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Quitting the smoking habit

According to a new study it is observed that antidepressants used to aid people quit smoking are more effective when combined with a psychological program. The down side, researchers add, is neither approach appears// to help people quit and stay quit over the long-term.

Researchers from the University of California, noted better short term and intermittent quit rates among smokers who took either sustained-release bupropion hydrochloride (Zyban) or nortirptyline hydrochloride (a lower-cost generic drug) than those who took a placebo. But, they found, the best quit rates occurred among those who took one of the stop smoking medications and also took part in a counseling program run by internal medicine and psychiatric residents.

The counseling sessions consisted of medical management sessions in which the internal medicine residents reviewed the reasons for prescribing the antidepressants and followed up to see if people were complying with the treatment. Psychiatric residents conducted group sessions covering education on smoking cessation and helped participants develop a personal plan for quitting, which was revised as the year progressed.

Despite intermittent success, however, none of the treatments in the study was able to help people stay off cigarettes consistently for the entire study period. By the one-year follow-up, people taking the medications, either alone or in combination with counseling, were no more likely to have abstained from cigarettes for the whole year than those who took the sham pill. The researchers thereby observe that more effective treatments are needed to assist people give up smoking for good.


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