Study: Smoking cessation products effective

June 3, 2013

Nicotine replacement therapy, the antidepressant bupropion, and the drug varenicline can help smokers quit, according to a new systematic review published in The Cochrane Library.

Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), the antidepressant bupropion, and the drug varenicline can help smokers quit, according to a new systematic review published in The Cochrane Library.

Additionally, the review found that cytisine, licensed for smoking cessation in Russia, holds potential as an effective and affordable treatment.

Researchers from the University of Oxford, Oxford, U.K., conducted the review. They collected evidence from 267 studies that had taken place between 2008 and 2012 and involved 101,804 people. The studies examined licensed and unlicensed smoking cessation products, comparing them against each other and placebos. A smoking cessation attempt was considered successful if a person stopped smoking for 6 months or longer.

The review found that the odds of a smoker quitting were 80% higher with one of the NRTs or bupropion than with placebo, and two to three times higher with varenicline versus placebo. Varenicline was about 50% more effective than any single NRT formulation, such as patches, gum, sprays, lozenges, and inhalers. However, combining two of the NRTs was equally effective as varenicline.

“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, Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford.

The review also found that cytisine improved a smoker’s chances of quitting four-fold.