The Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics
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Safety of Smoking Cessation Drugs

The most effective drugs available for treatment of tobacco dependence are bupropion (Zyban, and others) and varenicline (Chantix).1 The FDA recently ordered the manufacturers of both to add boxed warnings about the risk of psychiatric symptoms and suicide to their prescribing information (FDA Alert, 7/1/2009).

BUPROPION — In one randomized, double-blind trial, smoking cessation rates after 6 months were 35% with bupropion alone and 39% with bupropion plus nicotine.2 The drug’s most common adverse effects have been insomnia and dry mouth; weight gain with bupropion has been less than with placebo.

VARENICLINE — Varenicline is now generally considered the most effective drug available for treatment of tobacco dependence.3 In one 6-month maintenance study, among patients who had quit smoking after 12 weeks ... more      

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