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Bupropion SR (brand name: Zyban or Wellbutrin)

Bupropion SR (Wellbutrin/Zyban) is a prescription drug that helps people quit smoking or chewing tobacco. Bupropion SR does not contain nicotine and is not addictive. It is unclear exactly how bupropion SR works to help a person quit using tobacco, but it probably causes the brain to release additional dopamine, which helps reduce the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal.

Benefits of bupropion SR

  • It is easy to use. It is a pill that you take once or twice a day.
  • It reduces cravings to smoke and lessens nicotine withdrawal.
  • It has no nicotine in it, which may be important to some people.
  • It can reduce weight gain after quitting for some people.

How to use it

  • Your health care provider or pharmacist will tell you how much to take and how to use it.
  • Alcohol use is NOT recommended while taking bupropion SR. However, if you drink regularly or heavily, please do not stop drinking suddenly once you start taking the medication. Reduce your drinking slowly or consult your healthcare provider. Let your health care provider know how much you drink when you ask for your prescription.
  • It is important to swallow the bupropion SR tablet whole. Do not chew, divide or crush tablets.

PLEASE NOTE this information is not intended to replace the advice of your health care provider or pharmacist. Always follow the advice of your health care provider or pharmacist regarding proper use and read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully before you start taking this product.

Before using bupropion SR, let your health care provider know if you:

  • Have ever had a seizure, stroke, brain tumor or severe head injury.
  • Have an eating disorder.
  • Are pregnant or are actively trying to get pregnant.
  • Are taking an MAOI medication for bipolar disorder.
  • Drink more than two alcoholic drinks per day or binge drink.
  • Are currently taking Zyban or Wellbutrin.
  • Have liver disease. You may need a lower dosage.

Cost

Bupropion SR costs less per day than a pack of cigarettes! Remember to check with your employer or health plan to see if they pay for all or part of your prescription.

Side effects

See page 33 of the Quit Guide for common minor side effects. If you experience any side effects that worry you when taking bupropion SR, please contact your healthcare provider.

Important: The FDA has issued an alert that there may be an association between bupropion SR use and serious mood changes like depression, suicidal thoughts and thoughts about hurting others. If you have ever been diagnosed or treated for a mental-health condition like depression or bipolar disease, you should tell your healthcare provider before using bupropion SR. If you experience any side effects that concern you while using bupropion, please contact your health care provider right away.

Please note: This page includes detailed, current information about this medication. Some of the information on this page may not be included in the Quit Guide. The Quit Guide may include additional instructions regarding the use of this medication. You should always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using this medication and consult your health care provider if you have any questions.