Alternatives to quit smoking

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.


Side effects


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.


As per the report of the U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, the relative effectiveness of one course of Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) was constant over many years. It is interesting to know that most of the relapse occurs after 12 months but within the 1st or 2nd year and is not detectable. After that time, there are permanent effects of NRT on smoking cessation. Though, early relapse after one year has the effect of declining the numbers of ex-smokers that may be ultimately associated with NRT.


Success Story of Leena


Leena also used nicotine replacement therapy for her daughter. She was able to quit smoking cigarettes for her. Counseling also helped her in achieving this goal. When asked what would she tell somebody that wanted to stop smoking? She said that she would like to tell them that you're going to fail sometimes. You have to fail in life to succeed.


She also tells her daughter this all the time that she has to fail to find the perfect way to do it right. She has been smoke-free for 2-1/2 years now and feels like she is in control of her life now. Cigarettes are no longer controlling her and she feels free.


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