A comparative study on two popular smoking cessation drugs combined with intensive counseling was led by Paul Cinciripini, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Behavioral Science at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, and reveals an increased probability of quitting and a less unpleasant smoking cessation experience among smokers taking varenicline compared to those on bupropion and to those receiving a placebo.
Some of the unpleasant tobacco withdrawal symptoms reported during smoking cessation include drowsiness, mood lability, and intense cravings, making quitting extremely difficult for chronic smokers and thereby increasing the risk of relapsing. Cinciripini believes that minimizing these withdrawal symptoms could greatly help smokers who are trying to quit, or smokers who have not been successful in trying to quit.
The study was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and sampled 294 smokers, randomized into three groups. All participants received smoking cessation counseling from QuitRx alongside their corresponding anti-smoking medication or placebo. The findings showed that varenicline was more effective in minimizing depressive symptoms, cravings, and was even able to eliminate the psychological reward or pleasure gained from smoking.
According to Eurekalert:
“It is evident from the findings that varenicline is hitting many more affective targets, in comparison to bupropion or placebo, and there is a distinct benefit of these effects on cessation even among those who do not fully abstain,” said Cinciripini.
For more information, this study is available in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.