Smokers: more an excuse to stop!

The nicotine patches would be perhaps less effective in women who wish to stop smoking than men. But the new medication to support cessation, Zyban ®, could not be accused of such sexism.

Smoking was significantly increased in women over the past decades. Now, nearly one French in four smokes. The withdrawal problem even more often cigarette blends badly with a desire for pregnancy. Unfortunately studies conducted to evaluate the effects of the nicotine seemed to indicate failures and more frequent relapse among women.

Stop smoking

Is it same with Zyban (bupropion), recently marketed drug as an aid to smoking cessation? Also having antidepressant properties, it might soothe irritability and depressive symptoms often mentioned by women as the source of their relapse.

More than a third of abstinent after 52 weeks
U.S. researchers * have tested this drug with 784 registrants in weaning assistance centres. All were treated for seven weeks. At the end of this first phase, more than half had stopped smoking. After the draw, half have continued to receive the drug for 45 weeks, while the other received a placebo.

The results appeared equivalent in both sexes. After seven weeks, 61.8% of males and 55.6% of women had not resumed cigarette. After 52 weeks, they were still 37% and 36.4% do not smoke in the bupropion group, and 36.6% and 29.9% in the placebo group. After two years, withdrawal rates were similar among men and women, as well as the median time of relapse (32 weeks on bupropion, 20 weeks on placebo). The extension of treatment with bupropion is appeared favourable for the prevention of relapse.

A relative efficiency
This drug offers a new pharmacological way to facilitate weaning and reduce the risk of resumption of tobacco, particularly among women. Nevertheless, it is important to note that relapses are, again, very common. It is clear that more than prescription of a miracle cure, it is motivation that remains the key to a successful withdrawal.