Zyban

Zyban

Zyban is the brand name for bupropion hydrocholoride, a medicine that helps people to stop smoking. Buproprion hydrochloride is the active ingredient in Zyban. This medicine comes in tablet form and you take it over a 7-12 week period as a stop-smoking programme. More information

A doctor will review your order and write you a prescription, if appropriate. This prescription is then forwarded to a pharmacy. The pharmacy will have your medicine delivered to you within one to three working days. Read more about this process here.

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Zyban can be used to help stop smoking. It can be taken alone or in conjunction with other therapies to give up smoking. This medicine works on the chemistry of the brain to help alleviate the desire and cravings to smoke. Zyban is not a nicotine replacement product and does not contain any nicotine. This is a slow-release tablet that is taken over a period of 7-12 weeks. A smoker will usually have stopped smoking during the second week of taking this medicine. Zyban is only suitable for adults aged 18 and over who wish to give up smoking. 

What is Zyban? 

Zyban is the brand name for bupropion hydrocholoride, a medicine that helps people to stop smoking. Buproprion hydrochloride is the active ingredient in Zyban. This medicine comes in tablet form and you take it over a 7-12 week period as a stop-smoking programme. 

It works by affecting the balance of chemicals in the brain to assist with stopping smoking. It does not usually work on its own to stop a person smoking. If you take Zyban you must be determined to stop smoking and set a day to stop (usually during the second week of taking this medication). It is recommended to use Zyban in conjunction with other stopping smoking techniques such as therapy and possibly nicotine replacement products (usally gum or patches) if your doctor thinks this will benefit you.  

Stopping smoking can be difficult for many people as the nicotine in cigarettes acts as a drug. If you smoke you are likely to be addicted to nicotine. Zyban can make stopping smoking easier and manageable. However, there is also a certain degree of willpower needed when stopping smoking, along with support from family, friends, possibly group therapy and your doctor. How you stop smoking will depend on you and which method you feel most comfortable with. 

Nicotine affects some of the neurotransmitters in the brain. These neurotransmitters (known as noadrenaline and dopamine) affect our mood and give us a sense of pleasure and reward (the same as those that give us pleasure when we eat or drink something we enjoy). It is believed Zyban keeps these neurotransmitters active and so reduces the desire to smoke.Bupropion (Zyban) was originally used as an anti-depressant medicine under the brand name of Wellbutrin. It was found that when people took Bupropion to treat depression their desire to smoke reduced. Zyban was approved as an aid to stopping smoking in 1997.   

Note that Zyban is not a selective reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) which are the most common forms of anti-depressant medicines. These increase the levels of serotonin in a person’s brain. Zyban works in a different way. It is known as a norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitor (NDRI) which boosts the neurotransmitters in the brain. Bupropion is still used today as an anti-depressant medication, as well as to help stop smoking. It is also used to treat seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which is a form of depression that occurs at particular times of the year, usually during autumn and winter.

When is Zyban used? 

Zyban is used when a person wants to give up smoking and is finding it hard to do so. Smoking is an addition to nicotine and giving up can be difficult. Once you start smoking it becomes a habit that can be very hard to break. Zyban can help reduce cravings for cigarettes and the desire to smoke. If you want to take Zyban in conjunction with nicotine replacement therapy it is important to speak to your doctor as they will advise you on the best way to do this. When you take Zyban to give up smoking you must also set a date on which you intend to stop. This is usually during the second week of taking this medication. This gives the Zyban an adequate amount of time to start working in your body and to begin to stop you having cravings to smoke. It is important to know that Zyban will not cause you to stop smoking overnight. You must follow a programme and take the medication regularly as prescribed in order to achieve successful results. 

How do you use Zyban? 

You should start to take Zyban as prescribed by your doctor one week before giving up smoking. Zyban does not immediately replace the need to smoke.It is important to set a program and planned date to stop smoking when you begin to take Zyban. You take Zyban tablets whole with water, with or without food. You should not chew the tablets, this leads to more side effects, possible even seizures. 

