Medications to Help Stop Smoking

Two medicines that do not contain nicotine have been approved by the FDA as smoking cessation products. Both are taken by mouth and available by prescription-ony.

  • Chantix® (varenicline tartrate)
  • Zyban® (buproprion)

Read the product's patient medication guide in its entirety if you use or plan to use either Chantix® or Zyban®. In July 2009, FDA required both products to carry new safety information in a boxed warning regarding risks of possible changes in behavior, depressed mood, hostility, and suicidal thoughts or actions.

Chantix® acts at sites in the brain affected by nicotine. It provides some nicotine effects to ease withdrawal symptoms and blocks the effects of nicotine from cigarettes if users resume smoking. The most common side effects of Chantix® include nausea; constipation; gas; vomiting; and trouble sleeping or vivid, unusual, or strange dreams.

Stop taking Chantix® and call your health care professional right away if you notice any of these symptoms, or develop other symptoms included in the medication guide for patients.

Zyban® helps patients to abstain from smoking; however, the precise means by which it accomplishes this is unknown.

The most commonly observed side effects associated with the use of Zyban® are dry mouth and insomnia. Since Zyban® contains the same active ingredient as the antidepressant Wellbutrin, users and potential users are urged to talk to their health care professional about risks and benefits of treatment with antidepressant medicines


Reference: National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Last updated May 2017

This information is for general educational uses only. It may not apply to you and your personal medical needs. This information should not be used in place of a visit, call, consultation with or the advice of your physician or health care professional.

Communicate promptly with your physician or other health care professional with any health-related questions or concerns.

Be sure to follow specific instructions given to you by your physician or health care professional.

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