No Clear Winner Seen Among Stop-Smoking Aids
Whether you use the nicotine patch, lozenges or Chantix, strong desire to quit is key, experts say
By Steven Reinberg
TUESDAY, Jan. 26, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- If you're trying to quit smoking, using the nicotine patch, the drug Chantix, or a combination of the patch and lozenges all appear to work equally well, researchers report.
"To our surprise, all three treatments were essentially identical," said lead author Dr. Michael Fiore, director of the University of Wisconsin Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention in Madison.
Results of the three approaches did not differ significantly at either six months or a year, the investigators found. At six months, the quit rate was 23 percent for the patch, 24 percent for Chantix, and 27 percent for the combination of patch and lozenges. At a year, the quit rate was 21 percent, 19 percent and 20 percent, respectively, the findings showed.
In the past, Chantix (varenicline) or the combination of the nicotine patch and nicotine lozenges were shown in studies to be more effective than the patch alone, he said. "But no one had compared them," Fiore explained.
Although the reasons why the treatments worked equally well aren't known, wanting to quit smoking has a strong effect, Fiore suggested.
"A person's desire to quit is really powerful," Fiore said. "The treatments are important and boost quit rates, but that in no way discounts the incredibly powerful influence of a person's commitment to change their behavior -- particularly a behavior so dangerous as smoking is," he said.
The report was published Jan. 26 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Patricia Folan is director of the Center for Tobacco Control at Northwell Health, in Great Neck, N.Y. She said, "When a smoker tries to quit, there are many factors that influence their decision to try to quit, and their ability to stay quit."
Reasons people quit include doctor's advice, family pressure, the impact of smoking bans, the cost of smoking, and anti-tobacco ads. In addition, not smoking again depends on motivation, support, level of comfort and use of cessation medications, she said.
"While studies have demonstrated that cessation medications are an important factor in quitting, a comprehensive approach to quitting is often necessary for success," Folan added.