Combination pharmacotherapy for stopping smoking: what advantages does it offer?

Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, Minnesota 55905, USA.
Drugs (Impact Factor: 4.13). 04/2010; 70(6):643-50. DOI: 10.2165/11536100-000000000-00000
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Globally, tobacco kills almost 5 million people around the world annually. Seven first-line pharmacotherapies are currently available and recommended by the United States Public Health Service (USPHS) clinical practice guideline for treating tobacco dependence, all of which have been proven to be effective for increasing tobacco abstinence rates when used as monotherapy. However, not all smokers are able to quit with single-drug therapy. Some smokers may benefit from combination therapy that includes the simultaneous use of different nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs) or medications with different mechanisms of action (e.g. NRT and bupropion). Combination therapy with different types of NRT may provide a therapeutic advantage by increasing serum nicotine concentrations, and combination therapy with different drugs may capitalize on synergy obtained from two different mechanisms of action. However, controversy exists regarding this approach. Available data suggests that combination therapy may increase abstinence rates compared with monotherapy. However, the cost effectiveness of this approach has not been clearly demonstrated.

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Combination pharmacotherapy for smoking cessation has been shown to be more effective than monotherapy in meta-analyses. We address the question of whether combination pharmacotherapy should be used routinely with smokers or if some types of smokers show little or no benefit from combination pharmacotherapy versus monotherapy. Two smoking cessation trials were conducted using the same assessments and medications (bupropion, nicotine lozenge, nicotine patch, bupropion + lozenge, and patch + lozenge). Participants were smokers presenting either to primary care clinics in southeastern Wisconsin for medical treatment (Effectiveness trial, N = 1,346) or volunteering for smoking cessation treatment at smoking cessation clinics in Madison and Milwaukee, WI (Efficacy trial, N = 1,504). For each trial, decision tree analyses identified variables predicting outcome from combination pharmacotherapy versus monotherapy at the end of treatment (smoking 8 weeks after the target quit day). All smokers tended to benefit from combination pharmacotherapy except those low in nicotine dependence (longer latency to smoke in the morning as per item 1 of the Fagerström Test of Nicotine Dependence) who also lived with a spouse or partner who smoked. Combination pharmacotherapy was generally more effective than monotherapy among smokers, but one group of smokers, those who were low in nicotine dependence and who lived with a smoking spouse, did not show greater benefit from using combination pharmacotherapy. Use of monotherapy with these smokers might be justified considering the expense and side effects of combination pharmacotherapy.
    Nicotine & Tobacco Research 12/2011; 14(2):131-41. DOI:10.1093/ntr/ntr147 · 2.81 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Smoking is the leading preventable cause of morbidity and mortality in the US, and decreasing smoking prevalence is a public health priority. Patients achieve the greatest success when quit attempts involve behavioral therapy combined with pharmacotherapy. Varenicline is the most recent addition to the pharmacotherapeutic armamentarium for the treatment of tobacco dependence. Varenicline is efficacious and cost-effective. Smoking relapse and adverse treatment-related side effects may decrease medication adherence and patient satisfaction with varenicline. In the clinical setting, varenicline treatment can be optimized by reducing doses in patients who experience intolerable side effects, increasing the dose in partial responders, and providing long-term maintenance therapy for relapse prevention.
    Patient Preference and Adherence 10/2010; 4:355-62. · 1.49 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Promoting smoking cessation is among the key medical interventions aimed at reducing worldwide morbidity and mortality in this century. Both behavioural counselling and pharmacotherapy have been shown to significantly increase long-term abstinence rates, and combining the two treatment modalities is recommended. This article provides an update on pharmacotherapy for smoking cessation in the general population. Current first-line agents used to support quit attempts are nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), bupropion and varenicline. Research suggests that abstinence rates can be increased by combining different forms of NRT or simultaneously administering NRT and non-nicotine medications. New treatments targeting the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor as well as other pathophysiological pathways involved in nicotine addiction are being developed, with nicotine vaccines now being tested in phase III clinical trials. Among the numerous research topics currently addressed, pharmacogenetics and tailoring therapy to specific groups of smokers look most promising. However, substantial progress is unlikely to be made unless social gradients impeding effective treatment of all smokers are overcome. In addition, public smoking bans and reimbursement of medication costs are crucial in reducing the future burden of disease caused by smoking on a global level.
    CNS Drugs 05/2011; 25(5):371-82. DOI:10.2165/11590620-000000000-00000 · 4.38 Impact Factor


Available from