Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Smoking Cessation Health Center

Font Size

For Those Trying to Quit, Antidepressant Shows Promise

WebMD Health News

May 22, 2001 -- If you're a smoker, you already know you should quit. You've probably tried, at least once. Maybe you wore a patch or chewed nicotine gum. You suffered cravings, mood swings, and weight gain -- only to break down and light up again.

Well, you might want to give it another shot. And this time, take Zyban. Research shows the antidepressant can really boost your odds at getting -- and staying -- tobacco-free.

"Zyban, along with counseling and patient education, is of great value in this arena," says David A. Meyerson, MD, a cardiologist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and national spokesman for the American Heart Association. "It makes the enormous, horrible cravings less intense and wider apart, so they are much more tolerable."

In a multicenter trial led by Lowell C. Dale, MD, of the Mayo Clinic, researchers assigned more than 600 adult smokers, each of whom smoked at least 15 cigarettes a day, to receive either low-, medium-, or high-dose Zyban, or an identical-looking but inactive placebo pill, for seven weeks. They then followed the subjects for another 45 weeks to see who remained abstinent and who went back to smoking.

One year after starting treatment, smokers who had taken Zyban, especially at the highest dose, were more likely to be smoke-free than the people who'd taken a placebo. The researchers could not identify any personal characteristics that made Zyban ineffective -- that is, it appeared to work for just about everyone.

But if you do choose to take Zyban, some of you will do better than others.

Those in the study who were most successful were male, older, or comparatively light smokers or had no other smokers in their household. Other factors linked to success include remaining smoke-free during the first two weeks of the trial and having made attempts at quitting in the past.

Zyban can definitely help, but it's unlikely to be enough on its own, says Meyerson. The real keys to success are motivation and education.

"[Medication] is of no value unless the person is motivated," he tells WebMD. But doctors have less time than ever and are often inadequately trained to counsel and educate on smoking cessation. Therefore you, the smoker, need to get out there and arm yourself with information and support, he says.

Today on WebMD

hands breaking a cigarette
Is quitting cold turkey an effective method?
14 tips to get you through the first hard days.
smoking man
Surprising impacts of tobacco on the body.
cigarette smoke
What happens when you kick the habit?

Filtered cigarettes
an array of e cigarettes
human heart
Woman experiencing withdrawal symptoms

man smoking cigarette
no smoking sign
Woman ashing cigarette in ashtray
chain watch