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Developments in pharmacotherapy for tobacco dependence: past, present and future

Jonathan Foulds, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey
Michael B. Steinberg, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey
Jill M. Williams, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey
Douglas M. Ziedonis, University of Massachusetts Medical School

Abstract

In the mid-1970s there were no effective pharmacological treatments for tobacco dependence. The invention of nicotine gum was a major treatment advance and also greatly helped our understanding of the nature of tobacco dependence. There are now eight effective pharmacotherapies (nicotine gum, patch, nasal spray, inhaler, lozenge/tablet, bupropion, nortriptyline and clonidine) available to aid smoking cessation. Other non-nicotine agents that show promise are under investigation, including glucose, rimonabant, selegiline and varenicline. Greater knowledge of the mechanisms of action of the effective non-nicotine agents should lead to better understanding of the nature of tobacco dependence. Future research into optimal treatments should examine long-term combination pharmacotherapy combined with improved psychosocial support that is partly designed to enhance medication compliance. In addition, there is a need for studies designed to evaluate the efficacy of pharmacotherapies in populations such as youth, pregnant smokers and smokers with co-occurring mental health problems.

Suggested Citation

Jonathan Foulds, Michael B. Steinberg, Jill M. Williams, and Douglas M. Ziedonis. "Developments in pharmacotherapy for tobacco dependence: past, present and future" Drug and alcohol review 25.1 (2006).
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/douglas_ziedonis/8