Those desperately trying to quit smoking with little to no success may find some hope in prescription medication. Zyban is a prescription drug used to help people stop smoking.
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The active ingredient in Zyban is bupropion, which is an antidepressant (sold under the brand name Wellbutrin) prescribed to treat clinical depression. The medication is manufactured and marketed by GlaxoSmithKline, and was approved for use as a smoking cessation aid in 1997.
How Does Zyban Work?
Zyban does not contain nicotine. Although the exact mechanism of action is not well understood, Zyban alters the brain’s chemistry, which results in reduced nicotine cravings and decreased interest in smoking. The drug also mitigates nicotine withdrawal symptoms and slows down the rate of weight gain that usually accompanies smoking cessation.
The standard dose of Zyban is between 150 and 450 mg, and treatment lasts between 7 to 12 weeks. The person continues to smoke for approximately 10 days when first starting a Zyban regimen.
Is Zyban Effective?
In a clinical study, only 27% people who took Zyban for 7 weeks felt the urge to smoke was problematic for them vs. 56% of people who took a placebo. After three months, the chances of successfully quitting smoking doubled. After 1 year, people who took Zyban were 1.5 times more likely to sustain their non-smoking lifestyle.
Zyban is better because it does not contain nicotine and does not expose smokers to cigarette gases. Some people also feel alert, vigorous, elated and energetic, due to the stimulating properties of bupropion, but without the addicting properties like in amphetamines. The US authority has also said it is non-abusable. It is also the only subsided quit smoking drug in Australia.
Zyban Side Effects
Although Zyban is effective at helping people quit smoking, it can cause dangerous and life-threatening side effects to develop. Namely, the product must carry the FDA’s black box warning because people who have taken the drug experienced neuropsychological problems. This includes the onset of depression, suicidal behaviour, and suicide ideation.
People who display erratic or sudden changes in behaviour, depressed mood, hostility, anxiety, or suicidal thoughts should seek immediate medical care.
This medication is also well-known for increasing a person’s risk of having a seizure, and the risk increases with the amount of medication used.
Other side effects of using this medication include:
- Reduced sex drive
- Headache or migraine
- Constipation, appetite changes, weight changes
- Nausea, vomiting
- Dry mouth
- Mild itching or rash
- Increased sweating
If you have seizures, experience severe blistering or peeling, develop a fever or swollen glands, experience confusion, hallucination, or unusual thoughts and behaviour, consult with your doctor as soon as possible.
Zyban: Facts to Know
Because of the serious side effects associated with this medication, Zyban should not be used as a first-line therapy for smoking cessation. Like Chantix, this prescription drug is mostly for people who have unsuccessfully tried to quit smoking using other methods. You should carefully consider the benefits and disadvantages associated with this medication before asking your doctor for a prescription.
On the other hand, you can bypass the drama of dealing with prescription drugs and use an all-natural method to quit smoking once and for all.
What Is The Success Rate?
A number of studies have shown that Zyban increases the chance of stopping smoking by 2.1 times and that 7.5 cigarette smokers need to use Zyban for 1 to quit smoking. A study also showed that Zyban produced better smoking cessation rates than nicotine patches alone.
Zyban is the only quit smoking pill subsidised by the government of Australia and general practitioners report successes up to 38% at 10 weeks.
How Do You Take It?
Zyban is taken once a day (150mg) initially for 3 days, then increased to twice daily with effects seen after 7 days of starting it. In Australia, it is subsidized for use up to 9 weeks, but in order to stop smoking, smokers are recommended to take it between 8-12 weeks, with a population mean of about 5 weeks.
People taking Zyban for up to a year can help to maintain abstinence, but smoking rates are similar 1 year later and there is high level evidence that although it is unlikely to harm, there is no clear benefit.
Zyban has been shown to help people cease smoking, and has been long established. Zyban can help people feel alert and energetic and the fact that Australia even subsidizes it means it is an efficacious product.