Bupropion to Quit Smoking

Generality

Bupropion is a drug that has been shown to be very useful in smoking cessation therapy. In fact, this drug is able to reduce the craving for nicotine in patients and reduce the symptoms and discomfort induced by smoking withdrawal.

Bupropion - Chemical Structure

In fact, bupropion is also an antidepressant drug - used in the treatment of major depressive disorder - belonging to the class of dopamine and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors.

Mechanism of action

Bupropion is able to inhibit the reuptake of dopamine and - albeit to a lesser extent - of norepinephrine and serotonin. Furthermore, bupropion is also endowed with antagonistic activity towards nicotinic receptors.
However, although these activities carried out by bupropion are believed to be involved in the process of smoking cessation, the exact mechanism by which this occurs has not yet been fully understood.

Side effects

Bupropion, like any other drug, can cause side effects, although not all patients experience them.
Among the main side effects that can occur, we remember:

  • Sleep disorders;
  • Feeling depressed, sometimes accompanied by suicidal thoughts
  • Feeling agitated and / or anxious;
  • Tremors and increased sweating;
  • Headache;
  • Dizziness;
  • Feeling of instability;
  • Changes in heart rhythm
  • Convulsions;
  • Hypotension.

Furthermore, bupropion can trigger allergic reactions, even severe ones, in sensitive individuals.

Dosage

Bupropion is given orally and is usually available in tablet form.
The starting dose of bupropion, usually given to quit smoking, is 150 mg of the drug per day. Thereafter - and generally starting on the seventh day of therapy - the dose can be increased up to 300 mg of the drug per day, to be taken in two divided doses.
In any case, it is necessary to always follow the instructions provided by the doctor, both as regards the quantity of drug to be taken and as regards the duration of the treatment.

Use in pregnancy and during lactation

The use of bupropion by pregnant women is not recommended, due to the possible negative effects that may occur on the unborn child.
Furthermore, bupropion can be excreted in breast milk. Therefore, mothers who are breastfeeding, before starting therapy with the drug, must absolutely seek the advice of the doctor.

Contraindications

The use of bupropion is contraindicated in the following cases:

  • In patients with known hypersensitivity to the same bupropion;
  • In patients with epilepsy and in patients with a clinical history of seizures;
  • In patients who suffer - or who have suffered - from eating disorders;
  • In patients with bipolar disorder;
  • In patients with brain tumors;
  • In patients who drink large quantities of alcohol;
  • In patients taking sedative or anxiolytic medications;
  • In patients who are taking - or have recently taken - monoamine oxidase type B (MAOI-B) inhibitor drugs used to treat Parkinson's disease.

In fact, bupropion can interfere with other types of drugs as well; for this reason it is very important to tell your doctor if you are taking - or have recently been taking - any kind of medication, including non-prescription medicines and herbal products.


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