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Quit Smoking Medications

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Removing cigarettes entirely from the equation is the goal. However, the method you choose may have a lasting impact. Choosing the right method for you does not always entail using antipsychotics, or other prescription medications, you can add vaporizers to the mix or a smoking cessation aid like nicotine gum.

There are people who will need medication to help them through the journey. People who want to use medication should consult their physicians. the physician will give them all the information they need and will prescribe the right medication for them. People need to know the benefits and possible side effects of taking the drugs.

Table of Content

  1. Find Out What Kind of Smoker You Are
  2. The Most Prescribed Quit Smoking Medications
  3. What Other Pills Are Available
  4. Minor/Major Side Effects of Quit Smoking Medications
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The First Step to Using Stop Smoking Medication

Once a person decides to quit smoking, the first step is to find out how they will put life with cigarettes behind them. One of the ways it can be done involves using medication. People should remember that medication is not for everyone. It can be used to help people who are addicted to nicotine.

The one who:

  • Smokes more than one pack of cigarettes daily.
  • Smokes even when feeling sick.
  • Smokes soon after waking up.
  • Wakes up during odd hours of the night to smoke.

These are the signs of nicotine addiction. If a person notices any of them, it means the dependence on tobacco is serious. The person can consider using medication to stop using cigarettes. Tobacco addiction is serious, and like any illness, there are medications one can take to make them feel better.

Medications to Choose From

Types of quit smoking medications
There are several types of medication on the market that can help one quit smoking if they are serious. There are some that use nicotine to help people get off cigarettes slowly while others do not have nicotine.

There are medications that were initially used as antidepressants but later produced great results in helping people drop their nicotine addiction.

Nicotine replacement therapies

Nicotine replacement therapies used most commonly include patches and gum. These are often available without a prescription, although we recommend that you speak with a doctor before buying them. Other nicotine replacement products still require a doctor’s visit. These may include nicotine lozenges, inhalers, and nasal sprays. The idea behind these drugs is that they supply nicotine in controlled amounts, and then they are slowly lowered to reduce dependency without the nicotine withdrawals common with quitting cold turkey.

Zyban (Bupropion)

The drug is also known as Aplenzin and Wellbutrin.

Zyban was initially used to treat depression in patients. The drug works by diminishing the chemicals in a person’s brain that are responsible for cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

Treatments with the drug start a few weeks before quitting smoking. The treatment lasts for about 7 to 12 weeks although some doctors can prescribe it for more than 12 weeks to ensure the person does not relapse and start smoking again.

It is advisable that people using Zyban use other quit smoking aids at the initial stages of the treatment to improve the success chances of the drug.

How does Wellbutrin work?

Wellbutrin is believed to work by normalizing dopamine levels in the brain.

Dopamine levels increase with smoking. When nicotine intake is stopped, these dopamine levels begin to decrease, which cause nicotine withdrawal symptoms.

Bupropion, when taken as a smoking cessation medication, stabilizes dopamine levels, thereby relieving withdrawal symptoms and preventing relapse.

Zyban and NRTS

People using Zyban have had higher success rates when using the medication together with other nicotine replacement therapies.

People Bupropion enjoy the anti-depressive qualities of the medication since it was initially used to treat depression.

When not to take Zyban

Do not take Zyban if the following applies to you:

  • Suffered head trauma
  • Have a history of eating disorders
  • Suffer from alcoholism
  • Suffer from seizures
  • Were diagnosed with bipolar disorder
  • Are taking other anti-depressant medications or sedatives.

Bupropion side effects

Common side effects associated with taking Zyban include:

  • Insomnia
  • Dry mouth
  • Dizziness
  • Behavioral and mood changes
  • Suicidal thoughts

Chantix (Varenicline)

Chantix was initially thought to be a solution for those who want to quit smoking. Majority of those who used it stayed away from cigarettes after using it for 12 weeks. After using Chantix for a year, half of the people defeated their cravings and succeeded in staying away from smoking.

The FDA approved it as a quit smoking medication that does not contain nicotine.

The doctor’s recommendations when it comes to using Varenicline:

  • Start taking Chantix a week prior before quitting smoking.

This ensures the body does not go through severe nicotine withdrawal symptoms once the person stops using cigarettes.

  • The Chantix dosage should be gradually increased to 1 mg twice daily from the first eight days and used for 12 weeks.

If a person stops smoking successfully by this time, they can continue using this medication for 12 additional weeks to ensure their abstinence.

How does Chantix work

Chantix works by interfering with nicotine receptors in the brain preventing the person from experiencing pleasure when smoking together with nicotine withdrawal symptoms. Chantix is supposed to decrease dependence on nicotine by eliminating the reward cycle that comes from regular smoking.

