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Current and emerging pharmacotherapies for cessation of tobacco smoking

journal contribution
posted on 2018-02-01, 00:00 authored by N Gómez-Coronado, Adam WalkerAdam Walker, Michael BerkMichael Berk, Seetal DoddSeetal Dodd
Tobacco use disorder is a chronic illness. With its high comorbidity rate, it is a major cause of years of life lost or years lived with disability; however, it is also considered the most preventable cause of death in developed countries. Since the development of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) in 1978, treatment options have continued to evolve and expand. Despite this, currently available treatments remain insufficient, with less than 25% of smokers remaining abstinent 1 year after treatment. In this article, we review existing and emerging smoking cessation pharmacotherapies, with a special emphasis on the most promising agents that are currently being investigated. A search of the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews and the PubMed, Ovid, and databases (August 2 to September 1, 2017) was undertaken for articles on smoking cessation pharmacotherapies, applying no language restrictions. More than 40 pharmacotherapies were reviewed including conventional pharmacotherapies-NRT, bupropion, and varenicline (all approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as first-line treatment of smoking cessation)-and novel therapies: cytisine, N-acetylcysteine, cycloserine, memantine, baclofen, topiramate, galantamine, and bromocriptine. Studies of combination NRT and varenicline showed the greatest smoking cessation rates. Clonidine and nortriptyline are second-line treatments used when first-line treatments fail or are contraindicated, or by patient preference. Some novel therapies, especially acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, cytisine, and N-acetylcysteine, display promising results. Because the results of randomized clinical trials were reported using varied end points and outcome measures, direct comparisons between different pharmacotherapies cannot easily be evaluated. Additional high-quality randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trials with long-term follow-up, using validated sustained abstinence measures, are needed to find more effective smoking cessation aids.









235 - 258


John Wiley & Sons


Chichester, Eng.





Publication classification

C Journal article; C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2017, Pharmacotherapy Publications, Inc.