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Quitting medication: Zyban (bupropion)

What is Zyban?

Zyban (bupropion) is a prescription medication that can be used to stop smoking.

How to use

Zyban is a 9-week course. You take one tablet taken in the morning and one tablet in the evening. Users are advised to make sure tablets are taken more than eight hours apart. 

How does it help?

Zyban affects areas of the brain that influence nicotine withdrawal. Using Zyban can help to reduce withdrawal symptoms when you quit, such as cravings, irritability, and difficulty concentrating. Zyban may also make smoking seem less rewarding. 

How effective is it?

Taking Zyban reduces nicotine withdrawal. Using Zyban, in combination with Quitline, greatly increases your chance of quitting. 

Pros and cons

Zyban is simple to use, but is not as popular or effective as Champix (varenicline). Like any medication, there is a chance of side effects when taking Zyban. Talk to your doctor about the best option for you.

Where to get it

You can get discounted Zyban on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). You will need to get a prescription from your doctor, which you take to your pharmacist. Zyban is available on the PBS as a 9-week supply, once a year. 

Best use

It’s best to continue to smoke in the first week of Zyban and set a quit date for some time in the second week. Zyban works best when you also work on the stress side of quitting and strategies to beat the habit, which is why combining Quitline with Zyban gives you the best chance of success. 

Side effects

Most people on Zyban will have no side effects. The most common side effects are difficulty sleeping, dry mouth, headache, dizziness, anxiety or nausea. The most serious side effect is the risk of seizure, which occurs in about one in 1000 patients. A small number of people experience fever, joint and muscle pain with skin rash, or mental health problems such as depression and suicidal or self-harming behaviour. Symptoms are more likely to occur early in the treatment. Family members and friends should look out for unusual changes in behaviour or mood. 

For more information: Talk to your doctor, pharmacist or Quitline , or download the Zyban fact sheet

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