Danielle E McCarthy1, Douglas E Jorenby2, Haruka Minami1 and Vivian Yeh1
1Department of Psychology, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Piscataway, NJ, USA. 2Department of Medicine and Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, WI, USA.
Bupropion SR is approved for the treatment of tobacco dependence in adult smokers. Bupropion SR is an atypical antidepressant that has been shown to double the likelihood of quitting smoking (to roughly 19%-24% six months into a quit attempt), perhaps by acting on dopaminergic and noradrenergic systems and by acting as an antagonist of nicotine acetylcholine receptors. Head-to-head comparisons of bupropion SR and other stop-smoking treatments suggest that bupropion SR is as or more efficacious than nicotine replacement therapies, equally efficacious as nortriptyline, and less efficacious than varenicline. The evidence available regarding the effectiveness of bupropion SR in real-world settings suggests that abstinence rates are similar to those seen in controlled clinical trials. Bupropion SR appears to be safe and efficacious for both men and women and for people with comorbid medical or mental health conditions. Evidence collected to date supports the use of bupropion SR as a safe, tolerable pharmacotherapy for smoking cessation among adult smokers without a predisposition to seizures, but also suggests that benefits in terms of abstinence last only as long as treatment continues. This review focuses on recent evidence regarding bupropion SR effects and highlights important questions regarding the duration of effects, relative efficacy, effectiveness in clinical use, mechanisms of action, and utilization of bupropion SR that remain unanswered.
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