Question

Dependency Agent

What medications are used to treat a nicotine addiction?

A Answers (4)

  • AMichael Roizen, MD, Internal Medicine, answered
    There are 2 major classes of medications used to treat nicotine addiction.  Dopamine receptor blockers, and anticraving pills, which seem to decrease the effectiveness of dopamine stimulation and take away cravings.  In addition to those, patches, lozenges, gum that all contain nicotine, are also very helpful.  We often combine the anti-craving pill, bupropion with nicotine patches and support group, or the dopamine receptor antagonist, Chantix, or Varenicline, are often used combined with support groups or a buddy system, plus exercise of 30 minutes of walking a day, plus after a week, weightlifting as well, to help people quit.

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  • AStacy Wiegman, PharmD, Pharmacy, answered
    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved several prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications to treat nicotine addiction. These include bupropion (Wellbutrin or Zyban) and varenicline tartrate (Chantix), as well as nicotine replacement products that come in the form of gum, patches, nasal sprays and lozenges.

    Other products such as fluoxetine (Prozac) and buspirone (Buspar) are sometimes prescribed to treat nicotine addiction, but they have not been approved for this purpose by the FDA. Studies suggest that with treatment, 25% to 33% of smokers can quit for at least six months. A combination of treatments, and getting counseling or joining a support group can increase your chances of success.
  • Talk with your dentist about products that are available to help wean you off nicotine. Adults can buy over-the-counter nicotine replacement products, including skin patches, lozenges and chewing gum. Your dentist may be able to prescribe another delivery method, such as a nasal spray or an inhaler. Prescription medicines also are available that do not deliver nicotine but still help reduce cravings. Any product you choose can have adverse effects, so talk with your dentist about the approach that makes the most sense for you.
  • AKelly Traver, Internal Medicine, answered
    There are nicotine replacement treatments (patches and gums) and even inhaling devices and nasal sprays. There are also temporary medications that can increase your odds of getting off nicotine. They work partly by replenishing dopamine levels in your brain so that you don't experience such big withdrawal symptoms. Talk to your doctor about what is available. Start a good exercise program. Exercise drives up your dopamine levels, which crash temporarily when you stop smoking. Focus on healthy nutrition. Stress management techniques and adequate amounts of sleep will also help. Smoking cessation is the best thing you can do to get healthier.
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Are there over-the-counter medications for nicotine addiction?