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Wellbutrin and smoking

Wellbutrin, also known as Buproprion Hydrochloride is a fairly popular prescription medication that is used for the treatment of depression (also known as clinical or major depression). Wellbutrin is also prescribed for people experiencing anxiety and panic attacks. Under the brand name "Zyban" Wellbutrin is also prescribed to help people quit smoking.

Zyban is designed to help smokers quit more easily than if they were to try quitting without the drug. It comes in a pill form. One good thing about Zyban that the NRT (Nicotine Replacement Therapy) can not claim is that Wellbutrin does not contain nicotine. So if a person breaks down and smokes while taking the treatment, they will not "overdose" on nicotine (the addictive ingredient in tobacco) as they may do while using the NRT's. With Zyban, the person can continue to smoke while taking the medication until they reach their planned quit date.

Zyban has an interesting history. People that were taking Wellbutrin for their depression were often telling their care givers that they were losing the desire to smoke. More testing of the medication revealed that it could treat the addiction effectively and help smokers quit. GlaxoSmithKline packaged the Wellbutrin as the stop smoking drug "Zyban".

Zyban reduces the severity of the cravings for nicotine (the addictive ingredient in tobacco). Zyban also eases the withdrawal symptoms, which are usually the reason people fail in their attempts to stop smoking, they begin to smoke again in order to avoid, or stop the withdrawal. Withdrawal symptoms that were reported to have been eased with the use of Zyban include irritability, frustration, or anger; anxiety; difficulty concentrating; restlessness; and depressed mood or negative affect. Studies were able to show that with Zyban treatment there was evidence of reduction in craving for cigarettes or urge to smoke compared to those that were taking a placebo.

Treatment typically lasts for about seven to twelve weeks (although some have stayed on the drug for a few weeks longer) the patient stops tobacco use on around the tenth day of use and they continue to take Zyban for several weeks after quitting smoking. Using Zyban almost doubles the chance that a person will be successful at quitting smoking after three months. This is similar to the NRT's (the nicotine patch or nicotine gum), and after one year people are one and a half times more likely to have maintained the cessation compared to those that were on a placebo during the studies. The studies have shown that combining NRT's with Zyban does not increase the likelihood that people will remain smoke free over time. Although some people have reported that combining the NRT's and Zyban has helped them quit when one or the other alone was not helpful to them.

It is important to note that Zyban also has side effects. Some of the most frequently experienced side effects are dry mouth, vivid dreams and difficulty sleeping. Several people have reported having an allergic reaction to Zyban and this is something to have monitored by your physician. One other dose related side effect from Zyban is the chance of having a seizure. For this reason, patients must be certain that they do not have a seizure disorder; a previous head injury and that are not taking Wellbutrin or Buproprion because they have the same ingredients. Seizure risk is elevated at a dose of 300 mg's and above so physicians are cautioned not to prescribe more than 300 mg for stopping smoking.

When looking into using Zyban as a smoking cessation medication it is critical that the patient consult with a health care practitioner who is aware of the contraindications (reasons a person should not take Zyban) for there are several including but not limited to, excessive alcohol use, severe head injury, a seizure disorder, a history of eating disorders, being under the age of eighteen and some other mental health issues.