In one of the first "recycling"
studies to examine people who attempt to quit smoking after first failing
medical treatment, researchers at Oregon Health Sciences University and their
colleagues found abstinence rates five times greater for participants taking
bupropion compared to participants taking a placebo. Study results were
presented at 12 p.m. on 24 March 2001, at the Society for Research on
Nicotine and Tobacco Annual Meeting in Seattle.
"Patients often feel discouraged following treatment with medications such
as bupropion or nicotine patches if they are unable to successfully quit
smoking," said David Gonzales, Ph.D., director of the OHSU Smoking Cessation
Center and lead author of the study results. "However, evidence-based options
for patients in this situation have been few. This is the first study to show
that smokers can be retreated with bupropion successfully."
Bupropion, marketed in sustained release form as Zyban, is a nicotine-free
prescription medication designed to reduce nicotine cravings and other
symptoms normally associated with nicotine withdrawal. The multicenter study
involved 450 adult cigarette smokers who averaged 15 cigarettes per day prior
to the study, and who had been unable to quit or had relapsed after a previous
course of bupropion. Study participants were randomly selected to receive
bupropion SR or a placebo.
Typically, people who attempt to quit smoking on their own experience 5
percent to 7 percent success rates, while smokers who try bupropion a first
time generally enjoy a better-than-30 percent long-term success rate. In this
study, smokers re-treated with the drug had a 27 percent abstinence rate after
seven weeks, compared to 5 percent abstinence for the placebo group. At 12
weeks, 20 percent of smokers being re-treated were still smoke free compared
to three percent of the subjects in the placebo group.
Zyban is marketed by GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals.