Zyban Helps Smokers with Lung Disease Quit: Study
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - The anti-depressant bupropion (Zyban) is an effective means to help people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) to quit smoking, according to a new report.
The study, which was funded by the drug's manufacturer GlaxoWellcome, is published in the May 19th issue of The Lancet.
Dr. Don P. Tashkin of the University of California, Los Angeles, and colleagues evaluated 405 patients diagnosed with COPD, which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis. All patients smoked 15 or more cigarettes per day. Half of the participants in the study were given Zyban and the other half were given an inactive placebo. All patients also received counseling to help them quit smoking.
After 6 months of treatment, the researchers found that 16% of the Zyban group were still tobacco free, while only 9% of those taking a placebo had kicked the habit.
``Bupropion is clearly effective as smoking-cessation therapy, but its benefits need to be offset against minor side effects such as insomnia, as well as some of the much more serious side effects similar to those seen with other antidepressants such as a 1 in a 1,000 risk of seizure,'' write Chris Silagy and Neil Formica of the Monash Medical Centre in Melbourne, Australia, in an accompanying editorial.
The editorialists also stress that the ``real questions that remain unanswered'' are how much counseling patients need to ensure that Zyban helps them, and how the drug compares with other nicotine-replacement therapies such as the nicotine patch or nicotine gum.