Smoking Cessation Easier if Drugs Are Taken Before Quitting

People who begin taking smoking cessation drugs several weeks before they plan to quit are more likely to stay tobacco-free, a new study from the University at Buffalo Roswell Park Cancer Institute has found. According to the New Kerala, the small clinical trial found that people who took Chantix for four weeks prior to their quit date were more likely to have success in their efforts to stop smoking.

This is opposed to study participants who took Chantix for just one week prior to quitting, as the standard therapy instructs, New Kerala said.   

Led by Larry Hawk, the research team studied 35 women and 25 men from western New York who smoked a pack of cigarettes every day. The participants were an average of 48-years-old and were randomly chosen to begin taking Chantix either one or four weeks before the chosen quit date. After the quit date, all members of the study continued taking the smoking cessation drug for 11 more weeks.

Besides some mild nausea, patients who took Chantix earlier were more likely to quit smoking without severe symptoms than were patients who took the drug later.

“[Chantix] was designed to make smoking less rewarding, and our data suggests that it does better when people take it for a few extra weeks before quitting,” Hawk said of his team’s findings.

Women were especially more likely to quit smoking while taking Chantix earlier, New Kerala noted.  On average, they reduced their smoking by more than 50 percent just three weeks after treatment. Men who took Chantix earlier reduced their smoking by 26 percent.

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