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Kicking The Habit: The Zyban Way

By Ron King

If you're looking for a way to quit smoking that has a proven success rate, you may be interested in a drug called Zyban. The main active ingredient of Zyban is bupropion hydrochloride, which is also known as Wellbutrin. Originally prescribed as an antidepressant, Wellbutrin exhibited a side effect of making patients lose interest in cigarettes. With the Wellbutrin results as a guide, Zyban was developed and has been available as a smoking treatment since 1998.

How Zyban Works

The reason Zyban is so effective is not clearly understood. It makes patients feel energized and gives them a sense of well-being, which makes it useful for helping people quit smoking.

Patients start taking Zyban while they are still smoking. The quit date is set for 7 days later, and the drug is continued for another 7 to 10 weeks after that quit date. Patients report minimal symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. Studies have shown that success rates of Zyban are about twice that of placebos.

If the smoker hasn't made significant improvements in his smoking habits by 10 weeks, it is unlikely that continued use of Zyban will help. Zyban treatment is like any other method for quitting smoking: in order to be effective the desire to quit has to come from within. Those who really don't want to stop smoking will find ways to sabotage any quitting plan.

The most commonly reported side effects are insomnia and a dry mouth. People with a history of seizures, eating disorders, or cirrhosis of the liver should not take it.

Compared with Patches

1 of the most popular alternatives for nicotine withdrawal is the nicotine patch -- a square patch that sticks to the skin and releases small doses of nicotine throughout the day. Patches allow the body to get the nicotine it craves without suffering the ill effects of smoking. People using patches may still feel the desire to smoke in certain situations because of associations with smoking that have nothing to do with nicotine. For example, some people associate smoking with going to a nightclub.

Patches are available in various strengths, so they can be used to wean the body gradually from its nicotine dependence. Those with a strong desire to quit smoking may find that nicotine substitutes free them to concentrate on the behavioral changes needed to rid themselves of dependency on tobacco.

Zyban does not provide nicotine to the body, it provides the smoker a feeling of well-being that allows him to give up the habit with relatively little difficulty. However, once Zyban treatment stops, the desire to smoke in certain situations may return.

Side Effects Of Patches

Patches can help eliminate the cravings associated with smoking, but they have to be used with some care. They can be worn throughout the day, but should be removed at night. Otherwise, they may cause insomnia or strange dreams.

The skin where the patch is applied may become red and itchy. These symptoms usually disappear within an hour after the patch is removed, but can cause discomfort during the day.

Both Zyban and nicotine substitutes are more effective when used in conjunction with some kind of counseling. A smoker must defeat both nicotine addiction and a series of smoking habits in order to ultimately join the ranks of the non-smoker.

About The Author
Ron King is a full-time researcher, writer, and web developer. Copyright 2005 Ron King.

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