Wellbutrin (generic name, bupropion) was recently released under the
name Zyban for marketing as a smoking cessation aid. They are the same
drug, made by the same company, Glaxo-Wellcome.
During testing of the antidepressant Wellbutrin, it was realized that
the test group experienced a reduced desire for nicotine. Studies have
since been done using Wellbutrin as an aid in smoking cessation, both in
conjunction with nicotine replacement therapy (in the form of the
patch), and without. No conclusive results have yet been published. The
following information was written and contributed by Scott Leischow.
"Greetings! Wellbutrin is one of several medications being tested for
smoking cessation. Keep in mind that no medication has been found to be
efficacious for a large percentage of people, and that different
approaches work differently for each person. There are data to suggest
that Wellbutrin (bupropion) increases the chances of quitting - see
studies by Linda Ferry at Loma Linda Medical Center. Note that other
medications being tested include Inversine (mecamylamine) in combination
with nicotine, lobeline, cotinine (a metabolite of nicotine) - and new
nicotine replacement options will eventually be available as well, such
as nicotine nasal spray, nicotine inhaler ,nicotine lozenge.
Mint nicotine gum is now available in Canada, Mexico, and several
European countries, and an even more flavorful gum is or will be
available in the UK (made by Ciba-Geigy). Meds, of course, are not the
answer - they can work to enhance personal motivation. All of these
changes will definitely increase uncertainty about what to use (if
anything), and whether we should be concerned about people using pure
nicotine for long periods of time. There seems to be a growing consensus
in the scientific community that we should not be too concerned about
long term use of nicotine - if the alternative is returning to smoking.
Just as with methadone versus heroin, the lesser 'evil' is the pure
nicotine. I am not suggesting we should not be concerned about long term
use, just that we put it in perspective. Note that I have no financial
interest in any treatment approach - I do research on smoking cessation
treatments at the University of Arizona (including on several of the
methods I mentioned above). Send me a note if you have questions
But before you run out and demand a prescription from your doctor,
please consider this information, written and posted by Bob
"Prozac (generically, fluoxetine) is a selective serotonin reuptake
inhibitor (SSRI) and Wellbutrin (bupropion) is a heterocyclic
antidepressant which affects reuptake of dopamine as well as serotonin.
(Because of the affect on dopamine, by the way, Wellbutrin has been
tried for alleviating symptoms of cocaine withdrawal, with inconclusive
"Effexor (venlafaxine) affects reuptake of serotonin and norepinephrine
and only very weakly affects dopamine.
"This will be on the exam, so take notes. :)
"Seriously, most of us have no reason to try to remember this stuff, but
it's worth mentioning, I thought, partly as an example of the
individuality of brain biochemistry. All of the drugs mentioned, and a
lot more, are useful for some people who have symptoms of clinical
depression. But the response to any particular drug by any individual
patient is unpredictable -- it may have no effect, or even make the
depression worse. But in someone else, with the same clinical symptoms,
the drug will work a miracle.
"The same sort of individual difference applies, I think, with regard to
smoking cessation -- how hard it is, how long it's hard, what helps --
these are widely different and unpredictable. So, it's worth keeping in
mind that even with all the things we have in common, the experiences of
any one of us may not be very predictive about anyone else. In other
words, I need to keep in mind that even if you do exactly what I did,
you may not have the same results.
"It's also worth comparing to smoking cessation, I think, because in
cases where one antidepressant doesn't work, another one very well might
-- just like one method of smoking cessation may not do it for an
individual, but there are a lot of other choices to try. And (to tie
this into a bow) one method that may be the key to smoking cessation for
some people is to take antidepressant medication. It certainly wouldn't
be the first suggestion I'd make for anyone, but for those who have not
succeeded with other methods, and especially for anyone who thinks they
may be using nicotine to self-medicate depressive symptoms, I would
recommend talking to a medical professional about the possibilities."
© copyright 1997-2008 SilkQuit.Org
SilkQuit™ is a trademark of SilkQuit.Org
Design based on a style by styleshout