March 18, 2015
Extended Early Use of Bupropion Helps Smokers Quit

Buffalo, NY—Smokers who are having problems quitting using the drug bupropion might not need to try a new medication, they might just need an adjustment in their course of treatment.

That’s according to a new study, published online by the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research, suggesting that extended use of bupropion prior to a quit attempt reduces smoking during the prequit period and improves short-term abstinence rates.

While the usual course of treatment begins with patients starting the medication 1 week prior to quitting, this study extended that period to 4 weeks, and divided 95 subjects who smoked at least 15 cigarettes a day into two groups—one on the standard dosing for 1 week before quitting and another taking bupropion for 4 weeks before quitting—according to the authors from the University of Buffalo and Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

Both groups received group behavioral counseling and 7 weeks of postquit bupropion.
Lead author Larry W. Hawk, Jr., PhD, of the University at Buffalo said that “we can make a lot of gains by paying more attention to making the treatments we already have work better.”

Noting that understanding the mechanisms by which bupropion promotes smoking cessation could lead to more effective treatment, the study hypothesized that a longer duration of prequit bupropion treatment should be expected to promote extinction of smoking behavior.

Study results indicate that extending the use of bupropion prior to quitting reduced smoking during that period without increasing craving or withdrawal. Overall, 53% of subjects in the extended group remained smoke-free 30 days after quitting, compared to 31% in the standard treatment group.

“Without any new smoking cessation drugs close to approval, this appears to be a promising strategy to enhance the effectiveness of existing medications, such as bupropion, which are proven to aid in quitting smoking,” added co-author Martin Mahoney, MD, PhD, professor of oncology at Roswell Park Cancer Institute. “Stopping smoking represents the most important lifestyle change that a smoker can make and it is important to remember that it is never too late to quit.”
U.S. Pharmacist Social Connect