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Combination Therapies Prove Best to Help Smokers Quit

Study finds one in five smokers is serious about giving up tobacco

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Combination pharmacotherapies offered in the primary care setting are more effective than monotherapies in helping smokers quit, according to a study published in the Dec. 14/28 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Stevens S. Smith, Ph.D., of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison, and colleagues conducted a study of 1,346 primary care patients attending 12 primary care clinics (out of a total 7,128 smokers) who were randomized to one of the following five smoking cessation therapies: nicotine patch, nicotine lozenge, and bupropion hydrochloride sustained release (each as a monotherapy); a combination of patch and lozenge; or a combination of bupropion sustained release and lozenge. All patients were also offered telephone counseling.

After six months the researchers found the abstinence rates to be 16.8 percent for bupropion, 19.9 percent for nicotine lozenge, and 17.7 percent for patch. However, the patch and lozenge combination had a 26.9 percent six-month abstinence rate, and the rate was 29.9 percent for bupropion and lozenge combined.

"One in five smokers attending a routine primary care appointment was willing to make a serious quit attempt that included evidence-based counseling and medication," the authors write. "Provision of free cessation medication plus quit line counseling arranged in the primary care setting holds promise for assisting large numbers of smokers to quit."

The medication was provided by GlaxoSmithKline. Several authors reported financial relationships with the pharmaceutical industry.

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