Chantix and NRTS

Varenicline has no nicotine. There is no evidence showing that the use of Chantix with NRTs (nicotine replacement therapy) will make it easier to quit tobacco use or any dangerous effects of using them. However, a person should consult a physician before using NRTs while still on Chantix.

Chantix side effects

Chantix has its side effects like other medication. Some of the side effects are mild, and there are others considered serious.

Common side effects include:

  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Difficulty sleeping and strange dreams
  • Reduced taste senses

After Chantix was approved, some serious side effects came to light. This made the FDA enforce a rule that required a black box warning on the label informing people of serious mental effects including the following:

  • Behavioral changes
  • Depression
  • Hostility
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Blackouts

Following a study done by Science Daily in 2011, the use of varenicline as a smoking cessation drug is recommended only as a last resort. This recommendation followed due to the high suicide and self-harm rates attributed to the use of the drug. Those who want to use medication to quit smoking are advised to start with NRTs and then Zyban. If they do not work, use Chantix as a last resort.

Alternative Medication and Nicotine Replacement Therapies

Nicotine replacement therapies mainly comprise of gum and patches. Most people can get these without having a prescription although the recommendation is that people consult a physician before using them. Other nicotine replacement products include inhalers, nasal sprays, and throat lozenges.

These products were made with the idea that the nicotine is supplied in controlled amounts and can be used to reduce the level of dependency without the person experiencing nicotine withdrawal symptoms common when a person quits cold turkey at once.

Other than Zyban and Chantix, there are other medications that can be used to help people cease from smoking even though the FDA has not approved them for this use. This means that the medication is used to treat other illnesses but can also be used to help a person put cigarettes away for good. However, before using any of these drugs, a person needs to consult the physician.


The drug is an antidepressant and can help reduce nicotine withdrawal symptoms. It also increases the success rate of quitting tobacco compared to not using any medication. It is advised for a person to start using the drug a few weeks before they quit cigarettes.

Common side effects include:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Blurred or troubled vision
  • Problems urinating
  • Losing or adding weight

In case of some heart problems, the person should not use Nortriptyline as it can affect their health. People who take it should not use it while operating heavy machinery.


Clonidine is an FDA approved drug used to treat high blood pressure although it can also be used to help people quit smoking. It can be taken as a pill, but there is a patch that can be used and changed once a week. Before a person starts taking Clonidine, they should speak to the physician and give any information about other medication being taken and pre-existent medical conditions.

Common side effects include:

  • Dizziness
  • Constipation
  • Dry mouth
  • Drowsiness
  • Weakness or fatigue


Cytisine, also known as baptitoxine and sophorine, commercially known as Tabex, is a smoking cessation aid used primarily in Eastern Europe. Cytisine works in the same way that other quit smoking medications, like varenicline, work. It attaches itself to nicotine receptors in the brain, dampening nicotine’s euphoric effects. Cytisine is not habit-forming and is primarily taken orally.

Common side effects include:

  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Headaches
  • Irritability
  • Constipation
  • Increased blood pressure

Pros and Cons of Using Medication

Like with any medication, smoking cessation drugs have benefits as well as drawbacks. If you decide to go the vaping route, even the best vapes will have some drawbacks. The primary benefit is that they have been shown to increase one’s ability to stop smoking. Individual results will vary, and no one drug will work for everyone.

The main benefit is that the drugs can increase the success rate of a person quitting smoking. People will have different results and there is no one drug suitable for everyone.

There are some detriments associated with using stop smoking medication. These include:

  • Using Chantix is known to cause mood swings and other severe mental disturbances.

This is why it is not recommended for people with certain mental medical conditions.

  • Antidepressants also have their side effects like seizures in some people.

People with seizure disorders are advised to avoid these medications since the seizures might worsen and the person can be harmed.

  • Medication is costly especially for those who do not have any insurance. The cost is not only for the medication but because people need to get a prescription from the doctor and schedule regular visits to gauge the progress.

Although the cost of using smoking cessation drugs can be high, people who have gone through the process acknowledge that the costs are lower than that of treating smoking complications like lung cancer, heart disease, and other illnesses.

Making the Decision

People who decide it is time to quit can contact their physicians and get a prescription for medication. The medication can make it easier for them to quit smoking without having to experience the adverse withdrawal symptoms. There is a medication that will work for different people and nicotine replacement therapies to help quench the thirst for nicotine. With all these at a person’s disposal, quitting cigarettes never has been more effective.

After Content Chirs story
Published: March 22, 2015 Updated: April 5, 2019



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One comment on “Quit Smoking Medications
  • TBGood
    July 5, 2018 at 2:58 am

    I need a cigarette after reading all of that