Prescription treatments

Champix (varenicline HCL)

Champix does not contain nicotine and is only available on prescription. You take it for a 12 week course. The drug works in two ways:

  1. You continue to smoke for the first 10-14 days of the treatment. As the drug builds up in your system, you will notice that you do not get the same enjoyment from your cigarettes and you will not smoke as often.
  2. When you quit smoking completely, the drug takes over the role of nicotine by stimulating the brain to release the chemical dopamine. This makes you feel good and reduces your withdrawal symptoms – cravings, restlessness, irritability, low mood and weight gain.

Your doctor will be able to advise you what the best treatment is for you. You should talk to them before you plan to stop smoking.

Zyban (bupropion HCL SR)

Zyban is not often prescribed as a stop smoking medication. It was the first tablet used to help people quit smoking and does not contain nicotine. Zyban was first used as an anti-depressant (Wellbutrin). It was discovered that it could help with giving up smoking when people who were taking it for depression found they no longer felt the same urges to smoke, drink coffee and eat sweet foods. In the studies that followed, Zyban had double or even treble the success rates of other treatments.
It works in a similar way to nicotine – releasing chemicals which make you feel good. This reduces the cravings, restlessness, irritability, low moods and weight gain that most quitters have.

Your doctor will be able to advise you what the best treatment is for you. You should talk to them before you plan to stop smoking as Zyban needs to be taken for a period of time before you intend to give-up and is not suitable for everyone.