Living with Diabetes

ZYBAN (Bupropion)

 Introduction - What is Zyban?

Smoking is particularly harmful to people with diabetes because it increases the risk of heart disease, stroke and other disorders of the circulation, to which diabetics are already more susceptible.  Nicotine is, however, a very addictive substance which makes stopping smoking difficult.

Zyban is a drug which is an aid to stopping smoking.  It is available on prescription from your general practitioner.  Zyban acts on chemicals in the brain to reduce the severity of Nicotine withdrawal symptoms that occur on stopping smoking.  Although the use of Zyban has been shown to increase the chance of success in stopping smoking, it is important to appreciate that it is only an aid.  It is not a substitute for personal motivation.  It is also recommended that support is obtained from a Practice Nurse, Smoking Cessation Counsellor or your G.P.

How is it used?

Zyban tablets are started whilst still smoking, seven days before a pre-arranged quit date.  Having stopped smoking on that date, Zyban tablets are then continued for a period of two months.  The starting dose is one 150mg tablet once daily for 3 days, then increased to 150mg twice daily thereafter.

What are the side effects?

Like any drug Zyban has potential side effects.   Insomnia and dry mouth are common.  Other possible side effects include headache, dizziness and disturbed concentration.  Epileptic fits are a rare side effect.   The drug should therefore not be taken by patients with a history of epilepsy.   Zyban interacts with certain other drugs including anti-depressants. 

Is it effective?

Zyban and Nicotine replacement products (eg patches and gum) are probably equally effective as stop smoking aids. 

Where can I get more information from?

More information can be obtained at:


Dr Nishan Wijenaike, Consultant Physician
West Suffolk Hospitals Diabetes Service
October 2002