Studies have shown that smokers who use pharmacological help are about twice as likely to quit as those who do not use any help. A holistic approach, combining over-the-counter and over-the-counter medications, is most promising combination.
Remember, however, that motivation is a key element of success. ” smoker must initially want to quit, get motivated and get ready. medication is an addition to help him feel less withdrawal symptoms and help him learn to live without tobacco, “says Dr. Michèle Tremblay, INSPQ.
1. Nicotine replacement products.
They are sold under brands Thrive, Nicorette, Habitrol and Nicoderm, and offered in various forms: transdermal patches, chewing gums, lozenges, sublingual tablets, nasal spray and inhaler. Their main advantage? “They are not addictive and do not contain the 4,800 substances potentially harmful to health in cigarettes,” notes Dr. Tremblay.
Before choosing, ask a pharmacist to guide you for dosage, which varies according to your weight and cigarettes number to replace. He can explain each product contraindications; for example, patches may not be appropriate in cases of skin disorders and gum is not indicated for those with severe oral diseases. Pharmacists are able to ensure that treatment does not interfere with medication.
A treatment usually lasts eight to 12 weeks, but it can be extended up to six months if necessary. Nicotine aids are reimbursed by public and private drug plans, provided you obtain an order from a doctor or pharmacist who, under a collective prescription, has right to prescribe this type of medication. . Only inhaler is not reimbursed because it costs more than other products without additional benefits.
2. “Non-Nicotine” Drugs.
two products that fall into this category are reimbursed by public and private drug plans. Since they carry risk of serious side effects, including depression, they are prescription-based and require close monitoring.
– Sustained-release bupropion ¬ (Zyban) is an antidepressant whose antitabacco properties have been discovered by chance. Its mode of action is not yet well understood, but it could act on the reward brain system and thus on dependence.
Considered as an exceptional drug by the Régie de l’as¬su¬rance disease of Quebec, the Zyban is only covered under certain conditions. Treatment should last from seven to 12 weeks, but it can stretch for six months in cases of heavy dependence. This medication may be combined with nicotine replacement therapy if the doctor deems it appropriate.
– The other option is varenicline (Champix). Developed specifically to treat tobacco addiction, it works by depriving smoker of pleasant sensation caused by nicotine. Among all pharmacological treatments, “varenicline would have highest success rate,” says Dr. Tremblay. Treatment lasts 12 to 24 weeks. Given its mode of action, Champix does not benefit from being used in combination with nicotine substitutes.