Dr. Andy

Reflections on medicine and biology among other things

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

"As Treatable as Erectile Dysfunction"

Drug companies are racing to find medicines that will help smokers quit with several in or getting ready for Phase III trials (generally the final trials before approval).

The drugs have different targets (Pfizer's varenicline blocks nicotine craving, Sanofli Aventis's rimonabant blocks the positive feedback smokers get when lighting up, and NicVax actually generates antibodies which block nicotine's action), so combinations might eventually be more efficacious than any one alone.

According to the article, a trial of varenicline showed quit rates of about 50%, versus 33% with buproprion (Zyban) which is currently on the market, apparently at 7 weeks. Of course, as many smokers can tell you, quitting is easy, it's staying away from cigarettes that is hard.

I hope one or more of these workout. Can you imagine how important an effective treatment for smoking would be? How many smokers do you know that wouldn't want to quit? It would be great for health, but a disaster for Social Security.


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