Do Quit Smoking Pills Work?

It seems like there is a pill for everything these days. Over-the-counter medicines cover everything from weight loss to body makeovers. Prescription drugs may not be much better; they just cost more. In this “take a pill” generation, it is important to know what kind of medication you need, why you need it, and its overall efficacy. Several years ago, the American Medical Association and the American Osteopathic Physician’s Association began to use the drug Zyban as a quit smoking pill. The FDA approved Zyban for this use as well.

There is no quit smoking pill that will make you stop smoking. Even if you take the pill, if you want to smoke anyway, you will. In fact, there is no medication or technique that will make you stop smoking; this is your choice.

What is a Quit Smoking Pill?

The generic medication Bupropion is marketed under several different names for several different conditions. It is also called Wellbutrin and Zyban. Its primary classification is as an antidepressant drug, used to treat moderate to severe depression, bi-polar depression and Attention Deficit Disorder. In the late 1990’s, Bupropion was given the brand name, Zyban, for use as a quit smoking pill. Wellbutrin is a well-known and widely used antidepressant; Zyban is still under watch as a quit smoking pill.

If you smoke, this doesn’t mean that you are depressed or have ADD. Antidepressant drugs are widely used for a variety of syndromes such as chronic pain, insomnia and sexual dysfunction. As a quit smoking pill, Zyban helps reduce physical cravings for nicotine, eases the mood irritability and anxiety that occur with nicotine withdrawal, and reduces the insomnia that smoking cessation often causes. These are all symptoms of early withdrawal from nicotine that will eventually subside. You and your physician should discuss whether Zyban may be useful for you as a quit smoking pill.

Zyban, like all medications, has some uncomfortable side effects when used as a quit smoking pill or an antidepressant. These side effects include rebound insomnia, Central Nervous System stimulation, headaches, constipation, dry mouth, nausea and tremors. You may have all or none of these symptoms when using Zyban as a quit smoking pill. Research indicates that in most cases, these side effects were not distressing enough to warrant cessation of the drug. However, you should inform your physician if you experience side effects. There are other medications that can be used to minimize Zyban’s side effects. Yes, you would have to take one pill to reduce the side effects of another pill!

You must make the choice of using Zyban as a quit smoking pill and cope with side effects, if any, vs. the serious harm that smoking causes in your body.