Chantix Helps Smokers Kick Habit
2 Studies Show New Drug 3 Times as Effective as Placebo
Studies Show Efficacy of Chantix continued...
The Chantix courses were for six weeks, plus an additional week of placebo. The Zyban and placebo courses were for seven weeks.
The four-week continuous quit rates for the various treatments were:
- 48% for 1 mg Chantix twice daily
- 37% for 1 mg Chantix daily
- 33% for Zyban
- 17% for the placebo
Long-term quit rates at one year were 14% for the group that received 1 milligram twice daily of Chantix, vs. 5% for the placebo, the study showed.
In a related study by the same researchers, 647 smokers were divided into four test groups that received Chantix for 12 weeks, as well as a placebo group. Two of the test groups took 0.5 milligrams Chantix twice a day; the other two received 1 milligram twice a day.
At the end of a year, quit rates were 22% among the smokers who took 1 milligram of Chantix twice a day, 19% for those who took 0.5 milligrams of Chantix twice a day, and 4% in the placebo group.
The main side effect, nausea, was reduced if doses started low and were increased over time.
Time to Quit Is Now
"This is a highly effective treatment for nicotine dependence and it shows superior efficacy compared with [Zyban]," Bankole A. Johnson, DSc, MD, PhD, tells WebMD. Johnson, a professor of psychiatry and neuroscience at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, wrote an editorial accompanying the new studies.
"The side effect profile is tolerable and it represents a new way forward because all the other drugs out there are simply trying to replace nicotine," he says.
"Over the last decade there have been new treatments that move away from nicotine replacement, and in the next several years we will likely see a nicotine vaccine, which will be very promising," according to Johnson.
The bottom line is that "there are treatments that are available now that are excellent, [so] don't delay seeking treatment," Johnson says.
Westman adds that "having another medication or pill will definitely be advantageous, but we do not have enough information to know for whom [Chantix] will be better, work in, or not work in."
"I don't know where it will fit," says Westman, "but I think most people will still try nicotine replacement first and then try [this drug]."