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New Drug Trebles Odds to Stop Smoking

A widely respected evidence-based analysis of the new anti-smoking drug varenicline, shows that the medication can improve the odds of a person quitting smoking by three-fold. Varenicline is the first new anti-smoking drug in the last ten years, and only the third, after NRT and bupropion, to be licensed in the USA for smoking cessation, states the Cochrane Review.

People become addicted to smoking tobacco partly because nicotine in the smoke stimulates receptors in the nervous system that cause a release of the feel-good hormone dopamine. Varenicline partially stimulates these nicotine receptors and enables a low-level release of dopamine, which reduces withdrawal symptoms. It also partially blocks nicotine from being absorbed by the receptors, making continued smoking less satisfying. This reduces a person’s need to smoke, and may help them to quit completely.

This conclusion was drawn by a group of Cochrane researchers after they studied data from six trials that compared the effects of giving people either varenicline or a placebo. Together the trials involved 2451 people on varenicline and 2473 people on placebos.

Pooling the data showed that people taking varenicline increased their odds of quitting approximately three-fold for 12 months or longer compared with those on placebo drugs .

Data from some of the trials also showed that people given varenicline increased their odds of quitting more than 1½-fold compared with those given bupropion, an antidepressant drug that roughly doubles a person’s chance of stopping smoking (see: next press release.)

“What we need now are some trials that make direct comparisons between varenicline and nicotine replacement therapy” says Lead Review Author Kate Cahill, who works in the Department of Primary Health Care at Oxford University.

Source: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

New Drug Trebles Odds to Stop Smoking

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). New Drug Trebles Odds to Stop Smoking. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 20, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2007/01/24/new-drug-trebles-odds-to-stop-smoking/570.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.