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Weight Counseling Plus Drug Helps Women Quit Smoking

When shedding pounds is an issue, combo treatment found to boost success

TUESDAY, March 23 (HealthDay News) -- Behavioral therapy with a focus on weight-counseling combined with the smoking-cessation medicine bupropion (Zyban) is more effective than standard counseling alone in helping women quit smoking, according to a new study.

The research, published March 22 in Archives of Internal Medicine, included 349 female smokers who were concerned about their weight. The women were randomly divided into four groups. One group participated in a cognitive behavioral therapy program focused on weight gain issues and took bupropion, and a second group had the same counseling but took a placebo. The third group took bupropion while undergoing counseling without a focus on weight gain, and the fourth group had standard counseling and took a placebo.

Overall, 31.8 percent of the women in the study had quit smoking at three months, 21.8 percent at six months, and 16.3 percent at one year. Among the women who received weight counseling, those who took bupropion were more likely than those taking a placebo to have quit at three months (40.6 percent versus 18.4 percent), six months (34 percent versus 11.5 percent) and one year (23.6 percent versus 8.1 percent).

The researchers, from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, also found that the women who took bupropion took longer to start smoking again after quitting -- a median of 266 days, compared with 46 days.

Among the women who received standard counseling, bupropion did not appear to improve quit rates or time to relapse.

"Future research should focus on possible mechanisms to explain the efficacy of this specialized counseling plus bupropion therapy and address issues related to the practicality of wider dissemination of the specialized counseling intervention for weight-concerned women smokers," the researchers concluded.

The drug maker GlaxoSmithKline provided the drugs and placebos used in the study.

More information

The U.S. National Women's Health Information Center offers tips for quitting smoking.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: JAMA/Archives journals, news release, March 22, 2010

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