Prescribed medications

How can prescribed medications help you quit smoking?

What types of prescribed medications are available to smokers?

When it comes to stopping smoking, there are a number of treatments available to help you beat the addiction and reduce withdrawal symptoms.

Often, a combination of approaches works best, but it’s important to look at what’s right for your personal preferences and medical history.

Bupropion (brand name Zyban) is a prescribed medicine originally used to treat depression, but it has since been found to help people quit smoking (source: NHS).

It been available as a stop smoking medication for approximately 18 years and has been shown to approximately double the chance of quitting long term. Zyban has some side-effects associated with it and because of this it is not suitable for some people.

What does Zyban do?

Zyban reduces nicotine cravings and withdrawal symptoms e.g. feeling irritable, disturbed sleep and increased appetite.

Evidence shows that taking Zyban or nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) combined with support from a stop smoking practitioner is the most effective way to quit.

Stop smoking medications won’t take away the thought of cigarettes completely.

However, your determination along with the use of the other quit tools explained on this website can make it much more likely you will stop smoking for good.


Understanding prescribed medications

Hear from Respiratory Pharmacist, Darush Attar for his advice for smokers on the options available.

How can Zyban help you quit smoking?

Smokers begin taking Zyban 1-2 weeks before your quit date. This is to give the medication a chance to start working within your system.

The course of Zyban lasts for up to 9 weeks, it’s really important to commit to the full programme to give yourself the best chance of quitting.

Where can you get Zyban?

Zyban is a prescription only medication available to those over the age of 18 and not available if you are pregnant or breastfeeding or if you have some other pre-existing health conditions. For more information on whether Zyban would be a good option for you contact your local stop smoking service, doctor or pharmacist for further information.

Combining your choices

You don’t have to rely on just one method to quit.

You are more likely to quit smoking by mixing and matching personal support like motivational support from a health adviser with NRT or a prescription medication and e-cigarettes. What would work best for you?

Take the first step and get support to quit smoking

Once you take the first step, you will be able to discuss the different options with your GP or stop smoking service adviser and work out what is right for you.

Make an appointment with your GP or local stop smoking service to get started.

Looking for more information on prescribed medications?

The NHS website has lots of information about stop smoking medication and other treatments to help you quit smoking.


Combine with other tools

A vape icon


E-cigarettes can help you avoid nicotine withdrawal and reduce stress.

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Stop Smoking London helpline

Our free helpline is operated by trained tobacco dependence advisers. They can help you break the habit.

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Nicotine replacement products

Nicotine replacement therapy can help you beat withdrawal symptoms safely.

How to Quit