Wisconsin – Researchers from the University Of Wisconsin compared 3 of the most popular methods to quit smoking currently available in the market. As a result of their investigation, published Tuesday in JAMA, they found that the effectiveness of nicotine patches, patches plus lozenges, and the quit-smoking drug Chantix have very similar success rates.
The research was conducted on 1,086 smokers willing to stop the habit. The participants were divided into 3 different randomized groups to participate in the trial from May 2012, to November 2015. 241 volunteers were given only the patch; 424 were given varenicline; and the remaining 424 were given C-NRT, which is the combination of a nicotine patch and lozenge.
Subjects were asked to report their success rates after 6 and 12-month intro trial. Then, the investigators verified the presence of carbon monoxide in their system. The results did not find any substantial differences between the groups.
20.8% of patch wearers were certified clean of smoking in the past seven days compared to 19.1% of the subjects who took varenicline, and 20.2%of people on C-NRT. In other words, about one in five smokers were smoke-free a year later no matter which method they tried.
“The results suggest that the widely available, simple-to-use nicotine patch can produce long-term smoking cessation rates that are similar to those produced by more intense treatments,” said lead study author Timothy Baker.
All the treatments were well tolerated, but smokers who took varenicline had the higher reports of side effects. About 29% of people reported nausea, 23% reported vivid dreams and 22% said they experienced insomnia.
The results come as a surprise to the researchers because it differs from previous research that had found varenicline was more effective that other cessation treatments. The investigators even concluded that the results raised questions about the relative effectiveness of intense smoking pharmacotherapies.