Maryland's Tobacco Resource Center - Linking Professionals to Best Practices

Bupropion SR

Bupropion SR

How it works: 1

  • Bupropion SR was the first non-nicotine medication shown to be effective for smoking cessation.
  • Its possible mechanisms of action include blockade of neuronal re-uptake of dopamine and norepinephrine and blockade of nicotinic acetylcholinergic receptors. 
  • Its recommended use is to begin taking it 1-2 weeks before quitting smoking and can be used for long term therapy up to 6 months post quitting. 

What the evidence says:

  • Strength of Evidence: A The Clinical Practice Guide states that Bupropion SR is, “appropriate as a first-line medication for treating tobacco use” with precautions for pregnant women and is contraindicated for individuals who have a history of seizures or eating disorders, who are taking another form of bupropion, or who have used an MAO inhibitor in the last 14 days (DHHS, 2008, p. 47).
  • Quitting Rates
    • Research studies have found Bupropion SR to help achieve safe and effective sustained smoking reduction over time.  Studies have reported up to a 27% success quit rate of smoking compared to placebo in clinical trials. 2

Possible Side Effects:

  • Insomnia
  • Dry mouth

Where to get it:

  • Bupropion SR is available through prescription only.
  • Commercial brands include:
    • Wellbutrin SR and Zyban
References: 
  1. Fiore, M. C., Jaen, C. R., Baker, T. B., & al., e. (2008). Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence 2008 Update.  Clinical Practice Guideline. In U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (Ed.). Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
  2. Simon, J. A., Duncan, C., Huggins, J., Solkowitz, S., & Carmody, T. P. (2009). Sustained-release bupropion for hospital-based smoking cessation: A randomized trial. Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 11(6), 663-669.