The ex-smokers, detoxified, spoke of a “miracle pill” after several failed attempts to stop. But what is it really? What is the actual effectiveness of bupropion, the active molecule of Zyban®? 

Known since the 1970s across the Atlantic, bupropion is used as an antidepressant under the name of Wellbutrin®. And doctors found that patients on treatment were easily able to stop smoking. Based on this observation, studies have been carried out. As a result, at the right dose, Zyban® has been shown to be more effective in stopping smoking than a placebo or nicotine patch, which is the drug of choice in smoking cessation. However, be careful not to drop them, they remain an effective and complementary solution to the drug, especially as, over time, Zyban® has proven to be a drug with many side effects and Drugs interactions.

Zyban: a known mode of action

In France, Zyban® LP 150 mg is indicated as a smoking cessation aid with motivation support for stopping smoking in patients with nicotine addiction. He does not have a Marketing Authorization (MA) as an antidepressant in our country. Zyban® L.P. acts on the central nervous system by inhibiting the reuptake of norepinephrine / dopamine.

Smoking cessation: halftone numbers

According to the studies, efficacy figures (smoking cessation of at least one month) vary from 30 to 50% after 7 weeks of treatment (normal duration of treatment in France). Then, according to studies, this figure can fall below 20% after 6 months to a year, or remain stable.

Associated with nicotine patches, the percentage of success is greater than taking bupropion alone: ​​it reaches almost 60% at 7 weeks of treatment! But it is difficult to know the rates of relapse. According to some studies, 50% of people go back before 5 months if the treatment is stopped against 8 months if it is continued.

These figures prove that will remains the key factor for successful weaning. Nevertheless, this drug seems more effective than the nicotine patches used alone! All these treatments are also presented as an aid, a crutch for people wanting to end tobacco.

Precautions to be respected

Like all medicines, it is not to be taken lightly. It is particularly responsible for insomnia, dry mouth and especially eventual trigger epileptic seizure. It is also contraindicated in epileptics. Other contraindications are: product allergy, anorexia, bulimia, alcohol withdrawal or combination with certain sleeping pills (benzodiazepines). In addition, precautions should be taken in case of renal or hepatic insufficiency and in the elderly.

Like all medicines, it is not to be taken lightly.

It is contraindicated in epileptics. Other contraindications are: allergy to the product, anorexia, bulimia, alcohol withdrawal or combination with certain sleeping pills (benzodiazepines) or other drugs. In addition, precautions should be taken in case of renal or hepatic insufficiency as well as in the elderly. Therapeutic relentlessness must be avoided, the treatment will be interrupted in the absence of effectiveness after 7 weeks. The drug can cause drug interactions. It is therefore better to seek advice from your doctor or pharmacist before taking another medicine.

A weapon against cigarettes but many adverse effects

Zyban® L.P. acts on the central nervous system by inhibiting the reuptake of norepinephrine / dopamine. Neuropsychiatric reactions have been reported. In particular, psychotic or manic symptomatology has been observed, mainly in patients with a known psychiatric history. It is particularly responsible for insomnia, dry mouth and especially eventual trigger epileptic seizure. It is also contraindicated in epileptics.

A depressed mood can be a symptom of nicotine withdrawal. Cases of depression, rarely associated with suicidal ideation and behavior, have been reported in patients with smoking cessation.

These symptoms have also been reported during treatment with Zyban® L.P. and usually occur at the beginning of treatment. The prescriber should keep in mind the possibility of significant depressive symptomatology in patients who continue smoking cessation and should give them the appropriate advice. The data in animals suggest a risk of addiction. However, studies on the potential for abuse in humans and extended clinical experience show that bupropion has a low potential for abuse. Zyban® instructions for use Unlike nicotine substitutes, there is no evidence need to stop smoking to start treatment, on the contrary.Stopping smoking is recommended about two weeks after the start of treatment on a date set with the doctor. This is the time needed for the treatment to be fully effective. Then, to give yourself every chance of success, it is interesting to have an alternative to nicotine replacement. Given the numbers, the fact remains that this product is not the miracle solution. In addition to certain personal factors such as the will and the true desire to stop, the existence of a range of drugs can only be an additional asset …