The approved effective medications to help you stop smoking fall into
two categories — nicotine replacement therapy and non-nicotine
medications. Using one of these medications generally doubles your
chances of quitting. The best-tested treatment available to help you
stop smoking is based on psychological support in addition to
Combining medications with follow-up visits to your doctor for support
and counseling is usually more successful than if you try to stop on
your own. If you've tried a medication on your own but haven't been
successful in quitting, talk to your doctor about it. He or she can help
you move in the right direction by adjusting the dose of your
medication, recommending a different medication, or using a combination
of medications. Quitting smoking is possible, even though it may take
more than a few tries.
Nicotine replacement therapyMost
nicotine replacement products are available over-the-counter:
(Nicoderm CQ, Nicotrol, Habitrol).The
patch delivers nicotine through your skin and into your bloodstream.
You wear a new patch each day on your upper body. The treatment
period may last for 6 or 10 weeks. Don't be in a hurry to stop using
the patch, especially if you've stopped smoking or dramatically
reduced your smoking. If you haven't been able to stop smoking
completely after the first week or so of treatment, ask your doctor
for help in adjusting the dose of the patch or adding another
medication. Nicoderm CQ and Nicotrol are available over-the-counter;
Habitrol is available by prescription.
Nicotine gum (Nicorette).
This gum-like resin
delivers nicotine to your blood through the lining of your mouth.
It's available in a 2-milligram dose for regular smokers (24
cigarettes or less daily) and a 4-milligram dose for heavy smokers
(25 cigarettes or more daily). You usually chew 10 to 15 pieces a
day, and the treatment period generally lasts about 12 weeks.
This tablet dissolves in your mouth and, like nicotine gum, delivers
nicotine through the lining of your mouth. The lozenges are also
available in 2- and 4-milligram doses.
These nicotine replacement products are available by prescription:
spray (Nicotrol NS).The
nicotine in this product, sprayed directly into each nostril, is
absorbed through your nasal membranes into veins, transported to
your heart and then sent to your brain. It's a quicker delivery
system than the gum or patch.
inhaler (Nicotrol inhaler).This
device looks something like a cigarette holder. You puff on it, and
it gives off nicotine vapors in your mouth. You absorb the nicotine
through the lining in your mouth, where it then enters your
bloodstream and goes to your brain, relieving withdrawal symptoms.
antidepressant drug bupropion, which doesn't contain nicotine, increases
the level of dopamine, the chemical that's also boosted by nicotine, in
your brain. As with many medications, bupropion (Wellbutrin, Zyban) has
side effects, including sleep disturbance, headache and dry mouth. If
you have a history of seizures or serious head trauma, such as a skull
fracture, don't use this drug. Another antidepressant that may help is
nortriptyline (Aventyl, Pamelor).
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