Bupropion SR (Zyban®)

Bupropion is only available by prescription from your doctor. It can help balance chemicals in your brain to reduce your withdrawal symptoms.


Buproprion (Zyban®) is a prescription-only drug treatment that works by changing the brain's response to nicotine. It makes smoking less pleasurable and reduces craving while you work on your smoking habits. Other advantages include:

  • It doubles your chances of quitting successfully.
  • It doesn't contain nicotine, which is important to some people.
  • It can delay weight gain after quitting for some people.

Common side effects

  • dry mouth
  • insomnia
  • headache
  • shakiness or nervousness
  • weight loss

How to use

Bupropion is available as a pill that you take by mouth. You will need a prescription from your doctor.

  • Start taking bupropion about two weeks before you quit smoking. This builds up the level of medicine in your body.
  • Continue to smoke as usual while taking bupropion until your quit date.
  • The recommended dose of bupropion to help you quit smoking is:
    • Days 1-3: Take one 150mg tablet once a day in the morning.
    • Day 4 to the end of treatment: Take one 150 mg tablet twice a day, once in the morning and once in the early evening  (at least 8 hours between doses).
    • The recommended length of bupropion therapy is seven to twelve weeks.
  • You can take bupropion with or without food.

Warnings & precautions

As with any prescription medication, there are benefits and risks to taking bupropion. Health Canada has determined that for bupropion the benefits outweigh the risks.

Do not use bupropion if one of the following applies to you:

  • currently using bupropion for another reason
  • have an allergy to bupropion
  • have a seizure disorder
  • have an eating disorder, such as anorexia or bulimia
  • heavy alcohol drinker who plans to quit drinking abruptly
  • recently (in the last two weeks) or currently use a class of medications called Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAO-I)
  • currently using a drug called thioridazine

Speak to a doctor or pharmacist about whether bupropion is right for you if one of the following applies to you:

  • liver or kidney problems
  • pregnant or breast-feeding
  • high blood pressure
  • less than 18 years old
  • currently taking medications that can increase your risk of seizures

Stop bupropion and speak to your doctor or healthcare provider immediately if you experience:

  • agitation
  • depressed mood
  • suicidal thoughts or behaviour