Zyban and Depression Interview

Marcelina Hardy, MSEd, BCC
Eva Caroline Ritvo, MD

In this Zyban and Depression interview, learn why many more medical professionals are beginning to believe in the benefits of this medication for treating depression. Mostly used for smoking cessation, Zyban can also help individuals who suffer from mild to severe depression. However, it's not for everyone. Eva Caroline Ritvo, MD, shares her experience and knowledge about Zyban and its use with depression.

Zyban and Depression Interview with Eva Ritvo, MD

Eva Ritvo, MD is a psychiatrist, associate professor and vice chair for the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. While she does help individuals with depression by prescribing the right antidepressant for them, she also is a writer/lecturer about the science of beauty and a family and couples therapist. Recently, Dr. Ritvo took time out of her busy schedule to answer LoveToKnow's questions about Zyban and depression.

Is Zyban for You?

Before beginning any new medication regimen, it's important to discuss with your doctor if you are a good candidate for it. Dr. Ritvo states, "Patients with depression and/or Attention Deficit Disorder respond well. Patients who have lost their libido or ability to perform sexually often do well on this medication. People worried about gaining weight do well on this antidepressant because no weight gain is associated with it. Individuals trying to quit smoking will benefit as well. If you have a history of seizures, you may not be a candidate for this antidepressant."

Zyban and Wellbutrin

According to Dr. Ritvo, while Wellbutrin and Zyban have the same active ingredient, the latter has "few or no side effects". However, she points out that Wellbutrin comes in a generic form, which means it may be less expensive for you.

Typical Side Effects

While Zyban may result in fewer side effects compared to other antidepressants, many people still experience some reaction to the medication. In Dr. Ritvo's experience with prescribing this antidepressant to her patients, she noticed that the most common side effects were:

  • Trouble falling asleep
  • Tremors
  • Agitation
  • Increased Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Increased Sweating

Withdrawal Symptoms

If you and your psychiatrist decide to discontinue a medication, it is important to ask if you will experience any withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can cause you mild discomfort or worse, in which case your doctor may advice that you wean off the medication slowly. However, Dr. Ritvo reports that there are no withdrawal symptoms with Zyban. She does point out that you may experience a relapse of your depression, smoking or other symptoms.

Possibility of Addiction

Some people with a history of drug addiction are not able to take certain medications because they have addictive qualities; however, this is not an issue with this antidepressant.

Depression and Quitting Smoking

Many individuals who suffer from depression are addicted to smoking. The addiction to nicotine causes a person to feel anxious until he or she smokes, and this is what makes the person believe that it's calming. Not only that, many people who are unsuccessful at quitting smoking become depressed because of the lack of control they have over themselves. The depression compounds the process of smoking cessation because symptoms leave a person feeling hopeless and helpless. With all of these factors, it may be useful to understand how Zyban helps someone who suffers from depression and nicotine addiction. Dr. Ritvo states that this antidepressant "treats depression and raises a person's mood. It will also help reduce cravings for cigarettes and help make abstinence easier."

Further Treatment for Depression

Besides taking an antidepressant, Dr. Ritvo recommends that people who suffer from depression do the following:

  • Exercise
  • Improve the quality of their sleep
  • Seek social support
  • Be as active as possible
  • Address any other medical issues
  • Avoid alcohol and illicit drugs

LoveToKnow Recovery would like to thank Eva Ritvo, MD for participating in this Zyban and Depression interview.

Zyban and Depression Interview