To Help Smokers Quit, Extend Bupropion Beforehand

March 5, 2015
Meghan Ross, Associate Editor

Taking an antidepressant used in smoking cessation for an extended period of time prior to quitting may help smokers achieve their goal.

Taking an antidepressant used in smoking cessation for an extended period of time prior to quitting may help smokers achieve their goal.

Researchers found that a longer duration of bupropion use led to reduced smoking during the pre-quit time period and also improved short-term smoking abstinence rates.

Their study, which was recently published in Nicotine and Tobacco Research, included 95 smokers randomly assigned to either 3 weeks of placebo and 1 week of bupropion before smoking cessation, or a 4-week, pre-quit bupropion regimen. Both clusters underwent group behavioral counseling during these 4 weeks, and after quitting, they both received bupropion for 7 additional weeks.

The researchers examined the individuals’ smoking rates, cravings, withdrawal, and other effects on a daily basis prior to smoking cessation. Cotinine and carbon monoxide data were also collected.

The results showed that the 47 individuals who took bupropion for 4 weeks prior to quitting saw a decrease in their smoking rates compared with their counterparts. In addition, women in the 4-week bupropion group saw a drop in their cravings and salivary cotinine concentrations. Men in the 4-week bupropion group also saw a decrease in their cigarette cravings.

Continuous smoking abstinence rates were higher in the group that took bupropion for a longer time period (53%) compared with those who only received bupropion for 1 week (31%).

“The data are consistent with an extinction-of-reinforcement model and support further investigation of extended run-in bupropion therapy for smoking cessation,” the study authors concluded.

Another recent study published in JAMA found that varenicline (Chantix) was more effective at reducing smoking habits at the 24-week mark than placebo among patients who were willing to reduce the amount of tobacco they smoked over a 3-month period.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 16 million Americans have a disease caused by smoking, and current projections show that more than 8 million people could die annually from tobacco use by 2030.