Medications to Stop Smoking: Do they work?

Blog Post created by dr_hurt on Feb 25, 2011

There are seven medications that have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as first-line medications to help people to stop smoking: five nicotine replacement medications including the nicotine patch, gum, lozenge, inhaler, and nasal spray, and two non-nicotine medications, varenicline (Chantix) and bupropion (Zyban).

Many studies have found that these medications are safe and effective.  A type of study that has been used to determine the effectiveness of these medications is called a ‘double blind, placebo controlled’ study.  In this study design the medication is tested along with a non-active ‘placebo’.  The medication and placebo are administered so that neither the researcher nor the person who has volunteered to participate in the study knew whether the volunteer is getting the real medication or the placebo.  These studies have consistently shown that more people quit smoking using the real medications compared with people using the placebo. 

Because the stop smoking medications have been proven to help, the Centers for Disease Control recommends that medications be provided for any quit attempt unless there is a specific contraindication against taking the medication.  Of course, medications may have side effects and you should talk with your health-care provider if you have specific questions about medications for quitting smoking  But please keep in mind that no product on the market causes anywhere near the illness and death that are caused by smoking cigarettes. 

Talk with your health-care provider for more information.  You can also learn more about these medications by visiting the BecomeAnEX.org site under “Do the EX Plan”  and “Re-learn Addiction”.   Put these proven tools to work for you.