Patient Handout: Bupropion Hydrochloride SR (Zyban®)

See FDA package insert for more complete information.

Description, side effects, and instructions for the medicine Bupropion Hydrochloride SR (Zyban®) are presented below. For more complete information, you can refer to the FDA package insert for the medication.


Bupropion is a quit-smoking medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration. It does not contain any nicotine. It is available as Zyban® (also called Wellbutrin®) and only by prescription. You can use it for up to 6 months. You can use it along with nicotine replacement therapies.

How Well Does It Work?

Studies have shown that bupropion approximately doubles rates of long-term abstinence when compared to a placebo (Fiore et al. 2008).



  • Mood: The FDA now requires "boxed warnings" on all Zyban and bupropion labels due to symptoms of serious mental illness that could lead to depression or suicide. The manufacturers of these drugs must also describe these risks in the medication guide of each product.

  • Seizures: The drug may cause seizures.

  • Cardiovascular diseases: Infrequent reports of high blood pressure. Bupropion may not be right for you if you have a recent history of myocardial infarction or worsening angina.

  • Pregnant women: There are no adequate studies in this area. If you are pregnant or breast-feeding, you should at first try to quit without using quit-smoking medications.

  • Alcohol may put you at greater risk for having a seizure.

  • This medication may not be right for you if you have hepatic or renal impairment.

Who Shouldn't Take This Medication?

  • You should not take this medication if you have had a seizure or an eating disorder.

  • You should not take this medication with monoamine oxidase inhibitors or within 14 days of taking them.

  • You should not take this medication if you are using another form of bupropion (e.g., Wellbutrin.

  • You should not take this medication if you have an allergic reaction to bupropion.

Side Effects

  • Trouble sleeping

  • Dry mouth

How Do I Take

This Medication?

  • As always, talk to your doctor about this and any medication and how you should take it.

  • Start taking the medication 1 to 2 weeks prior to your quit date.

  • If you have trouble sleeping, you can take the PM dose earlier (it still needs to be taken at least 8 hours after the AM dose).

  • Use alcohol only in moderation while on this medication.

  • Follow doctors dosing instructions carefully, typically one dose per day for 3 days then 150 mg twice daily for 7-12 weeks

(Fiore et al. 2008; Physicians' Desk Reference 2003)


Fiore MC, Jaen CR, Baker TB, et al. Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence: 2008 Update. Clinical Practice Guideline. Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Public Health Service. May 2008.

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