Quitting Smoking May Be All in the Genes
THURSDAY, Nov. 14 (HealthScoutNews) -- If you're a smoker with a specific genetic variant, you may be more susceptible to cigarette cravings and relapse when you try to quit smoking.
That's the finding of a study in the November issue of Pharmacogenetics.
The study also found the antidepressant bupropion may lessen the effects of this genetic variation, especially in women.
Researchers at the Tobacco Use Research Center of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine examined 426 smokers taking part in a clinical trial of bupropion for smoking cessation.
The smokers stopped smoking and were given either bupropion or a placebo along with seven sessions of behavioral group counseling. The participants' smoking status, cigarette cravings and side effects were recorded weekly. Their smoking status was checked again at the end of the treatment session, and six months later.
The study found that smokers with a decreased activity variant of the CYP2B6 gene reported greater increases in cigarette cravings after they quit and were about 1.5 times more likely to start smoking again during the treatment phase of the study.
Previous research found the enzyme produced by the CYP2B6 gene affects both nictoine metabolism and bupropion metabolism.
The study also found preliminary evidence that bupropion may help smokers, especially women, to counter the effects of the decreased activity variant of the CYP2B6 gene.
The study found that 54 percent of the women with the variant who were treated with bupropion were still non-smokers at the end of the treatment, compared to 19 percent of the women with the variant who received a placebo.