Should I have been given Zyban/bupropion to treat my anxiety/depression?

This morning I went to see my doc realising that I need to go back on medication again. (I'm 45 and male btw). I've previously been on prozac (years ago) and citalopram a couple of times. There are things about citalopram which I'm not keen on and make my anxiety worse (such as a decreased ability to reach orgasm) and though it slightly aids my moods it doesnt help me feel motivated etc so I did some research of my own which I explained to the doctor including saying that I'd read about Bupropion and thought it seemed to tick some of the important boxes for me (doesnt affect labido, works well on seasonal affective disorder, helps people quit smoking , which i'm trying to do). I said this mainly so he'd know what was concerning me but expected him to give more of an opinion himself. Instead he simply told me that it wasn't generally given for depression anymore (only as a short term aid to quit smoking) , had a very brief look on the internet then prescribed it for me anyway. I've since found out that it isn't even liscenced as an anti depressant in this country. The box only contains information on using it to quit smoking. Am I being silly to be concerned? Some of what I've read about it makes me think it could potentially work for me but other things leave me totally unsure. Did he really listen to me or just prescribe whatever I asked for without giving it much thought?

I would be extremely grateful for any information/thoughts from anyone with any knowledge of this medication. Please feel free to ask any info that would be useful in you helping me. I really want to feel better again. Thank you for taking the time to read.

25 Replies

  • Hi I had zyban once and it was given to me strictly for giving up smoking. I understood there was no ad effect in it at all. It brought me out in hives though. A better bet if you want to give us is a newer one called Champix. It can give some people stomach ache but it seems to be very effective. They don't like prescribing it for those who have suffered depression in the past as it can make it worse. My doctor said my need to give up smoking (I have copd) is greater so he gave it to me.

    I hope you find something which works for you. x

  • Thanks , I have been on anti d medication before and giving up smoking is (currently) not my main issue. x

  • I woukd not be too worried, the drug is what's called " off licence" whuch means it's

    Not specifically prescribed for Depression, but it's widely prescribed in USA

    For Depression. So are you saying you don't have faith in your Dr? If so change him,

    Also why did you ask for that drug? Leave it up to the Dr. And leave Dr. Google for another day.


  • Thanks Hannah, I usually think he's an ok gp but today he seemed completely unknowledgeable on the drug (he just had a very quick look on the internet and said 'ok we'll try you on it') and gave conflicting advice with regards to it and insomnia. I didn't so much ask for it as say that it from what i'd read it seemed to have less side effects that would cause me anxiety, but i expected him to give some opinion or options . Felt a bit like I could have asked for anything and he'd have prescribed it! He also forgot that he hadn't printed out my prescription , like he just wasn't paying much attention. I'm not usually one to question a doc but this didn't feel like his diagnosis, felt like mine.

  • Kevin see how you get on with the Zyban, I knew a few people on it and it helped

    Them. But I guess all Meds. Have pluses and minuses and it's a matter of seeing

    What suits you. No antidepressant is perfect and even my own is ok, but makes me

    A bit sleepless.

    Kevin thus us a great Forum for help and support and I have got great help and

    Friendship here. I don't answer that much any more, only if I feel my reply

    Will help a bit. Nice talking to you.


  • I think i've just got the fear that I've been fobbed off or given something that'll make things worse. I expect a lot of us feel the same but I suppose we don't know til we try. It is that feeling that anything new is an 'experiment' i suppose and I'm anxious (ironically!) what the results might be.

    Thanks again :)

  • Hi Kev, I'm going to my GP on Thursday as the new antidpressants she has started me on the side effects are to much for me, and I was thinking of asking for zyban I was reading up about them tonight as they are the least likely to be weight gaining ( my mine reson for not starting on some antidpressants ) I like you did notice that it was prescribed mostly to help peolpe to stop smoking, that's what put me off ( I don't smoke ) and it had the least side effects, thanks for messaging, if it was me I'd go back to your GP and explain exactly how you feel after reading up on them and just see what he says ?? It will at least give you peace of mind what he had to say. Good luck mate let me know how you get on, I'm reading up on them myself to suggest one to my GP !!!!!!

  • I'm going to ask a pharmacist this morning. I'll let you know how I get on.

  • I just wish you'd been on them longer so you could of told me how good they were ?? I'm going my GP Thursday to change mine I'm really worried what to ?? Good luck with your let me know how you get on, what strenght have you started on ??

  • 150mg for first 6 days then 300mg. I wish I'd been on them longer (if they help) too! I'm annoyed with myself for thinking I didn't need medication anymore and stopping earlier this year. It's so confusing. When I'm on medication I convince myself I don't really need it (especially when some parts of my life begin going well) then when I begin to feel anxious I realise how easily my whole world can collapse and I don't function well at all. I think only people who have suffered anxiety /depression really understand how confusing and complicated it feels to have your own brain feel like an enemy.

