How about other ways? Is medication a better way or a safer way and how does that fit into smoking cessation? Let’s know these answers.
Well, there’s no doubt that the most evidence in smoking cessation is pharmacologic therapy. There are three big categories or three big drugs.
Nicotine replacement therapy gives you nicotine in the form of patches, gum, or lozenges. There is Bupropion also known as Wellbutrin or Zyban. There is also Varenicline which is also known as Chantix. Those are the three big buckets when we're talking about pharmacologic therapy and smoking cessation.
In addition to these, counseling is very helpful so if we add counseling to any of those three pharmacotherapies, we have higher success rates. But that's typically what we look at when we're thinking about starting somebody on pharmacotherapy.
There are also questions about side effects that might be associated. Is it just a kind of withdrawal from your normal nicotine intake or what might people going through when they are trying to stop smoking?
As far as varenicline is concerned, they should have no withdrawal at all. Varenicline binds to the nicotine receptor four times as effective as nicotine itself. So they don't have any withdrawals.
One of the noticeable things was insomnia. Nausea is probably the most common adverse effect of Varenicline. There are also some GI side effects and some very vivid dreams. They don't describe it as nightmares but very lifelike dreams.
There's been some news about Varenicline regarding suicidality. If patients do report some psychiatric symptoms or they don't feel like themselves then that’s a medication that needs to be reconsidered.