(Ivanhoe Newswire) – Doctors who really want to help their patients
kick the habit need to get aggressive.
That’s the take home message from two studies on smoking cessation. The
first involved 750 people who smoked at least 10 cigarettes a day.
Researchers randomized the smokers to three groups: one received a nicotine
patch or bupropion, a drug to ease withdrawal symptoms; a second received
one of the stop smoking aides plus up to two phone calls from counselors
trained to help people quit; the third received a stop smoking aide plus
three phone calls.
People assigned to the most intensive treatment – a stop smoking aide plus
three phone calls from a counselor – were the most likely to quit smoking
over the two year study.
The second study was conducted among 127 smokers with cardiovascular
disease, COPD, or other chronic conditions. They were randomized to either a
nicotine patch for ten weeks or the patch plus a nicotine inhaler and
bupropion for as long as needed.
Again, quit rates were significantly better for people who received the more
aggressive treatment, 35 percent at six months versus 19 percent.
The author of the first study, Edward Ellerbeck, M.D., from the University
of Kansas, was quoted as saying, “We found that smokers are willing to make
repeated medically-assisted attempts at quitting smoking, resulting in
progressively greater smoking abstinence.” He believes this suggests the
need to take a disease management approach to smoking cessation. “Physicians
should talk to their patients continually about quitting, and should
facilitate access to a smoking cessation medication.”
Investigators from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey,
Robert Wood Johnson Medical School conducted the second study. They note
patients in their study were already suffering the ill effects of smoking
and people with these conditions are likely to be highly addicted to
“Our trial demonstrates that intensive treatment with a triple combination
of medications could work well for them,” study author Michael B. Steinberg,
M.D., M.P.H., was quoted as saying.
SOURCE: Archives of Internal Medicine, published online April 6, 2009