How to Use Bupropion SR

How to Use Bupropion SR
Bupropion icon

Bupropion icon
  • You’ll need a prescription from a prescribing healthcare provider for bupropion SR (sustained release). Take bupropion exactly as directed by your healthcare provider.
  • Bupropion SR is a tablet (pill) that comes in one dosing strength: 150 mg. The tablet does not contain nicotine. Bupropion can also be prescribed for uses other than for quitting smoking.
  • Your doctor or other healthcare provider will help you decide when to start taking bupropion. In general, most people start taking bupropion about 1-2 weeks before their quit date.
  • Your doctor or other healthcare provider will give you dosing instructions. Most people are started on a lower dose at first to reduce the risk of certain side effects:
    • Days 1 to 3: Take 1 tablet (150 mg) each day.
    • Days 3 until the end of treatment: Take two tablets (150 mg each) per day – one in the morning and one in the evening, at least 8 hours apart.
  • Try to take bupropion at the same time every day. The two doses should always be separated by at least eight hours. Do not take more than two tablets per day.
  • Bupropion can be taken with or without food. Do not crush, chew, or divide bupropion tablets.
  • If you miss a dose of bupropion, take it as soon as you remember, and take the missed dose for that day at least eight hours later. If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the dose you forgot and continue your regular dosing schedule. It is very important that you have at least 8 hours between doses, and that you do not exceed two doses in a 24-hour period.
  • Most people take bupropion SR for 12 weeks. Your healthcare provider might prescribe bupropion for longer, if needed.

man reading prescription label in his kitchen

  • Bupropion can have side effects:
    • Tell your prescribing healthcare provider about any other medications you may be taking. Certain commonly used medications can increase your chances of serious side effects from bupropion.
    • Be careful when driving or operating machinery until you know how bupropion may affect you. Some people may feel sleepy, dizzy, or have trouble concentrating.
    • If you are taking bupropion and experience hostility, agitation, depression, suicidal thoughts, or changes in how you act that you don’t think are due to quitting smoking, you should stop taking the medicine and talk to your doctor right away. Get emergency medical help if needed.
    • Tell your doctor or other healthcare provider immediately if you have any medical conditions that may cause seizures or are taking any medicines that may increase the risk of seizures. Bupropion may increase this risk.
  • Limit or avoid alcohol during treatment with bupropion. Using alcohol while taking bupropion may increase the risk of certain side effects.
  • Keep out of reach of children and pets. In case of accidental use or ingestion of bupropion, or in case you take too many bupropion tablets in a 24 hours period, contact a Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222) and/or visit an emergency room right away.
  • Learn more about bupropion SR, including side effects and precautions. 
How to Use Bupropion SR to Quit Smoking
Bupropion SR is a prescription medicine approved by the FDA to help people quit smoking. When your doctor prescribes it, they will give you detailed instructions on how to use it. This video offers general instructions on how to use bupropion SR to quit smoking. This video is part of a collaboration with the National Cancer Institute’s Initiative.

For more help using medicines to quit smoking, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW or visit Talk with your healthcare provider about the best medicine for you. Using medicine together with behavioral counseling gives you the best chance of quitting smoking.

Quick bupropion SR tips
bupropion pills

Photo from used with permission of Mayo Clinic; no product endorsement implied.

  • Bupropion SR can be combined with nicotine patches under the care of your doctor or other healthcare provider
  • What if I have trouble sleeping while taking bupropion? Sleep disturbances are a side effect from taking bupropion. To minimize this, you can avoid taking bupropion SR before bed and instead use a schedule where you take it right after waking, and again eight hours later (e.g., in the afternoon, depending on when you wake).
  • For best results, use bupropion as part of a program that includes coaching support. Talk with your healthcare provider and connect with your state tobacco quitline (1-800-QUIT-NOW) for support.
The quit-smoking medicines talked about on this website are approved by the FDA for adults to use to quit cigarettes. If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or younger than 18, you should not use these medicines without talking to your doctor. If you use tobacco products other than cigarettes (like cigars, chew, snuff, hookah, or e-cigarettes), talk to your doctor or other healthcare provider or call the quitline (1-800-QUIT-NOW) to get help with quitting. All the ways to use medicines presented here are reviewed in Smoking Cessation: A Report of the Surgeon General (Chapter 6) [PDF-1.8 MB]. Some of the ways have not been evaluated or approved by the FDA.