  • I couldn't agree with you more, I never come off antidpressants ( over twenty eight years ) I either go down to the very lowest dose, or increase them when needed as you never think there working until you stop for a couple of months then you realise your really not well and they were helping keeping you balanced at least !!!!! Yes I agree well you have made the start now, be positive and they ll work, I'm still going to ask my GP about them

  • Ps- good luck with your appointment. Let me know how you get on too :-)

  • I have just spoken to a pharmacist and although I'm still feeling a little cautious about them I am going to give them a go. Like you Sandraan, I like the positives I've read about this medicine and am hoping they'll help mefinally get over my problems.

  • I'd guess, if you expressed an interest in stopping smoking, that's what swayed your GP's decision to prescribe you Zyban. But you should have been warned regards some of the possible rather alarming side effects of this medication.

    I was prescribed Zyban about 15 years ago to help me stop smoking. It sent me into a altered state, of the likes I had never experienced before, or after.

    If you have any family members who have ever had a psychotic episode, and/or think it's a possibility you may have a genetic predisposition to mental illness, however small, proceed with extreme caution.

    Proceed with caution anyway. Other side effects reported at the time included seizures, people crashing their cars, death in some cases. I think these side effects are the reason Zyban is not licensed for use as an anti-depressant.

  • Hi Kev I have been reading up on your Antidepressant and the reviews people have given and it's sounds really impressive, I'm asking my GP to start me on them, Lear me no how your feel after 3 days as most people are saying that As how quickly they are noticing a difference, Good luck I'm sure youv made the right choice

  • Thanks Sandra, yeah I read loads and was impressed by what a lot of people were saying. I'm not trying to anticipate anything but I'd love to get the same results as the people who have had great results. Took first one last night. If you manage to get prescribed them keep in touch and we can share any tips /advice. :-)

  • Well everyone has said they have woken up great of a morning, so I think that's a great start, can I be honest with you Kev, over the past twenty eight years I have ALWAYS research into antidpressants and mostly what other people have reviewed and asked my GP if i could try them, it's only this year Iv left it up to pyschatrist to choose and nothing has worked and the venlafaxine I just think my GP looked on screen saw what was available and picked that ( I'm not calling my GP at all I have good faith in her ) but as she said ""she's no expert on antidpressant "" so yes like you fingers crossed she will prescribe me them. Can I ask did you have a problem getting them from your chemist ?? If there suppose to be banned ??

  • I totally understand that feeling, like the gp just has another random guess. Like you I dont blame them but any form of depression/anxiety is unique to the individual as are the results from medication, so i'm always concerned by the feeling of a 'one size fits all' response from the docs yet I understand it would be impossible for each of us to have the tailored help we could probably all do with.

    No I had no problem. I asked my pharmacist about the 'unlicensed' element and she explained that it doesnt quite mean how it sounds. (sorry but i cant actually remember the exact explanation, only that it made a bit more sense and i felt a little reassured) I was a bit concerned that the only instructions on the box and leaflet are to do with quiting smoking (no mention of depression) which is why i've done so much research online. Without doing that i would be sceptical but I'm taking heart from all the good things i've read about it. The dose seems high enough (something else i'd worried about. 150mg, going up to 300mg after 6 days) and i'm going to try to just have a little faith and see how it goes, as well as continue reading up as much info as i can.

  • But I HAVE been given it by my gp for depression. He has prescribed it 'off licence' thus my initial query.

  • I don't really understand that sentence. Sorry.

  • Mate, I cant say it any other way, I have been prescribed it for depression. I asked a pharmacist and was told it can be prescribed off license if the gp thinks it will help.

  • Hi Kev

    Just wanted to say, I've had similar experiences at the GP ( but with different meds). In this bout of depression and anxiety ( since July 2015) I've found the meds to be less effective and have tried several different ones ( duloxetine, clonipramine, escitalopram and now mirtazapine).I go to GP and ask " can i try this one?" and he always just agrees. It surprises me , but maybe there's some sort of protocol that says " let the patient feel some control over their choice of mendication " or something. I'm sure they wouldn't let us swap to something that was going to be harmful or useless...

    Take care

    Anna x

  • Thanks Anna. I'm 4 days in so hoping this one really does some good. x

  • Yeah ok, he's been a doctor for about 35 years, I think I'll stick with him rather than you, ok?

  • Once my depression went with aid of Prozac, amazingly I found I had the will power to quit smoking - but I had rolled my own for a couple of decades or more!

    Have you you checked out the new med on - or Wikipedia via Google search If listed on there - you might find much more information that will advise on potential side effects.

    Try first! They seem to list every med in the world there!