Bupropion is a well known pill used for controlling cravings for tobacco. The exact way in which this drug works to reduce the craving is not very well known till now, but studies suggest that it actually works. This pill does not contain any nicotine and it does not work in the way of the Nicotine Replacement Therapies but it helps in controlling the cravings as well as the withdrawal symptoms of nicotine.
Bupropion is not used only for quitting smoking, rather it is an effective and common medication known for treating depression in patients. However, though bupropion has antidepressant properties and can be effective to fight the anxiety which is a common withdrawal symptom of nicotine, it can be used even by people who do not suffer from depression.
This medicine has shown great results for quitting smoking in clinical trials and many have actually been able to quit smoking with Bupropion. It is a strictly prescription medication and you should never take this medicine without the prescription of a registered medical practitioner.
However, Bupropion is not an one stop remedy to quit smoking, it should be used along with other therapies including Nicotine Replacement Therapy to get the best results. When used in the right way, this medication can actually help you quit smoking by making it much easier for you to live without a smoke.
When your doctor will prescribe you this medication, he/she will also inform you in detail about how to use it for quitting smoking. Here is a brief account of how to use this drug for stopping smoking, but you should not take this guide as the ultimate and you should follow the suggestions of your doctor precisely to get the best results from Bupropion.
Who can use bupropion
Bupropion is not certainly a medication that suits all. It should be your doctor to decide if it is appropriate for you or not. Here is a general outline about who can use this medication,
- Bupropion should not be used by any one below 18 years of age. This medication is not suggested for girls/boys below this age limit and might have a negative impact on their health and growth.
- This medication is suitable only for those people who smoke 10 or more cigarettes in a day. If your daily cigarette quota is less than 10, you might not need this medication to quit the habit. Your doctor can best suggest you about the right treatment for quitting smoking.
- Bupropion is not suggested for people who have seizures or have a condition that makes them prone to having seizures. This medicine is not known for inducing seizures or similar problems in otherwise healthy people, but might have an exaggerated side effect when taken by people prone to having seizures or similar conditions.
- This drug is never suggested for people who are alcoholic or have an alcohol problem. Bupropion might or might not be effective on people habituated with consuming alcohol and the side effects of this medication might also be increased when combined with alcohol. So, if you are trying to leave both smoking and alcohol, it is best to not to use this drug.
- Bupropion is also not suggested for people with an eating disorder or the ones taking any monoamine oxidase inhibitor. So, before your doctor suggests you this medication make sure to inform him/her about any conditions that you might have and also any medications that you are currently taking or might think of taking in future.
- If you have liver or kidney problems, using Bupropion might not be suitable for you, because the drug is broken down by the liver and is removed from the body through kidney and if you already have a condition of either of these organs, taking Bupropion can simply exaggerate the problem.
- People with high blood pressure might not be the best candidate for this treatment as well. So, if you have high BP discuss that with your doctor first.
- Bupropion is not suggested for pregnant or lactating women because the drug might pass to the child from mother and hence caution is vital.
After all, the decision of your doctor about suggesting you Bupropion should be taken as final.
The advantages of bupropion
This prescription-only treatment is believed to work by changing the nicotine response of the brain. It successfully makes smoking less pleasurable which naturally helps in controlling cravings. The drug is also known for its ability to control the withdrawal symptoms. The advantages of this medication can be listed as,
- Fights cravings for smoke
- It effectively treats the inability to concentrate which is one of the major withdrawal symptoms of cigarette
- It helps in controlling other withdrawal symptoms like irritability, anxiety and restlessness as well
- Bupropion can also be highly effective in controlling depression or the feeling of unhappiness
Apart from the above, this medication also offers some related benefits, like,
- This medication does not contain nicotine and hence if your addiction is at a stage when using the nicotine based therapies can make you stick to it, Bupropion can be the best help at hand
- Another benefit of this drug is that it can delay weight gain, which is often observed in people after quitting smoking
Having detailed on the use and advantages of Bupropion, now let us move to how this medication should be used. However, always keep in mind that the information provided here is intended just to provide you with an idea about what to expect, but your medication dosage as well as how to take this medication should be decided by your doctor only.
How to use bupropion
Once you have the prescription from your doctor for taking Bupropion, you can buy it directly from your nearest medical store. You should start taking the medication at least two weeks prior to the date of quitting smoking. This is suggested so that when you quit smoking, there is already a proper concentration of the medicine in your body, which can help in stopping the cravings and controlling the immediate withdrawal symptoms. So, you should not quit or reduce smoking as soon as you start taking Bupropion. You should continue with your smoking in the normal dose until the date fixed by your doctor to stop smoking.
For the first 3 days, starting from the day 1, you should take one 150mg tablet of Bupropion once in the morning. For the first 3 days, taking the medicine only once in a day is enough. From the 4th day to the end date of the treatment as planned, you should take 150mg Bupropion tablet twice a day. It is best to have one tablet in the morning and the second one in early evening maintaining a gap of around 8 hours. Usually the Bupropion treatment is suggested for a span of 7 to 12 weeks, and the exact course span for you should be determined by your doctor. Bupropion can be taken before or after food. You should talk with your doctor to know exactly when you should take the medication.
Bupropion can provide you with effective help when you are trying to quit smoking, but it does not come without side effects. However, the extent of the side effects varies extensively from person to person. The side effects that are commonly related with Bupropion treatment include,
- Dry mouth: One amongst ten who use Bupropion suffers from dry mouth, which can be managed by taking plenty of liquids.
- Insomnia: Insomnia or problems in falling asleep is often observed amongst people on this medication. Hence it is important that you take the medicine much before going to bed at night. In case, you start to suffer from insomnia after starting with the treatment, it is suggested to take the evening dose even earlier, maintaining a gap of 8 hours from the morning medication.
These two side effects are most expected to go away naturally within a week of taking the medication. In 70% of patients, dry mouth and insomnia related to Bupropion treatment is reduced within the first week only. In case of only 10% people under the treatment, the problems might continue even after the first week of the treatment and in that case it is important to inform your doctor.
Some of the less common side effects related to the Bupropion treatment includes,
- Constipation, which can be treated by a change in food habit and drinking more water.
- Anxiety, it is best treated through meditation
- Dizziness, physical exercising can be helpful to ward off the dizziness
- Inability to focus, meditation can again come for your rescue to help you focus better
- Skin problems and allergies, these can be treated with topical antihistamine or other medications
If you are planning to take any medication for any of the side effects mentioned above while you are on Bupropion, first consult your doctor. In case, you suddenly start having suicidal thoughts or the will to hurt yourself after starting with the medication, which is extremely rare, you should inform your doctor immediately.
How to get the best results from bupropion
To get the best results of Bupropion treatment it is important that you use it according to a quitting plan. You need to set a quit date and plan how to manage with the side effects if there are any. Bupropion works best along with nicotine replacement therapy but you should talk to your doctor first before having the therapies together.