What is Zyban?
Zyban is an anti-smoking pill that seems to reduce nicotine withdrawal symptoms and the urge to smoke, and it contains no nicotine. The action of the drug is still not fully understood, but it seems to have an effect on the chemicals in the brain associated with nicotine addiction (which include beta-endorphins, acetylcholine, dopamine and norepinephrine). This medication works by affecting noradrenergic and dopaminergic pathways in the brain and thereby relieving the symptoms of depression. It is not known exactly how Zyban works to help people stop smoking. Bupropion Hydrochloride, its trade name, is also prescribed for depression and sometimes ADHD. In this version, it is called Wellbutrin. Zyban and Wellbutrin are the same exact medication, Bupropion Hydrochloride, but are marketed differently. The doses used are different because each medication is used to treat different conditions.
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.
One of the advantages of Zyban is that it is different from other aids such as patches, gums. The main unique feature about Zyban is that it does not have nicotine in it. This eliminates the need for electronic cigarettes, too. Thus, it eliminates the chance of nicotine overdose. It is considered safer to use than products that have nicotine solutions in them.
Furthermore, the formula of Zyban is very similar to a popular antidepressant drug called Wellbutrin. Therefore, if a person is trying to stop using tobacco, cigarettes, or other harmful tobacco products; it should help you.
They also have the benefit of lessening symptoms of depression. This helps make the process of not wanting to smoke much easier. When people are on the Zyban drug and corresponding cessation plan they are gradually weaned off tobacco. There is a quite date that is set and you are not required to stop smoking immediately while taking it.
This is a more realistic way to deal with smoking withdrawals than would be other methods. In fact, this product provides a higher success rate than typical nicotine products, and it some people prefer it over certain “willpower” or hypnosis techniques.
Using bupropion for 7 to 9 weeks doubles the likelihood that you will still be tobacco-free 6 months after you quit. It works just as well as nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs). Using bupropion along with nicotine replacement therapy (such as nicotine patches, gum, or inhaler) may increase your chances of success.
Taken as directed, bupropion reduces:
- Irritability, restlessness, anxiety.
- Difficulty concentrating.
- Feeling unhappy or depressed.
This product does help with physical cravings. However, people still have to deal with the psychological aspects of smoking. For instance, there are many “triggers” such as taking a coffee or snack break at certain times. It also might be sitting in smoking sections of restaurants. These aspects of quitting smoking also need to be addressed as well as any other.
Furthermore, there are possible side effects associated with using Zyban. The most common ones are very minor, but worth noting. Usually the worst that happens is a person suffers from dry mouth and has difficulty sleeping. Dry mouth sensation affects 1 out of 10 people who use bupropion. Difficulty sleeping (insomnia) affects 35% to 40% of people. If you take a morning and evening dose, taking the evening dose in the afternoon may help with sleep problems. Take the evening dose at least 8 hours after the morning dose.
In over 70% of the people who use bupropion, the above side effects go away within about a week after they stop taking the medicine. Only about 10% of people have to stop taking bupropion because of side effects.
Another couple of side effects that are common include skin rash and shakiness. Sometimes people who use this product also notice aggravated agitation, headaches, and changes in appetite.
Some of the more server side effects you may have heard about including seizures or heart attacks could occur of Zyban is mixed with the wrong medication. This is a concern in people who are using various antidepressants, heart meds, and other prescription drugs.
Less common side effects (occurring in less than 10% of people) include:
- Difficulty concentrating.
- Upset stomach (nausea).
There is a small risk of having seizures when using bupropion. The risk increases if you have had seizures in the past before using bupropion.
Who Should and Who Should Not use Zyban?
Bupropion is approved for use in people who smoke 10 or more cigarettes a day and are at least 18 years old. Doctors prescribe it to help people when they quit smoking.
You should not take bupropion if you:
- Are already taking other medicines that contain bupropion (such as Wellbutrin).
- Have seizures or a medical condition that makes you prone to seizures.
- Are taking a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI).
- Have an eating disorder.
- Have an alcohol use problem.
What to Think About?
You begin using bupropion 1 to 2 weeks before you quit smoking so that you build up the level of medicine in your body. Some people prefer bupropion to other treatments, because it does not contain nicotine and they have something to rely on before their quit date. On the other hand, some people prefer a product they can take as needed for quick relief when craving occurs.
Like other treatments, bupropion works best when it is part of a program that includes setting a quit date; having a plan for dealing with things that make you reach for a cigarette (smoking triggers); and getting support from a doctor, counselor, or support group.
Using bupropion along with nicotine replacement therapy (such as nicotine patches, gum, or inhaler) may work better than either therapy alone. Talk to your doctor before combining bupropion with nicotine replacement therapy.
Bupropion should not be used during pregnancy unless you and your doctor decide the benefits outweigh the risks and you are unable to quit smoking without using medicine. Women should not breast-feed while taking this medicine. Talk with your doctor about whether you can use this medicine during pregnancy.
When Will Zyban Start to Work?
You should start feeling the effects of Zyban within one to two weeks if you are taking the medication to help stop smoking. It may take longer to experience the full effects of Zyban, which depends on dosage and varies from person to person.
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