The Stop Smoking Pill

Adding to the options of how to quit smoking, there is now a pill. First, there was the nicotine patch and nicotine gum, and recently the anti-smoking pill was developed. By now, there are plenty of brands for this pill to choose from. Studies show that one in five people using the pill quit smoking; soon after the FDA approved the drug to be set out in the market. This particular one is known as a Pfizer drug called Varenicline. It was the second nicotine free drug to be approved by the FDA (Pfizer Inc has decided to market the drug as Chantix). There are two ways that the Chantix works, it cuts the cravings for smoking and it also helps to reduce the symptoms caused by withdrawal. The withdrawal symptoms alone could cause people to begin smoking again.

Other ways to Quit Smoking

The other stop smoking aids out there vary from nicotine replacement therapies, patch, gum, nasal spray and inhalers. There is even one called Zyban that was created for depressed people that has worked to help cure the cravings for nicotine. In Europe, there was a study conducted with about 2,000 smokers. The smokers had gone a year with initial treatment with varenicline and the abstinence rates were 22 per cent vs. Zyban's 16 percent. Eight per cent of those who received dummy medications stopped smoking. The Chantix treatment takes 12 weeks and can be doubled for those who have successfully quit, which helps to decrease chances of a relapse (recommendation by the FDA).

There were other clinical studies that show that Chantix works even better when in the short term. Forty-four per cent of the patients who were trying to quit smoking followed the 12 week program with Chantix while Zyban only had 30 per cent of their patients quit smoking. Varenicline works because it connects to the same receptors of the brain as nicotine when you inhale cigarette smoke; and when this happens an action that leads to the release of dopamine within the pleasure part of the brain. The drug blocks any nicotine that is inhaled and stops it from reinforcing its effect.

The release of dopamine is also reduced with the varenicline drug. This reduces the craving for cigarettes, which occurs after the nicotine wears off; thus shielding you from withdrawal symptoms and cravings while protecting you from the highs of nicotine effects. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 45 million people smoke and that out of that number 32 million people would like to quit. Approximately 440,000 people are killed each year in America by cigarette smoking.

Quitting is Difficult

Trying to quit smoking is very difficult. One in 20 people actually quit without help and with help one in five people are cured (whether it is with drug, therapy or both aids). There are currently vaccines in the works that will block nicotine from ever getting into the brain. It is recommended that Chantix is not used with other non-smoking aids. Its most common side effect is nausea.