When using Zyban in conjunction with giving up smoking it usually takes about 7-12 weeks to completely stop smoking. The average time period for stopping is 9 weeks.  It is recommended to set a date for stopping during the second week of taking Zyban. You should tell your doctor about any other medication you are taking, including herbal medicines, before you start to take Zyban. 

What dosages are there? 

Zyban comes in 150 mg tablets. The usual dosage is: 

  • 1 x 150 mg tablet for six days (your doctor may vary this)  
  • 1 x 150 mg tablet twice a day for 7-12 weeks (depending on the advice of your doctor) 

When you take two tablets per day it is important to leave a period of at least eight hours between the doses. You should also note that Zyban can cause problems with sleep, so we advise you to plan your second dose well before the time you go to bed. This means you must also work out when to take the first tablet, so you take it eight hours before the second. If you forget a dose do not take an additional tablet to make up for it. This could be dangerous and cause seizures. If you miss a dose you should wait until the next programmed time before you take another tablet. 

What are the side effects of Zyban? 

As with all medicines there is the possibility of side effects. These can include: 

  • Depression 
  • Insomnia 
  • Dizziness 
  • Drowsiness 
  • Constipation 
  • Sore throat 
  • Frequent urination 
  • Shortness of breath 
  • Fever 
  • Anxiety 
  • Nausea or vomiting 
  • Headaches 
  • Dry mouth 
  • High blood pressure 

In rare cases Zyban can cause confusion, seizures, rapid or irregular heartbeats, aggression, paranoia or delusions. If you experience side effects when taking Zyban you should talk to your doctor. 

When shouldn’t you use Zyban? 

Zyban should be taken with caution in older people (over 65 years of age). You should not take Zyban if you are allergic to Bupropion or any of the ingredients on the package leaflet. Zyban may not be suitable for you if you have kidney or lung problems. This medicine is not suitable for children and should only be used by adults who are over 18 years of age. 

Zyban should not be taken if you are pregnant, trying to become pregnant or breastfeeding. You should not take Zyban if you have had a recent head injury, if you have high blood pressure, suffer from depression or any psychiatric illness or you have alcohol problems. If you have diabetes you should monitor your glucose levels. It is also important to tell your doctor if you have any kind of eating disorder (anorexia nervosa) or bulimia. Inform your doctor if you have ever had or are prone to seizures. Alcohol should be avoided or your intake reduced if you are taking Zyban. If you feel dizzy while taking Zyban do not drive or operate machinery. 

Does Zyban interact with other medication? 

As with all medicines, there is a possibility Zyban could react with other medication you are taking. It is essential to tell your doctor about any medicines you are taking before commencing with Zyban treatment, including herbal medicines. Zyban can cause high blood pressure so you must tell your doctor if you are taking medication for this. In addition to telling your doctor about any medication you are taking you must inform them if you are taking any medication for depression. 

If you are taking other medication your doctor will decide whether it is safe to take it in conjunction with Zyban, whether you should stop, whether you should take an alternative medication, or if the dose should be changed. 

Where can you buy Zyban? 

You can purchase Zyban from a pharmacy with a prescription from a doctor. 

Can I get Zyban without a prescription? 

No, Zyban requires a prescription from a doctor and is not available over-the-counter. 

 

 

References

Bupropion. (n.d). Retrieved April 29, 2019 from  https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a695033.html 

Kandola, A. (2019, January 15). Nicotine withdrawal symptoms and how to copy. Retrieved 29 April, 2019 from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323012.php 

Lerche Davis, J. (2001, September 20). More Good News on Zyban and Smoking. Retrieved 29 April, 2019 from https://www.webmd.com/smoking-cessation/news/20010920/more-good-news-on-zyban-smoking#1 

Marshall, H. (2013, October 2). Zyban (bupropion). https://www.netdoctor.co.uk/medicines/a8168/zyban-bupropion/ 

Assessed by:

Dr Wouter Mol, General practitioner
Registration number: BIG: 9057675501

Dr Wouter Mol studied medicine at the University of Groningen. From 2002 to 2003, he served as a resident in neurology, and from 2003 to 2005 he completed his residency training in internal medicine and emergency medicine. Wouter Mol has been working as a GP since 2005.