
See Also: Zyban Patient Information

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