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Researchers recommend 'double-whammy' for smokers to increase quit rates

By Nigel Praities

Smokers are more likely to quit if they are prescribed a combination of smoking cessation treatments, according to a large study in primary care.

The study – published in this week's Archives of Internal Medicine – looked at 1,300 smokers attending appointments at primary care clinics and found the combination of bupropion and a nicotine lozenge was the most effective at helping them quit.

At six months, abstinence rates for bupropion plus nicotine lozenge treatment was 30%, and for nicotine patch plus lozenge was 27%.

Patients on monotherapy had significantly lower quit rates at six months - 17% for bupropion, 20% for nicotine lozenges and 18% for nicotine patches.

Lead author Professor Stevens Smith, associate professor of medicine at the University of Wisconsin in the US, said: ‘In this comparative effectiveness study of five tobacco dependence treatments, combination pharmacotherapy significantly increased abstinence compared with monotherapies.'

‘Provision of free cessation medications plus quit line counselling arranged in the primary care setting holds promise for assisting large numbers of smokers to quit.'

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