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How to Cut Expenses while Quitting Smoking wth Zyban?

Originally invented in 1969, the medication called bupropion was primarily used as the antidepressant. By the way, bupropion, marketed by GlaxoSmithKline under the brand-name Wellbutrin, has always been a pretty good antidepressant, which, in contrast to many other anti-depression pills, features key benefits of no weight gain and no sexual dysfunction, associated with its usage. In spite of the fact that the popularity of Wellbutrin slightly declined with the introduction of modern class of SSRI antidepressants, such as Prozac, Celexa, Paxil, Lexapro, Zoloft, etc, it is still frequently used as an add-on medication in the treatment of depression.

Along with the ability to increase the amount of certain chemicals in the brains, scientists discovered one more property of bupropion, namely its ability to affect nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. As the result, in 1997 bupropion received the FDA approval for use as a smoking cessation aid under the brand-name Zyban. Zyban remained the only pill against smoking for years until Pfizer presented Chantix in 2006.

Though smoking is considered to be among the greatest evils of today, and many efforts are directed at the elimination of this bad habit of humans, Zyban is not a cheap medication to buy. For example, one of the popular and respected US online pharmacies, drugstore.com, offers 60 pills of Zyban at a price of $208,65.

Pretty much, isn’t it? But the good news, that nowadays generic versions of Zyban are available. Even at the above mentioned drugstore one can find legally authorized generic alternatives of Zyban. Since the generics are usually produced by several manufacturers, they are usually named after its main ingredient, which is bupropion in our case. So, if you need a cost-effective alternative to Zyban, just look for bupropion pills in 150mg dosage, and you will be amazed with the price discounts – generic bupropion is available at about $70 for 60 pills.

How does bupropion works for smoking cessation?

In general, bupropion reduces the urge for smoking and decreases the severity of withdrawal symptoms and cravings for nicotine. The important thing is that, while having the efficacy comparable with that of nicotine replacement therapy, bupropion helps to quit smoking without supplying a patient’s organism with nicotine from alternative sources, like pills, patches or gums. 

How to use bupropion for smoking cassation?

For smoking cessation, one should use 150 mg pills of bupropion. For the first 3 days of the treatment one should take one pill per day. Afterwards, once the medication is well tolerated, a patient is recommended to take bupropion tablets twice a day. By the way, with bupropion it is not necessary to quit smoking by going cold turkey or all at once. It is recommended to continue smoking for about a week after starting the bupropion therapy to make the withdrawal symptoms after complete quitting more bearable. The treatment course usually lasts 7-12 weeks.

What to expect from bupropion therapy?

Clinical studies showed that bupropion can double one’s chances to quit smoking. The medication helps to reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms, such as irritability, frustration, anger, anxiety; difficulty concentrating, restlessness, and depressed mood. In one study, after 7 weeks of the treatment only 27% of patients treated with bupropion reported an urge to smoke as a real problem for them, while as many as 56% of those, who received placebo pills, considered nicotine cravings a serious obstacle of quitting smoking.

Are there any side effects to be ready for with bupropion?

Yes, as any other medicine, bupropion may cause certain adverse reactions or side effects in some people. The most common side effects include dry mouth, headache, agitation, nausea, insomnia, excessive sweating, and tremor. Usually side effects appear in the first days of the treatment and disappear as the body gets used to the medication.

The most controversial adverse reaction of bupropion is seizure. It is known that the medication can lower the seizure threshold in people; however, it should be underlined that this property of bupropion is highly dose dependant. In other words, a patient can feel safe as long as he does not increase the maximum daily dose of the medication equal to 300 mg of bupropion.

Are there any Don’ts about bupropion use?

-         do not take bupropion without counseling with your doctor (remember, generic bupropion as well as its brand-name analogue is a prescription medication);

-         do not exceed the daily dose of the medication;

-         do not take a double dose if you missed a scheduled one;

-         bupropion is contraindicated for people with epilepsy, anorexia, bulimia or active brain tumors;

-         individuals taking MAOI antidepressants (as well as herbs such as Ginkgo, Rhodiola, St. John’s wort, Yerba mate, Yohimbe, Tribulus terrestris, and Siberian ginseng) should not use bupropion;

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Besides, bupropion should be used with extreme caution in people, whose seizure threshold may be reduced by taking specific medications, such as antipsychotic pills (Thorazine, Comrazine) or benzodiazepines (Valium, Xanax).

To sum it all up, one should keep in mind one simple fact that bupropion is nothing but a cost-effective version of Zyban. It may seem to be a catch, when you get the very same pill several times cheaper that the original one, but the aim of legal generic pills (there are also illegal ones, by the way) is to make treatment affordable for most people. Besides, these medications are approved and controlled by the FDA just like the original brand-name products. So, choosing generics, one only spends less money, but receives the same efficiency, therapeutic value, as well as risks and side effects as in the original drug. So, good luck at quitting smoking for less money with bupropion!


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