What is Bupropion used for?

The origin and many uses of Bupropion


There are two types of smoking cessation products, some contain nicotine, and some don’t.

One type of these are nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products, such as gums, lozenges, sprays, and inhalers, work by giving you a small dose of nicotine without all the other dangerous chemicals found in cigarettes.  That way, you can wean yourself off nicotine and withdrawal isn’t so bad. They don’t stop the cravings, though. Most nicotine replacement products are available over-the-counter.

The other smoking cessation products are the prescription-drugs that don’t use nicotine. They change the way your brain works to ease withdrawal symptoms and make you not want to smoke as much or at all. The Food and Drug Administration  (FDA) has approved two of these products: Bupropion (brand name: Zyban) and Varenicline (brand name: Chantix). Let’s take a look at Bupropion in this article, to tell you what you the drug is used for.

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Bupropion is the generic (common or non-branded) name for bupropion hydrochloride, the active ingredient in the branded drug, Zyban.

Originally marketed as an antidepressant drug under the brand name of Wellbutrin, it became apparent that Bupropion was an effective quit-aid, because smokers using it to treat depression also lost interest in smoking. People not planning to quit smoking found themselves stopping with relative ease.

Later, bupropion hydrochloride was given the brand name of Zyban and in 1997, the FDA approved it as a quit-smoking aid.  When used in combination with nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs), the chance for long-term success with smoking cessation increases.

It isn't completely understood how Bupropion works, but it’s known that the drug alters brain chemistry in such a way that nicotine is made less effective. The result is a reduced interest in smoking, and nicotine cravings and withdrawal are minimal.

While this medication was developed as an antidepressant, you do not need to suffer from depression for it to work as a quit aid. That said, if you develop quit-related depression, Bupropion may help to offset the symptoms.

It is important to be monitored by your doctor if you're using both Bupropion and an NRT, as high blood pressure can be a concern.



  1. WebMD, What Are the Medicines for Nicotine Withdrawal? [website] 2019,, (accessed November 2, 2019).
  2. verywellmind, How Zyban Can Help With Quitting Smoking, [website] 2019,, (accessed November 2, 2019).
  3. MAYOCLINIC, Drugs and Supplements: Bupropion (Oral Route), [website] 2019,, (accessed November 2, 2019).
  4. healthline, Bupropion, Oral Tablet, [website] 2019,, (accessed November 2, 2019).

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