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Nicotine Patch Plus Lozenge Best for Quitting Smoking
Date:11/2/2009

This research was funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health. Medication was provided free by drug maker GlaxoSmithKline. Several of the study authors reported financial ties to different pharmaceutical companies.

For this study, 1,504 adults who had smoked at least half a pack a day for the past six months and wanted to quit were randomly assigned to a placebo or one of five different quit-smoking interventions: nicotine lozenge, nicotine patch, bupropion (Wellbutrin, an antidepressant), nicotine patch plus nicotine lozenge, and bupropion plus nicotine lozenge. All groups received six individual counseling sessions with a case manager.

The nicotine patch, which has been available for more than two decades, is currently the most widely used pharmacotherapy to help people quit smoking.

However, only the combination of the nicotine patch and the lozenge performed significantly better than placebo six months after the person smoked their last cigarette, the team found.

People taking the patch-lozenge combination were also more likely to have sworn off cigarettes after one week and were more likely to have attained one full day without smoking, the researchers said.

The 40 percent (at six months) success rate reported here will decline as time goes on, Whiteson noted. He added, however, that in the smoking cessation arena, "even the 30 percent range is very good."

Another expert said the study raised some key concerns. "The question is, how many of them had to continue on the lozenge in order to stay off cigarettes? I always tell people not to do the lozenge alone because it mimics the very thing that smoking does, which gives you a spike. Then, when you reach a trough, you pick up a lozenge -- or cigarette," said Dr. Len Horovitz, a pulmonary specialist with Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. "Once they stopped everything, could they do without the spikes and troughs [of the lozenge], which mimic
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