What’s the Best Treatment for Tobacco Addiction?

Photo credit: Bigstockphoto
Photo credit: Bigstockphoto

Giving up tobacco is a challenging undertaking for most people. Some people are able to quit smoking cold turkey, but most people need a little help when it comes to kicking the habit. What’s really the best remedy for smoking addiction? According to a new study, the best treatment may be a combination of a nicotine patch and nicotine lozenge.

Treatment for Tobacco Addiction: The Study

According to this study, published in Archives of General Psychiatry, the combination of nicotine patch and nicotine lozenges beat out five other treatments for tobacco addiction including the use of prescription medications such as Zyban.

The researchers tested six different combinations of smoking cessation treatments on 1504 smoking adults to see which one fared best as a treatment for tobacco addiction. The different treatments included:

Nicotine patch + nicotine lozenge
Zyban sustained release
Nicotine lozenge only
Nicotine patch only
Zyban sustained release + nicotine lozenge
Nicotine patch + nicotine lozenge

The results? Good results were achieved with the Zyban plus nicotine lozenge as well as with the nicotine patch and lozenge combination, but only the nicotine patch and lozenge combination proved effective long term as a remedy for smoking. In fact, the group who received the nicotine patch and lozenge had a forty percent success rate at six months. The nicotine patch when used alone fared better than the lozenge, but both were inferior to the combination.

Is It the Best Remedy for Smoking Cessation?

Why was the combination of nicotine patch and lozenge such an effective treatment for tobacco addiction? Researchers believe the two may compliment one another. The nicotine patch provides enough nicotine to reduce withdrawal symptoms, while the lozenge can be used as needed to reduce sporadic cigarette cravings. The lozenge has an advantage over nicotine gum in that the nicotine release is more controlled which helps to keep blood levels steady. Most people find the nicotine lozenge to be as satisfying as the gum in terms of taste.

Is the Combination Safe?

What about the safety and side effects of the nicotine patch and lozenge combination? In this study, only 0.2 percent of the people withdrew from the study due to side effects. The most common side effects with the nicotine patch are dizziness, lightheadedness, and nausea. The lozenge can cause nausea, mouth and throat irritation, as well as insomnia.

Nicotine Patch and Lozenge as Treatment for Tobacco Addiction: The Bottom Line?

If you’ve tried to quit smoking without success, talk to your doctor about using this combination treatment. It looks safe and effective.

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