Will Bupropion Help Me Quit Smoking?

Written by Lindsey Mcilvena, MD, MPH

Thinking about quitting smoking? Find out if bupropion can help you quit.

Here’s how you can tell if bupropion is a good fit for you.

If any of the following apply to you and your tobacco use, bupropion might be a good fit to help you quit:

  • You smoke more than half a pack per day. People who are used to getting a lot of nicotine delivery into their brain, are usually able to quit faster with a combination of bupropion and nicotine replacement like patches, gum, and/or nasal spray. Chantix, the other smoking cessation medication, tends to not work as well because you can’t combine it with nicotine replacement products.
  • You smoke to even out your mood. If you’ve had symptoms of mild to moderate depression--feeling down and not as interested in things, then bupropion can be a good choice. It was originally used as an antidepressant and that’s part of why it works so well to help people quit. Nicotine works in the brain to release some chemicals that can make you feel more stable; bupropion helps release those same neurochemicals.
  • You use chew, cigars, e-cigarettes, etc. It’s harder to predict exactly how much nicotine your brain is used to getting when you use these types of products. Being able to combine bupropion with nicotine replacement is often a good way to help you quit quickly.

Using bupropion by itself or with nicotine replacement

You can use bupropion alone to help you quit, but we’d recommend nicotine replacement along with it. Bupropion helps to smooth out your brain chemistry while you quit - but it doesn't cause a release of nicotine in the brain.

You'll likely experience intense cravings if you use bupropion alone. Using a nicotine patch along with a rescue form of nicotine (like the gum, lozenges, nasal spray, or puffer) will give your brain a clean source of the nicotine that it's used to, and prevent you from going into nicotine withdrawal. Studies show that bupropion works better when used with nicotine replacement therapy (NRT).

How do I get started?

Think you’d like to give it a shot? Talk to a doctor today and quit once and for all. You don’t have to do it alone - finding a doctor to help you quit can make the process smoother and increase the chance that you’ll be successful.

The views expressed in this article intend to highlight alternative studies and induce conversation. They are the views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of HeyDoctor, and are for informational purposes only, even if and to the extent that this article features the advice of physicians and medical practitioners. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.

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