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 drug to help with withdrawal, Zyban ®, could not be accused of such sexism.

Tobacco use increased significantly among women during the last decades. Now, close to a French four smokes. The problem of weaning arises even more often cigarette married poorly with a desire for pregnancy. Unfortunately studies conducted to evaluate the effects of Nicotinic substitutes seemed to indicate failures and more frequent relapse in women.


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

More than a third of abstinent after 52 weeks
American researchers ** tested this drug to 784 persons registered in centres of withdrawal aid. All were treated for seven weeks. At the end of this first phase, more than half had quit smoking. After drawing lots, 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 smoking. After 52 weeks, they were still 37% and 36.4% to not smoke in the bupropion group, and 36.6% and 29.9% in the placebo group. After two years, the rate of withdrawal were similar in men and women, and the median time of relapse (32 weeks on bupropion, 20 weeks under placebo). The extension of the bupropion treatment is appeared favorable for the prevention of relapse.

A relative efficiency
This drug provides a new pharmacological means to facilitate the withdrawal and reduce the risk of resumption of tobacco, particularly among women. However, it is important to note that relapse are, again, very frequent. It is clear that more than prescription of a miracle cure, it is the motivation that remains the key to a successful withdrawal.