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Meds work to stop smoking

Kristen Fischer is a copywriter, author and journalist based in New Jersey. She is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and host on the monthly podcast, Freelance Radio. Learn more about Kristen at www.kristenfischer.com.

Patches, pills help smokers quit

A review of medical studies suggests that some medicines are successful at helping smokers kick the habit.

Woman breaking a cigarette

Quitting smoking is a little easier—and more effective—thanks to medical intervention.

According to a recent review of 267 studies published in the Cochrane Library, smoking cessation medications on the market are quite effective.

Three medications in the US and Europe are licensed to help smokers nix the bad habit. They are nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs) such as nicotine patches, gums and inhalers; the antidepressant bupropion; and the drug varenicline. Each of the options help curb the brain’s addiction to nicotine.

In the report, all of the drugs improved the odds that smokers could successfully quit smoking. In fact, participants in the studies were 80 percent more likely to quit when using an NRT option or taking bupropion as compared to smokers who took a placebo. Smokers who used varenicline and an NRT were two to three times more likely to successfully quit.

“This review provides strong evidence that the three main treatments, nicotine replacement therapy, bupropion and varenicline, can all help people to stop smoking,” said lead researcher Kate Cahill of the University of Oxford's Department of Primary Care Health Sciences.

In Russia and Eastern Europe, a smoking cessation drug called cytisine is another option on the market that researchers commented on in the review.

“Although cytisine is not currently licensed for smoking cessation in most of the world, these data suggest it has potential as an effective and affordable therapy,” Cahill said.

Keep picking up cigs? Maybe it's time to try a medication to help you quit for good.

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