Patch or Pill? For Some Smokers It’s the Pill, Others the Patch, New Research Will Allow Doctors to Choose the Best Option For You

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Smoking is quite possibly one of the most difficult habits to kick. Smokers often take cues throughout the day and night that lead them to lighting up. For instance smoking after a meal, in the morning with their coffee, at a bar with a drink in hand and, of course, after sex. With a variety of ways to quit nowadays, it comes as a surprise to many that new research believes there are different types of smokers and thus different ways to help them quit. The one-size-fits all approach may soon become obsolete now that researchers believe there are two main types of smokers, and knowing this they believe they are getting much closer to being able to formulate a quitting strategy to fit an individual smoker’s needs. This new science boils down to how smokers bodies handle the nicotine that comes from their cigarette. In a study published in the journal Lancet Respiratory Medicine, scientists compared quit rates among smokers who were put on a nicotine-replacement patch compared to those given the smoking-cessation drug Champix. Their research is being based on how a smoker metabolizes nicotine in the liver. By using a biomarker called the nicotine metabolite ratio (NMR) 60% of smokers are normalized metabolizers while the rest are “slow metabolizers”.

“We’ve shown that it is possible to optimize quit rates for smokers, while minimizing side-effects, by selecting treatment based on whether people break down nicotine slowly or normally,” said Rachel Tyndale, head of pharmacogenetics at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, who co-led the Canadian-U.S. study.
Normal metabolizers tend to smoke more cigarettes per day and find it harder to butt out because nicotine is eliminated from their bodies much quicker, leading to a shorter duration between cravings for another tobacco rush, she said. Their slower-metabolizing counterparts tend to maintain a steadier level of nicotine throughout the day and are less sensitive to smoking cues like seeing a cigarette pack, she said, often making it easier to quit.

Researchers found that normal metabolizers were more than twice as likely to stay off smokes after 11 weeks of taking Champix compared to those on the patch, both by the end of treatment and after six months’ followup. Almost 39 per cent taking the medication were still not smoking after treatment, compared to about 23 per cent of those on the patch.

These results are very interesting and could have the potential to help a lot of smokers who desire to quit, and it should be noted that some people have found quitting smoking is equal to or harder than quitting a much more powerful substance like heroin or cocaine. With ongoing research like this, smokers have a very good chance of being able to quit when the time comes which will end up saving many lives from the nasty effects and diseases that smoking leads to. When doctors eventually arm themselves with information like this they will possess the knowledge they need to treat a smoker the best way they can instead of trying a variety of options, which can take valuable time and possibly discourage the smoker trying to quit. Smoking is a difficult addiction to deal with, therefore any new and proven information and strategies to help people quit will be a godsend to those desperately trying to quit.



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Sobriety Foundation

Patch or Pill? For Some Smokers It’s the Pill, Others the Patch, New Research Will Allow Doctors to Choose the Best Option For You

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