Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Prescription Medicines To Stop Smoking

According to the American Lung Association, diseases related to smoking are directly linked to more than 400,000 deaths in the United States each year. With negative health effects and the cost of maintaining the habit, you may be considering quitting. If so, keep in mind that you aren't alone. Enlist the support of your family and friends and talk to your doctor about your options. Your local pharmacy sells over-the-counter nicotine gums and patches, but you may want to consider a prescription medication to help you stop smoking. If so, you have several options to choose from.

Nicotrol Nasal Spray

Nicotrol NS is a nicotine solution administered as a nasal spray. Used in conjunction with behavioral therapy, Nicotrol NS has been proven to help ease withdrawal symptoms and enhance your chances for long-term success in quitting smoking. The spray is intended to be used for up to three months.

Like most medications, Nicotrol NS has both pros and cons. On the positive side, it provides measured doses of nicotine to your body in order to decrease withdrawal symptoms, reduces the urge to smoke and offers a simple-to-use nasal spray.

On the down side, it may be habit-forming, contains nicotine (which is both addictive and toxic), should be used only when you have discontinued smoking completely, irritates the nasal passages, can exacerbate existing health conditions (including cardiovascular disease, renal or liver disease, ulcers and endocrine disorders) and could interact with other medications.

Nicotrol Inhaler

The Nicotrol Inhaler is another prescription option that contains measured doses of nicotine delivered through an inhaler and is absorbed through the skin, membranes and respiratory tract. It is intended for use at maximum dosages for up to three months, with another three months spent gradually weaning off the medication.

The advantages: The medication is easy to use, as patients inhale measured doses of nicotine and it reduces the urge to smoke along with other withdrawal symptoms.

The disadvantages: The Nicotrol Inhaler should be used as part of a total behavioral therapy program, contains nicotine and could be addictive, could irritate the mouth or throat, can exacerbate existing health conditions (again, including cardiovascular disease, renal or liver disease, ulcers and endocrine disorders) and could interact negatively with other medications.


Zyban is a non-nicotine medication indicated for use in smoking cessation. The active ingredient (bupropion hydrochloride) is the same as that in Wellbutrin (an antidepressant) and works in the brain to help you stop smoking. Given as an oral medication in 150 mg doses and taken as part of a comprehensive cessation program, Zyban has had clinical success in helping people stop smoking and reducing the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal.

Its advantages include the fact that it is an easy-to-take oral medication that does not contain nicotine.

Its disadvantages: Zyban takes approximately one week for the medication to reach therapeutic levels; could interact with other alcohol and other substances; and should not be used by patients who have had---or currently have---an eating disorder, seizures, epilepsy or other serious medical condition.


Chantix is another non-nicotine medication designed to target the nicotine receptors in your brain to block nicotine from reaching them, while also decreasing the amounts of dopamine released from your brain. Clinical studies have shown that Chantix is approximately 14 percent more effective than Zyban.

On the plus side, Chantix is part of an overall support package with behavior support at no extra cost, is an easy-to-use oral medication, contains no nicotine and has been shown to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

On the minus side, Chantix takes approximately one week to reach therapeutic levels, poses some risk of allergic reaction, could interact with alcohol and other substances, counts side effects---including nausea, insomnia, vomiting or gas---among its deterrents and should not be taken by patients who have had an eating disorder, seizures, epilepsy or other serious medical condition.


In July 2009 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced new regulations requiring the manufacturers of Chantix and Zyban to place warning labels on their products that alert patients to possible mental-health side effects. Both medications have been linked to increased thoughts of suicide, behavioral changes, aggression and depression in some patients.

Moreover, consult your doctor if you are pregnant or nursing before beginning these or any medications as each could pose a risk to your fetus or infant.

Be sure to tell your doctor about all medical conditions that you have and every medication that you are taking (including over-the-counter products, herbal supplements and vitamins) to avoid the possibility of serious side effects.

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