FDA Approves GlaxoSmithKline's Zyban

Zyban is a is an antidepressant medicine that has been found to aid in the stopping of smoking.

Zyban is used to help people stop smoking by reducing cravings and other withdrawal effects. At least one brand of bupropion (Wellbutrin) is used to treat major depressive disorder and seasonal affective disorder.

Zyban is a prescription medication designed to help smokers quit more easily than without the drug. It comes in a pill form. It does not contain nicotine

Zyban's history is interesting. Smokers who happened to be users of the anti-depression medication Wellbutrin (bupropion hydrochloride) often reported a lessening in the desire for cigarettes. Through further testing, the drug was found to be effective in treating the smoking addiction, and helping smokers quit. GlaxoSmithKline "repackaged" Wellbutrin and marketed it as the smoking-cessation drug Zyban.

Unlike nicotine patches or nicotine gum, Zyban does not put more nicotine into your body. If you use the patches or gum, you should stop smoking so that you don't "overdose" on nicotine. With Zyban, you continue to smoke when you first start taking the medication, eventually reaching a quit-date, and taking the drug for a period of time after quitting.

This medication is used in combination with a stop-smoking program (e.g., support group, counseling) to help you quit smoking. Bupropion can decrease your nicotine withdrawal symptoms (e.g., irritability, anxiety, restlessness) and your urge to smoke. Quitting smoking decreases your risk of heart and lung disease, as well as cancer.

This medication belongs to a class of medications known as antidepressants. It is not known exactly how bupropion works to reduce smoking urges. It may work by restoring the balance of certain natural chemicals (neurotransmitters) in the brain.