Drug vs. Drug

Zyban vs Chantix: Main Differences and Similarities

By | May 29, 2019

Zyban (bupropion) and Chantix (varenicline) are two medications that can help with smoking cessation in those who want to quit smoking tobacco. Although they both can help someone quit smoking, they work in different ways. The active ingredient in Zyban is also an antidepressant whereas the active ingredient in Chantix has direct effects on nicotine in the body. We’ll explore these drugs further.

Zyban

Zyban is the brand name for bupropion hydrochloride. It was FDA approved in 1985 to help with smoking cessation. Zyban is classified as an aminoketone agent that has effects on norepinephrine and dopamine neurotransmitters in the brain. For this reason, bupropion, as Wellbutrin, can also treat depression. (note: Wellbutrin and Zyban are not interchangeable).

Zyban is available as a 150 mg oral tablet. It is taken once daily for the first 3 days and then twice daily thereafter. For maximum results, Zyban should be started one week before the designated quit date.

Because Zyban can sometimes increase the risk of seizures in some cases, it is not recommended in those with seizure disorders.

Chantix

Chantix is the brand name for varenicline. It was approved in 2006 to help with smoking cessation. It works as a partial agonist on nicotinic receptors in the brain to directly block the effects of nicotine.

Chantix is available as a 0.5 mg and 1 mg oral tablet. It is started at 0.5 mg once daily for the first 3 days and then increased to twice daily for the next 4 days. Then, it is taken as 1 mg twice daily for 12 weeks. Like Zyban, Chantix is started one week before the designated quit date.

Like Zyban, Chantix may also be linked to a risk of seizures in rare cases.

Zyban vs Chantix Side by Side Comparison

Zyban and Chantix are two smoking cessation treatments with several similarities and differences. These drugs are compared more in depth in the table below.

Zyban Chantix
Prescribed For
  • Smoking cessation
  • Depression
  • Smoking cessation
Drug Classification
  • Aminoketone
  • Antidepressant
  • Partial nicotinic receptor agonist
  • Smoking cessation agent
Manufacturer
Common Side Effects
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Dry mouth
  • Dizziness
  • Anxiety
  • Tremors
  • Rhinitis
  • Joint pain
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Flatulence
  • Vomiting
  • Sleep disturbances
Is there a generic?
  • No generic currently available
Is it covered by insurance?
  • Varies according to your provider
  • Varies according to your provider
Dosage Forms
  • Oral tablet, extended release
  • Oral tablet
Average Cash Price
  • $384 60 extended-release oral tablets
  • $99 for a supply of 11 tablets
SingleCare Discount Price
Drug Interactions
  • MAO inhibitors (selegiline, isocarboxazid, etc.)
  • CYP2B6 inhibitors (clopidogrel, ticlopidine, etc.)
  • CYP2B6 inducers (ritonavir, lopinavir, carbamazepine, etc.)
  • Antidepressants (venlafaxine, imipramine, fluoxetine, etc.)
  • Antipsychotics (haloperidol, risperidone, etc.)
  • Beta-blockers (metoprolol, atenolol, etc.)
  • Antiarrhythmics (flecainide, propafenone, etc.)
  • CYP2D6 metabolized drugs
  • Dopaminergics (amantadine, levodopa, etc.)
  • Digoxin
  • Alcohol
  • Other drugs that have a seizure risk (theophylline, antipsychotics, etc.)
  • Bupropion
  • Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT)
  • Theophylline
  • Insulin
  • Warfarin
Can I use while planning pregnancy, pregnant, or breastfeeding?
  • Zyban is Pregnancy Category C. Animal studies have shown adverse effects to the fetus. Adequate studies have not been performed in humans. Zyban is not expected to harm breastfed infants. Consult a doctor regarding steps to take while pregnant and breastfeeding.
  • Chantix is Pregnancy Category C. Animal studies have shown adverse effects to the fetus. Adequate studies have not been performed in humans. Chantix is not expected to harm breastfed infants. Consult a doctor regarding steps to take while pregnant and breastfeeding.

Summary

Zyban (bupropion) and Chantix (varenicline) are two drugs that can help support smoking cessation. While Zyban primarily works on norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain, Chantix directly binds to nicotinic receptors to prevent withdrawal symptoms.

Zyban treatment lasts for 7 to 12 weeks while Chantix treatment lasts for up to 12 weeks. Both medications need a prescription to purchase. Both Zyban and Chantix may need dose adjustments in those with kidney problems.

Zyban and Chantix have similar side effects such as insomnia and nausea. Unlike Chantix, Zyban might also cause joint pain and dizziness in some people. Zyban is also more likely to interact with other medications due to how it works in the body. However, it may be a better option for someone who also has depression.

Discuss these treatment options with your doctor. It is important to undergo a complete medical evaluation to determine the best option for you. The information provided here is meant to be a brief comparison of two different medications.