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Bupropion Sustained Release as a Smoking Cessation Treatment in Remitted Depressed Patients Maintained on Treatment With Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor Antidepressants

J Clin Psychiatry 2001;62(7):503-508

Background: Patients with depressive disorders smoke tobacco more often than the population at large and find quitting more difficult. Furthermore, when they quit smoking, they are more likely to suffer a relapse of depression. We evaluated the addition of bupropion sustained release (SR) for smoking cessation among patients with a history of depressive disorders being maintained in a euthymic state with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants.

Method: Twenty-five adults with DSM-IV major depressive disorder or depressive disorder NOS currently receiving SSRI maintenance treatment and smoking >= 15 cigarettes per day participated in the 9-week study. Bupropion SR, 150 mg/day, was added to SSRI treatment and increased to 300 mg/day. Subjects were counseled on smoking cessation measures and chose a target quit date 2 or 4 weeks after the initiation of bupropion SR. Self-reported smoking status, expired carbon monoxide (CO) measurements, Hamilton Rating Scales for Depression and Anxiety scores, and weight were measured at each visit. Subjects were abstinent if they reported not smoking during the prior 7 days, confirmed with an expired-air CO value of <= 10 ppm.

Results: Eight (32%) of 25 subjects were abstinent after 9 weeks. At 3-month follow-up, 3 subjects remained abstinent, 3 relapsed, and 2 were lost to follow-up. Eleven subjects (44%) were nonresponders, and 6 (24%) dropped out prior to 3 weeks of treatment due to side effects (N = 3) or were lost to follow-up (N = 3). Mean weight gain was approximately 0.5 lb (0.2 kg) for those completing 9 weeks of bupropion SR treatment. During the 9-week study and the 3-month follow-up, there was no evidence of emergent depression in any subject. Four subjects (16%) spontaneously reported an improvement in SSRI-associated sexual dysfunction.

Conclusion: These open data suggest modest effectiveness for and the safety of bupropion SR as a smoking cessation agent in individuals with depression maintained on treatment with SSRIs. Minimal weight gain, lack of emergent depressive episodes, and improvement of SSRI-associated sexual dysfunction are added advantages.