|Type of medicine||Smoking cessation aid|
|Used for||Helping people to stop smoking|
Nicotine is a drug that is inhaled from the tobacco in cigarettes. It gets into the bloodstream, and stimulates the brain. Most regular smokers are addicted to nicotine. Even though you want to quit smoking, it can be difficult to succeed, because nicotine addiction is strong and hard to break. This is where bupropion can help.
Stopping smoking in somebody who smokes regularly causes a reduction of some chemicals in the brain, which leads to cravings, anxiety, irritability and other symptoms associated with 'giving up'. Bupropion is thought to work by increasing the levels of these chemicals which then relieves the withdrawal symptoms that you get when you stop smoking.
Bupropion does not 'make' you stop smoking. You still need determination to succeed and to break the smoking habit. A combination of bupropion with counselling from a nurse, doctor, pharmacist, or other health professional increases your chance of successfully stopping smoking. Therefore, most doctors will only prescribe bupropion to people who really want to stop smoking as part of a 'stopping smoking' programme.
Before taking bupropion
Before taking bupropion make sure your doctor or pharmacist knows:
- If you are under 18 years of age.
- If you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
- If you have liver or kidney problems.
- If you have diabetes.
- If you have epilepsy or any other condition which causes seizures (fits).
- If you have ever had an eating disorder, such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia.
- If you have bipolar disorder.
- If you have an alcohol or drug problem.
- If you have a tumour in your brain, spine or nervous system.
- If you have ever had a serious head injury.
- If you are taking other medicines, including those available to buy without a prescription, herbal and complementary medicines.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to this or to any other medicine.
How to take bupropion
- Before starting this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack.
- Take bupropion exactly as your doctor has told you. If you are elderly or if you have certain liver or kidney diseases, your dose may be different to below and your doctor will advise you if this is the case.
- Start by taking one tablet (150 mg) each day for six days. Then increase to one tablet twice a day, at least eight hours apart. Do not take more than one tablet at any one time, and do not take more than two tablets in a day. Aim to stop smoking completely on day eight of treatment. This allows bupropion to build up in your body before you stop smoking. You should then continue the tablets for a further seven weeks.
- The tablets should be swallowed whole with a drink of water, and should not be crushed or chewed.
- You can take bupropion tablets before or after meals.
- Try to take bupropion at the same time(s) each day to avoid missing any doses.
- If you do forget to take a dose, do not worry, just take the next dose when it is due. Do not take two doses together to make up for a forgotten dose.
Getting the most from your treatment
- Try to keep your regular appointments with your doctor. This is so your doctor can check on your progress. Your blood pressure may need to be measured while taking this medicine.
- Bupropion will help you to give up smoking, but you still need determination to succeed and to break the smoking habit. If you are still smoking after seven weeks, discuss this with your doctor.
- Bupropion may affect your concentration and cause you to feel dizzy. If this happens, do not drive or use tools or machines.
- Speak with your doctor for advice about taking bupropion and alcohol. You may be advised not to drink alcohol while you are being treated with bupropion.
- If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with bupropion.
- This medicine is for you. Never give it to others, even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.
Can bupropion cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.
|Common bupropion side-effects||What can I do if I experience this?|
|Difficulty sleeping||Avoid taking your last dose near bedtime|
|Feeling dizzy||If this happens, do not drive or use tools or machines|
|Headache||Ask your pharmacist to recommend a suitable painkiller|
|Dry mouth||Try chewing sugar-free gum or sucking sugar-free sweets|
|Feeling or being sick, stomach pain||Keep to simple foods, and eat smaller meals but more regularly|
|Constipation||Eat a well-balanced diet containing fruit and vegetables, and drink plenty of water|
|Feeling shaky or agitated, difficulty concentrating, changes to the way things taste||If any of these become troublesome, speak with your doctor|
Important: if you feel depressed or start having thoughts about harming yourself, let your doctor know straightaway. Depression can occur as a symptom of nicotine withdrawal and it also can occur rarely in people taking bupropion.
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, discuss them with your doctor or pharmacist.
How to store bupropion
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
Important information about all medicines
Further reading & references
- British National Formulary; 62nd Edition (Sep 2011) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London
- Manufacturer's PIL, Zyban® 150 mg prolonged-release film-coated tablets; Manufacturer's PIL, Zyban® 150 mg prolonged-release film-coated tablets, GlaxoSmithKline UK, electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated November 2011.
|Original Author: Helen Allen||Current Version: Helen Allen||Peer Reviewer: Prof Cathy Jackson|
|Last Checked: 19/01/2012||Document ID: 3866 Version: 24||© EMIS|
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.