What prescription products are available for smoking cessation?
There are products for cessation of smoking that are available by prescription only. Nicotine for nicotine replacement therapy is available by prescription as an inhaler or nasal spray (Nicotrol Inhaler and Nicotrol NS).These other forms of delivery of nicotine seem to work as well as the nicotine patches or gum. Prescription nicotine replacement products are more expensive than over-the-counter products.
Varenicline (Chantix) is a prescription drug approved by the U.S. FDA to help adults quit smoking. Chantix does not contain nicotine, but is believed to act on the same receptors (the sites where nicotine acts to produce its effects) in the brain as nicotine, resulting in activation (stimulation) of these receptors and blocking the ability of nicotine to attach to these receptors. Chantix should be taken seven days prior to the date an individual desires to quit smoking, and most people will keep taking Chantix for up to 12 weeks.
Side effects of the Chantix may include:
- constipation, and
- changes in dreaming.
Chantix is not appropriate for use by pregnant and breast-feeding women and people with certain chronic medical conditions.
Bupropion (Zyban) is a medication that is used primarily for treating depression. This drug, however, also has been found to be effective in helping people to quit smoking, and has been approved by the U.S. FDA for use in smoking cessation in adults.
Other agents that have been tried for cessation of smoking include serotonin reuptake antagonists (drugs also used for depression) and the anti-hypertensive drugs clonidine (Catapres) and calcium channel blockers. Although these agents appear to be less effective than nicotine replacement therapy, they may be effective for some people.