Effectiveness of bupropion sustained release for smoking cessation in a health care setting: a randomized trial

Arch Intern Med. 2003 Oct 27;163(19):2337-44. doi: 10.1001/archinte.163.19.2337.


Background: The efficacy of bupropion hydrochloride sustained release (SR) (Zyban) for smoking cessation has been evaluated in clinical trials that included frequent in-person behavioral counseling, but not in actual practice settings.

Objective: To determine the differential effectiveness of 2 doses of bupropion SR in combination with behavioral interventions of minimal to moderate intensity in an actual practice setting.

Design: Open-label randomized trial, with 1 year of follow-up.

Setting: A large health system (Group Health Cooperative) based in Seattle.

Participants: Adult smokers (N = 1524) interested in quitting smoking.

Interventions: Participants were randomly assigned to receive 1 of 4 combinations of bupropion SR (150 or 300 mg) and behavioral counseling (minimal or moderate intensity).

Main outcome measures: The primary outcome measure was self-reported point-prevalence 7-day nonsmoking status at 3 and 12 months following the target quit date. Secondary outcomes included adverse and abstinence effects reported since beginning treatment with bupropion SR.

Results: At 3 months, a significantly higher rate of nonsmoking was observed among those receiving the larger bupropion SR dose (P=.005). At 12 months, moderate intensity counseling was associated significantly with a higher rate of nonsmoking (P=.001). At 3 months, the higher dose was associated with a significantly increased frequency of self-reported symptoms such as difficulty sleeping (P=.02), difficulty concentrating (P=.02), shakiness/tremor (P=.002), and gastrointestinal problems (P=.005)and a decreased frequency of reported desire to smoke (P=.001).

Conclusions: In this actual practice setting, the combination of bupropion SR and minimal or moderate counseling was associated with 1-year quit rates of 23.6% to 33.2%. This suggests that existing health care systems can substantially decrease tobacco use rates among their enrollees if they provide these modest interventions.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bupropion / administration & dosage*
  • Bupropion / adverse effects
  • Delayed-Action Preparations
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Smoking Cessation*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Delayed-Action Preparations
  • Bupropion