Zyban was originally developed as an antidepressant, but was found to be effective in helping smokers quit, whether they are depressed or not. Like the other stop-smoking medication, it relieves cravings and withdrawal symptoms and approximately doubles quit rates.
Zyban works in the brain to increase hormone levels in the reward centre. It is not addictive or habit forming.
How to take Zyban
Start Zyban while you are smoking. For the first 3 days, take one tablet each morning. From day 4, take 1 tablet twice daily. Try to stop smoking in the second week.
It is important not to exceed the recommended dose of Zyban as excessive doses can cause seizures (see below).The tablets should be swallowed whole and not crushed or chewed.
Zyban can be combined with nicotine replacement therapy, such as nicotine patch or mouth spray, and this increases the quit rates further.
A full course of Zyban is 8 weeks, after which the tablets are stopped abruptly.
Zyban is usually well tolerated, but the following side-effects can occur: Insomnia, headache, dry mouth, nausea, dizziness and anxiety.
About 1 in 1,000 people taking Zyban experience a seizure.
Zyban should not be used in people who are at risk of seizure, including those with:
It should also not be taken in pregnancy or while breastfeeding.
Zyban also interacts with a number of medications, such as other antidepressant and antipsychotic drugs, medicines for epilepsy and certain heart and blood pressure drugs. Make sure you notify your doctor about your current medication before starting Zyban.
Availability and cost
Zyban is available by prescription on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme at a subsidised rate. The cost for pensioners and Health Care Card Holders is $5.40 per month. You can only get one subsidised course in a 12 month period.
Click here to download a detailed product information sheet.
Last Modified: 01-03-2013