What is bupropion?

Bupropion is a smoking cessation aid and antidepressant that reduces nicotine cravings and withdrawal symptoms. It can be used to help people quit smoking and also help treat depression. Common brand names of bupropion are Zyban and Wellbutrin.


How does it work?

Bupropion blocks both dopamine and norepinephrine from being reabsorbed, which means they hang around longer and work longer. Dopamine and norepinephrine are chemicals in the brain, called neurotransmitters, that send messages from one nerve cell to the next. The medication seems to affect these two important neurotransmitters in a way that is similar to nicotine, which can decrease your withdrawal symptoms when you are trying to quit.

Bupropion also weakly blocks the nicotine receptor (the place on a nerve cell where a chemical lands to transmit its message), which makes smoking less pleasurable. This helps prevent relapse when former smokers are trying to make their new habit stick.



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