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    Psoriasis Drug Still Looks Good for Quitting Smoking

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    Blocking the enzyme might allow the use of nicotine pills rather than the nicotine patches, gums, or inhalers that are currently being used. Absorption of nicotine when taken orally is very small, so this has prevented the development of effective oral treatments. The Toronto researchers hope that Oxsoralen might increase the anount of nicotine in the body when it is taken orally, enough to make it an option for nicotine replacement therapy.

    Safety remains a major concern, since Oxsoralen has not been proven safe for long-term use in humans. Tyndale tells WebMD that one of four NIDA-funded studies the group is designing will examine the safety of Oxsoralen at doses of 10 mg or less. The usual dose for short-term use of Oxsoralen in treatment of psoriasis is 20 mg to 40 mg. The other three studies will look at longer use of the Oxsoralen/nicotine combination, at Oxsoralen's effects by itself on smoking cessation after several weeks of using it, and at whether Oxsoralen/nicotine improves long-term smoking cessation rates.

    Vocci tells WebMD that he thinks adding Oxsoralen to nicotine replacement therapy might help more smokers take the first step, but he doubts that this alone will increase long-term abstinence rates, which range from 5% to 10% in smokers who quit 'cold turkey' to 30 % to 40% in those who quit using nicotine replacement and group behavior therapy.

    Vocci says that smokers need to watch out for four things that contribute to high relapse rates:

    • Depression
    • Stress
    • Smoking 'just that one' cigarette once you've quit
    • Being around things that remind you of smoking

    All of these could lead you back down the path to the dreaded habit, he says.

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