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New anti-smoking drug not suitable for people with epilepsy

3 July, 2000

The new anti-smoking medication Zyban, is being hailed as a major breakthrough to help smokers kick the habit. The pill stops the brain from craving the nicotine that tobacco and cigarettes produce. However, it should not be prescribed for patients with a history of epilepsy or seizures.

Surveys show that more than two-thirds of smokers want to give up, but willpower alone is not enough to counter the withdrawal from nicotine. While inhaling smoke from a cigarette, nicotine rushes to the brain and stimulates the release of neurotransmitters. The effect of the neurotransmitters on the body cause the smoker to become addicted. When smokers quit, the neurotransmitter levels in the brain are altered and this causes the person to suffer withdrawal symptoms.

Zyban, manufactured by Glaxo Wellcome, does not contain nicotine, but can tackle the nicotine addiction. Unfortunately for those with a history of seizures, the chance to try this new drug remains out of reach.