Smoking Cessation Medications

Non-nicotine pill Zyban (also called Wellbutrin or bupropion)

Bupropion hydrochloride (Zyban) was approved in 1997 to help smokers quit. The drug, available by prescription only, is also sold as an antidepressant under the name Wellbutrin.

Common side effects include insomnia, dry mouth and dizziness.

Treatment with bupropion begins while the user is still smoking, one week prior to the quit date. Treatment is then continued for 7 to 12 weeks. Length of treatment is individualized.

Dosing should begin at 150 mg/day given every day for the first 3 days, followed by a dose increase for most people to the recommended dose of 300 mg/day, starting on the 4 day of treatment.

The maximum recommended dose is 300 mg/day, given as 150 mg twice daily. An interval of at least 8 hours between successive doses is advised.

People who have not made significant progress towards abstinence by the seventh week of therapy are unlikely to successfully quit during this attempt, and bupropion treatment should be discontinued.

Varenicline (Chantix®) tablets

The newest prescription drug Chantix, Varenicline tartrate, is only the second nicotine-free smoking-cessation drug to gain FDA approval.

The active ingredient varenicline works by interfering with nicotine receptors in the brain which has two effects -- it cuts the pleasure of smoking and reduces the withdrawal symptoms that lead smokers to light up again and again.

The tablet will be taken twice-daily for 12 weeks, a period that can be doubled in patients who successfully quit to increase the likelihood they remain smoke-free.

The most common adverse side effects include: nausea, headache, vomiting, gas, insomnia, abnormal dreams and a change in taste perception.

Smokers are encouraged to follow the Get Quit Support Plan at

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