quit smoking medications quit smoking medications

quit smoking medications

To relieve withdrawal symptoms

There are two non-nicotine oral medications to help people quit smoking: they are Zyban (bupropion) and Champix (varenicline). These medications appear to work in the addiction centre of the brain by relieving the psychological and physiological symptoms of nicotine withdrawal.

Both Zyban and Champix are available by prescription only. They need to be started before your quit date (usually 7-10 days prior) to allow the medication to build in the bloodstream.

For more detailed information about these medications, click on a link below. To find out if they might be right for you, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Zyban (bupropion)

This drug was first researched and marketed as an antidepressant, however bupropion was later found to be effective as a smoking cessation aid. It is believed to mimic the effects of nicotine on the brain and lessen your symptoms of withdrawal.

Consider using this product if you:

  • Feel that taking a medication would be the best option for you.
  • Prefer to not use a nicotine product.
  • Would like to use both a prescription medication along with a nicotine replacement product.

How it’s used:

  • Taken as a pill. Follow instructions as provided by your doctor or pharmacist.

Dosage:

  • The recommended and maximum dose of Zyban is 300 mg/day, given as 150 mg twice daily

Duration:

  • Treatment should be continued for 7 to 12 weeks.

Watch out for:

  • May not be a good choice for people having a history of seizures, bulimia and/or anorexia, taking monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors, or those who are allergic to bupropion hydrochloride.
  • Avoid use if you are alcohol dependent, taking St. John’s Wort and/or SSRI (selective reuptake inhibitor) antidepressants.
  • Common side effects include dry mouth and difficulty sleeping.  These side effects are usually mild and temporary.

Champix (varenicline)

Varenicline is a type of medicine that works on the same receptors in the brain that nicotine does. It produces an effect that can relieve your cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Varenicline also blocks nicotine from reacting with the brain, so if you do inhale nicotine, it won’t have any of the rewarding sensations you’ve become accustomed to thereby breaking the reward cycle.

Consider using this product if you:

  • Feel that taking a medication would be the best option for you.
  • Prefer to not use a nicotine product.

How it’s used:

Taken as a pill. Follow instructions as provided by your doctor or pharmacist.

Dosage:

  • Supplied for oral administration in 2 strengths: 0.5 mg and 1.0 mg.

Duration:

  • The typical treatment period for this medication is 12 weeks. An additional course of 12 weeks may be considered for people who successfully stop smoking at the end of the initial 12 weeks.

Watch out for:

  • Some individuals have reported adverse reactions or side effects such as depression, aggression, feelings of anger and even suicidal thoughts. If at any time you begin to feel any of these symptoms, speak to your physician immediately. You should also note any personality changes and keep in constant communication with your physician to ensure you are not having an adverse reaction.
  • Side effects include nausea, abnormal dreams, constipation, flatulence, and vomiting.  These side effects are generally mild to moderate.
  • Not recommended for patients with end-stage renal disease.

Champix Provides Flexibility to Help You Quit Successfully Read more.
New Research on Safety and Efficacy of Using Champix (varenicline) to Help with Quitting Smoking Read more.

For more information about these medications, talk to your health care provider or call the Smokers’ Helpline: 1-800-363-5864