Type of Medication

  • Antidepressant

Commonly Used Brand Names

What Bupropion Is Prescribed For

Bupropion is an antidepressant, but it is also prescribed to help people quit smoking . It can be used in combination with a nicotine replacement product.

How Bupropion Works

Bupropion appears to affect two brain chemicals that may be related to nicotine addiction : dopamine and norepinephrine. Bupropion reduces the cravings for cigarettes that smokers experience when they try to quit. It also seems to reduce many of the nicotine withdrawal symptoms, including irritability, frustration, and anger.

Considerations While Taking This Medication

See Your Doctor

Your doctor will determine the appropriate level of bupropion for you and will adjust the dosage as you progress.

Manage Your Medications

Tell your doctor about all the medications you take; some should not be taken with bupropion, while others may require a different dosage level.

Be Cautious With Certain Medical Conditions

The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of bupropion. Tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially

Report Breastfeeding

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not use bupropion. Talk to your doctor about other options.

Proper Usage

Start taking bupropion one week before you plan to stop smoking. It takes about one week for this medication to reach adequate levels in your system, so plan a specific quit date during the second week that you are taking bupropion.

If you miss a dose, just skip it and stay with your regular dosing schedule.

Note : Do not double doses. Taking too much bupropion at one time can cause seizures.

If all goes well and you are successful in quitting, you should plan to stay on the bupropion for 7-12 weeks. Your primary care provider may recommend a longer course of treatment, however, depending on your circumstances.

Possible Side Effects

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 your doctor right away if this happens to you.

Other Side Effects

You should also call your doctor right away if any of the following occur:

  • Anxiety
  • Buzzing or ringing in ears
  • Headache (severe)
  • Skin rash, hives , or itching
  • Seizure

If these side effects occur frequently and/or become bothersome, call your doctor:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Constipation
  • Decrease in appetite
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Increased sweating
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Insomnia
  • Weight loss

Symptoms of an Overdose

Symptoms of an overdose may be more severe than side effects seen at regular doses, or two or more side effects may occur together. Call your doctor right away if you notice any of the following:

  • Fast heartbeat
  • Hallucinations
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Seizures

Drug Interactions

Bupropion should not be combined with other medications that lower the threshold for seizures. These include the following:

Smoking Cessation Success

It is very clear from all of the studies on smoking cessation that your chances of long-term success depend a great deal on your motivation and commitment to quitting, regardless of which therapy you choose.