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How Long Does Zyban Take To Work?

Zyban is a well-known quit-smoking treatment containing the active ingredient bupropion hydrochloride. However, when you quit smoking, the first thing you’ll want to know is how long the medication will take to work. In this article, we’ll explore how quickly Zyban works to help you quit smoking for good.

How long does Zyban take to work?

Zyban is taken for a maximum period of 7 to 12 weeks, but many people start to notice differences in their smoking habits within 2 weeks. However, this can vary from person to person.

OneZyban stabilises in the blood
SevenMost people have stopped smoking by now
NineZyban treatment ends

For Zyban to be effective, it is important to stick to the treatment schedule prescribed by your clinician. Zyban doesn’t make you stop smoking, you will need motivation and determination to break your smoking habit.

How does Zyban work?

Zyban was originally intended to treat depression but it was found that its active ingredient, bupropion also reduced nicotine withdrawal symptoms. It does this by lowering the intensity of nicotine cravings and withdrawals by acting on key messengers called dopamine and adrenaline.

Dopamine is involved in the body’s reward and pleasure pathways. So, when you smoke, dopamine levels increase, giving you a sense of reward. At the same time, adrenaline is released, creating a ‘kick’ and raising your blood pressure and heart rate.

By acting on these pathways, Zyban makes cigarette withdrawals easier to manage.

How long does Zyban treatment last?

Generally, Zyban treatment lasts for 9 weeks. Before you begin Zyban treatment, you should set a target stop smoking day which should occur during your second week of treatment. You should start Zyban when you are still smoking.

11 - 6One tablet, once per day
7One tablet, twice a day with 8 hours in between. You should not take Zyban before bed. 
2Take one tablet, twice per day
Quit smoking on your ‘target stop smoking day’, set during this week
3 to 9Continue taking 1 tablet, twice a day for up to 9 weeks. 

If you have not stopped smoking by week 7 of Zyban treatment, your clinician will advise you to stop taking it. Instead, you may need to explore other smoking cessation options.

If you have successfully quit by week 7, your clinician may advise you to gradually cut down and stop your Zyban treatment between weeks 7 and 9. Your clinician will discuss how to do this with you.

Some people may need to take Zyban for longer to help them on their smoking cessation journey. Your clinician will discuss this with you if it is appropriate. A flexible approach to quitting smoking is likely to make smoking cessation more successful.

Some people may need to take a lower Zyban dose, one 150 mg tablet per day, such as people:

  • Over 65
  • With kidney or liver disease
  • With a higher risk of having fits

How effective is Zyban?

It’s estimated that around 1 in 5 smokers will quit using Zyban (bupropion). A review found that bupropion increases the success rate of quitting smoking by 52% to 77%.

Research shows that after 3 weeks of Zyban treatment, there were no differences in self-reported smoking cessation but after week 7, the quit rate was higher with bupropion.

What if Zyban doesn’t work for me?

Zyban may not be suitable or work for everyone. If that’s you, you should discuss alternative smoking cessation methods with a clinician.

At Prescription Doctor, we can also provide Cytisine, a safe and effective prescription-only medicine that acts on the area of the brain responsible for craving cigarettes.


Most people take Zyban for up to 12 weeks to help them quit smoking. Some people start to notice benefits within 2 weeks, while for others, it may take a little longer. In some cases, a clinician may lengthen the duration of the treatment to cater for diverse demographics.

Authored By

Leanne Edermaniger

Medical Content Writer
Leanne is a science and health content writer focusing on human health and biology while utilising her solid academic background.

Published on: 23/11/2023

Reviewed By

Mohamed Imran Lakhi

MPharm - Lead Pharmacist
Imran Lakhi is the superintendent pharmacist and founder at Prescription Doctor. He has been at the core of our team.

Reviewed on: 23/11/2023
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