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Bupropion (Zyban): Frequently Asked Questions

How long does a course of Bupropion last?

A minimum of seven weeks is recommended, however the usual course of Bupropion medication is nine weeks.

Do I only need one script for Bupropion?

No, the first script provides around two weeks’ worth of Bupropion medication. You’ll need to return to your GP for a review within two weeks of starting Bupropion, before being prescribed the remainder of the course.

I’ve heard that I have to enrol or join a support program to get Bupropion – is this true? What happens if I don’t want to?

Yes, this is correct. A condition of being prescribed Bupropion is that you receive professional quit smoking support at the same time, such as the NSW Quitline. The evidence suggests that if you undertake both of these, you will have a better chance of quitting. Your GP can provide guidance on additional support programs.

If I don’t succeed with this course of Bupropion, can I go back and get another course?

You can only access one course of Bupropion on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) in any 12-month period. This means that if you were prescribed Bupropion today, you would have to wait 12 months to be prescribed it again, using the PBS. However, there is an option to pay for a private script.

For more information, visit the PBS website at www.pbs.gov.au or call the PBS Information Line on 1800 020 613.

If I don’t succeed in quitting with Bupropion, can I still receive Varenicline (Champix®) (the other prescribed quit medication available in Australia)?

If you are assessed by your GP or specialist as being suitable for Varenicline (Champix®), you will need to wait six months before being prescribed this medication on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), following your last attempt with Bupropion.

Can I use Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) at the same time as Bupropion?

Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) can be used with Bupropion, and some people have found this combination to be helpful. However, it is important to talk to your GP first if you are considering this.

Is Bupropion suitable for everyone?

No. For example, Bupropion is not suitable for people who have a condition which lowers their threshold for seizures, including those who have:

  • A history of seizure disorders such as epilepsy
  • Eating disorders such as Anorexia Nervosa or Bulimia
  • People who take certain kinds of medications

Bupropion is also not suitable for pregnant women, children, or people with certain medical conditions.

Your doctor may decide not to prescribe Bupropion if you suffer from a mental illness or are a heavy drinker of alcohol. You can talk to your GP about this in more detail.

What side effects might I experience when using Bupropion?

Bupropion can cause a range of side effects. The most common include (but are not limited to) insomnia and dry mouth. Serious side effects are uncommon, but can include seizures.

You must contact your health care provider immediately if someone who is taking Bupropion or has recently stopped using Bupropion shows signs of depression, agitation, or suicidal thinking or behaviour, or exhibits a change in their thinking or behaviour that is not typical for that person.

You should talk to your GP if you have any side effects which case you concern while taking Bupropion, including any side effects that aren’t mentioned here. The Consumer Medicine Information leaflet has more details on side effects, so it’s important to read this document.

Click here to read more information about Bupropion, on the NPS MedicineWise website.

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