Zyban (bupropion hydrochloride), sometimes prescribed as the anti-depressant Wellbutrin, is a non-nicotine prescription medication for smoking cessation. Zyban has been shown to reduce withdrawal symptoms and the urge to smoke. To get some idea of how Zyban can assist in quitting smoking, it helps to understand a bit about the mechanism of nicotine addiction. Certain chemicals present in the brain (neurotransmitters) are involved in the development of tobacco dependence. Repeated exposure to nicotine causes the release of these 'neurotransmitters' (including dopamine and noradrenaline). This in turn leads to the feeling of stimulation, pleasure and other 'drug rewards'. As time goes by, the smoker's brain adapts to the frequent presence of nicotine; when tobacco use ceases (ie, when you quit smoking) the result is a lower than normal level of these 'feel good' chemicals. Within 2 to 6 weeks of quitting, the brain re-adjusts to the new 'no-nicotine' situation, but during this readjustment the ex-smoker experiences the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. Zyban affects neurotransmitters to reduce cravings and to alleviate withdrawal. Remember, you still need to work on important mental/ emotional/ behavioral changes necessary to successfully quit.
Source: Zyban (buproprion hydrochloride) Sustained Release Tablets Prescribing Information. GlaxoSmithKline, Research Triangle Park, NC. 3/2003