Anti-depressant drug may help smokers quit
October 3, 1996
Web posted at: 10:00 p.m. EDT
From Correspondent Liz Weiss
PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island (CNN) --
Bupropion, an anti-depressant drug, is now
being studied in treating people who want
to stop smoking. Early results show it may
help smokers get out from under their cloud
Libby Roberts joined the study to give up
her 31-year pack-a-day habit. Previous
attempts to kick the habit always ended in
"I tried with the patch, that lasted for a
year. A year to the day I started again, I
don't know why. I tried hypnosis, that
kind of interfered with work. Tried cold
turkey, that lasted six hours," she said.
So, out of frustration, Roberts joined the
drug study at Miriam Hospital in
Providence, Rhode Island. She will be in
the study for two years, taking provided
medication attending regular counseling
While Bupropion is typically used to treat
depression, earlier studies indicated that
it also eased the symptoms associated with
Miriam Hospital's Dr. Michael Goldstein
said that the drug has the potential to
reduce the chances that a patient will
experience mood swings when they stop
Study subjects at five U.S. centers begin
by taking the medication for seven weeks.
Those who succeed in quitting smoking for
that long move onto the next phase of the
study where they receive either the active
drug or a dummy pill.
"People shouldn't look at any of these
medications, either the patch or the newer
medications that we're testing as panaceas
or cures. They're simply adjuncts or
assists that will help them in supporting
their efforts to quit but they're not the
answer," Goldstein said.
Libby Roberts doesn't know whether she's on
the drug or the placebo, but says the
counseling has helped her overcome the urge
to smoke, especially when she's at the
computer or driving in her car. (17 sec./187K AIFF or WAV sound)
Once researchers test the long-term
effectiveness of this medication, it will
be up to the FDA to decide whether the drug
can be used widely in smoking cessation
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