May 16, 1997 in Nation/World

Anti-Smoking Pill Approved By Fda

Compiled From Wire Services

Smokers trying to kick the habit now can pop a pill to help: The government approved the first nicotine-free anti-smoking drug Thursday, one that works in the brain at the source of addiction.

Zyban is a prescription anti-depressant that can curb the cravings and withdrawal symptoms smokers face when they quit.

And for hard-core smokers, doctors can try dealing the addiction a one-two punch by combining Zyban with nicotine patches, said manufacturer Glaxo Wellcome Inc. and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Zyban actually is a new name for the older anti-depressant Wellbutrin-SR - renamed to distinguish its psychiatric use and because the anti-smoking version comes with a special tobacco counseling program. It will be available within eight weeks.

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