Georgetown Health Care Center
The first nicotine-free prescription medicine will soon be available to help people quit smoking. Cleared for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Zyban (Bupropion hydrochloride) Sustained-Release Tablets will be available by prescription in the near future.
Zyban is marked as an aid to smoking cessation programs and offers smokers an entirely new approach to quitting smoking. Previous medicines available as smoking cessation aids, such as cigarettes, nicotine patches, or gum, have replaced one form of nicotine delivery with another. However, Zyban is nicotine free and is in tablet form which makes it unique. Those who study smoking cessation say that smoking is more than just a bad habit. Rather, it is a biochemical addiction and smoking cessation programs should affect the biology of addiction as well as the behavioral components.
In addition, previous nicotine replacement products required users to quit smoking completely before beginning therapy. Users of Zyban are advised to pick a date to stop smoking, but to begin using the medication before they quit smoking to allow the medication to reach proper blood levels. Because a smoking cessation program should be comprehensive and include social support and behavior modification therapy, a personalized patient support program is available with Zyban at not cost to the patient.
Research on the effectiveness of Zyban has been promising. When compared to the nicotine patch, patients treated with Zyban had significantly higher quit rates after 4 weeks than did those treated with the patch alone. The 4-week quit rates were 36% for the patch and 49% for those using Zyban. In two studies of over 1500 smokers who smoked at least 15 cigarettes a day, patients treated with Zyban had more than a two times greater chance of quitting smoking than patients treated with no medications.
Common side effects associated with use of Zyban are dry mouth and trouble sleeping. These problems are usually mild and disappear after a few weeks. Patients taking Zyban should tell their physician and pharmacist about any other medications they take.
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