Nicotine lozenge and patch combined help to quit smoking faster

No matter how many times you try, quitting smoking is never easy. But new research shows that the nicotine patch combined with a nicotine lozenge is the most effective method of kicking the habit.

In a comparison of five different products aimed at quitting smoking, which included using the nicotine lozenge alone, the nicotine patch alone, or Zyban, an antidepressant also marketed as Wellbutrin, alone or in combination with the lozenge, two combined methods proved better than one.

"If you combine these different types of nicotine replacement you're going to get the best bang for your buck," said Megan E. Pipera, assistant professor at the Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention at the University of Wisconsin who led the research.

When compared with a placebo, all of the smoking cessation treatments showed some effectiveness, but the patch and the lozenge together had the highest likelihood of continued success, i.e., total abstinence from smoking after six months.

The tests also showed that people taking the patch-lozenge combination were more likely to have given up cigarettes after only a week and  have attained a full day without smoking more rapidly.

The nicotine patch has been on the market for over 20 years and is currently the most widely used pharmacotherapy used for quitting smoking.

Because the lozenge mimics the nicotine boost associated with smoking, the researchers said that used alone, it is unlikely to be effective because it could encourage cravings.

The report appears in the November issue of Archives of General Psychiatry.

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