is an antidepressant, but it is also prescribed to help people
quit smoking. It can be used alone or in combination with a nicotine replacement product.
How Bupropion Works
Bupropion appears to affect 2 brain chemicals that may be related to
nicotine addiction: dopamine and norepinephrine. Bupropion reduces the cravings that smokers get when they try to quit. It also seems to reduce many of the nicotine withdrawal symptoms, such as irritability, frustration, and anger.
Start taking bupropion 1-2 weeks before you plan to stop smoking. This will give the medication enough time to reach adequate levels in your body.
Do not double the dose. Taking too much bupropion at one time can cause serious reactions, including seizures.
If all goes well and you are successful in quitting, you should plan to keep taking bupropion for 7-12 weeks. Your doctor may advise staying on treatment for 6 months after quitting, depending on your circumstances.
Most people do not have side effects from taking bupropion for smoking cessation. If side effects do occur, they can usually be minimized. In addition, side effects are most often temporary, lasting only as long as you are taking the medication.
There are rare, but serious side effects that you should be aware of. Medications like bupropion may cause severe mood and behavior changes in some people, including suicidal thoughts. Young adults may be more at risk for these side effects. Make sure you call emergency medical services right away if this happens to you.
More serious, but less common side effects may include:
Serious allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis
Symptoms of an Overdose
Symptoms of an overdose may be more severe than side effects seen at regular doses, or 2 or more side effects may occur together. Call for emergency medical services right away if you notice any of the following:
It is clear from all of the studies on smoking cessation that your chance of long-term success depends a great deal on your motivation and commitment to quitting, regardless of which therapy you choose.