Why is Zyban prescribed?
Zyban is a nicotine-free quit-smoking aid. Instead of nicotine, it
contains the chemical buproprion. It works by boosting the levels of
several chemical messengers in the brain. With more of these chemicals
at work, you experience a reduction in nicotine withdrawal symptoms and
a weakening of the urge to smoke. More than a third of the people who
take Zyban while participating in a support program are able to quit
smoking for at least 1 month. Zyban can also prove helpful when people
with conditions such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema decide it's
time to quit.
Most important fact about Zyban
About 1 person in 1,000 suffers a seizure while taking Zyban. For
this reason, people with epilepsy and certain other disorders should
never take the drug. Don't share Zyban with friends. Only a doctor can
decide whether it's safe for a particular individual.
How should you take Zyban?
Treatment with this drug begins while you are still smoking. Zyban
needs about a week to reach an effective level in your body; so to
improve your chance of success, you should not attempt to quit until
the second week of treatment. Set a firm date for quitting. If you are
still smoking after that date, your odds of breaking the habit will be
worse. You should keep taking Zyban for 7 to 12 weeks.
You can use nicotine patches along with Zyban. However, combining
the two treatments can raise your blood pressure, so it's important to
tell your doctor if you plan to use both. Do not smoke while using a
patch, because too much nicotine can cause serious side effects.
Participating in a counseling or support program will make success
more likely. Your doctor can recommend a local program for you.
Swallow Zyban tablets whole. Do not chew, divide, or crush them. Take them exactly as prescribed.
If you miss a dose...
Do not take an extra tablet to "catch up" for the missed dose. Skip
the dose and take your next tablet at the regularly scheduled time.
Store at room temperature in a tightly closed container. Keep out of direct sunlight.
What side effects may occur?
Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in
intensity, inform your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can
determine if it is safe for you to continue taking Zyban.
Side effects include:
Dry mouth and sleeplessness
These are generally mild and usually disappear after a few weeks. If
you have difficulty sleeping, avoid taking Zyban close to bedtime and
ask your doctor about reducing your dosage.
Why should Zyban not be prescribed?
Because Zyban has been known to trigger convulsions, no one with a
seizure disorder should take this drug. Also avoid Zyban if you are
taking any other drug that contains bupropion, Zyban's active
ingredient. The more bupropion you take, the more likely you are to
have a seizure.
Zyban's seizure-triggering potential is greater in people with an
eating disorder such as bulimia or anorexia, and in those undergoing
abrupt withdrawal from alcohol, sedatives, and tranquilizers such as
Librium and Valium. If you suffer from one of these problems, never
take Zyban. Avoid it, too, if you are taking a drug classified as an
MAO inhibitor, such as antidepressants. Allow at least 14 days to pass
between taking one of these drugs and starting your Zyban therapy.
If bupropion or any other ingredient in Zyban has ever given you an allergic reaction, the drug is not for you.
Special warnings about Zyban
Because the chance of a seizure from Zyban rises with the amount in
your system, never take more than one 150-milligram tablet at a time,
and limit your total daily intake to 2 doses (300 milligrams).
A variety of conditions can predispose you to seizures, including:
- Prior head injuries
- Prior seizures
- Central nervous system tumors
- Cirrhosis of the liver
- Too much alcohol
- Abrupt withdrawal from alcohol, tranquilizers, or sedatives
- Addiction to narcotics or cocaine
- Use of over-the-counter stimulants or diet pills
- Use of diabetes medications
- Use of antidepressants, major tranquilizers, steroids, or theophylline
If any of these apply to you, use Zyban with care. If you do have a
seizure while taking Zyban, stop taking the drug and never take it
Stop taking Zyban and call your doctor immediately if you have
difficulty breathing or swallowing; notice swelling in your face, lips,
tongue, or throat; develop swollen arms and legs; or break out with
itchy eruptions. These are warning signs of a potentially severe
If you have a liver or kidney condition, make sure the doctor is
aware of it. Your dosage may need to be reduced. (If you have severe
cirrhosis of the liver, your dosage must be reduced.) Also make certain
the doctor knows about any heart condition you may have.
Zyban can interfere with your driving ability. Don't drive or
operate dangerous machinery until you are certain of the drug's effect
Possible food and drug interactions when taking Zyban
If Zyban is used with certain other drugs, the effects of either
could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important
to check with your doctor before combining Zyban with the following:
- Beta-blockers (heart and blood pressure medications)
- Heart-stabilizing drugs
- Major tranquilizers
- MAO inhibitors
- Steroids such as prednisone and hydrocortisone
Quitting smoking, with or without Zyban treatment, could change the
way your body metabolizes certain drugs, for example, theophylline and
warfarin. Make sure your doctor knows all the prescription and
over-the-counter medicines you're taking.
Special information if you are pregnant or breastfeeding
Zyban has not been tested in pregnant women. If you are pregnant or
plan to become pregnant, do your best to quit smoking with the aid of
counseling and support before turning to drug therapy. For the sake of
the baby, you should avoid smoking or taking nicotine in any other form
Zyban appears in breast milk and could affect a nursing infant. Ask
your doctor whether it will be better to discontinue the medication or
to stop breastfeeding.
Recommended dosage for Zyban
The usual starting dose is one 150-milligram tablet in the morning
for the first 3 days. After that, take one 150-milligram tablet in the
morning and another in the early evening. Keep doses at least 8 hours
apart. The maximum recommended dose is 300 milligrams daily.
Continue taking Zyban for 7 to 12 weeks. Your doctor may recommend continuing treatment for up to 6 months.
Kidney and Liver Disease
Your doctor may reduce the frequency of your doses to avoid high
blood levels of Zyban. If you have severe cirrhosis of the liver, you
should take no more than 150 milligrams every
The safety and efficacy of Zyban have not been established in children under 18.
Information on Zyban overdose is limited. However, any medication
taken in excess can have serious consequences. If you suspect an
overdose, seek medical attention immediately.
Symptoms of Zyban overdose may include:
Blurred vision, confusion, grogginess, jitteriness, light-headedness, nausea, seizure, sluggishness, visual hallucinations