Medication May Boost Smokers’ Chances of Quitting

By Staff Writer

Environmental cues that have been associated with drug abuse can jeopardize the relapse prevention efforts of any recovering addict, particularly those who are trying to stay tobacco free. However, a new study has found that medications can help addicts avoid these memory-associated cravings.

Researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles found that the medication bupropion can reduce a recovering smoker’s urges to light up, even when they are put in situations that they have come to associate with tobacco.

For the study, researchers assigned a group of smokers to receive either a placebo or bupropion for a period of eight weeks. The participants were then given MRI brain scans as they viewed images that cue cravings in most smokers.

The researchers found that the participants who had been given bupropion showed less activity in areas of the brain commonly associated with cravings. Additionally, the participants reported feeling less urge to smoke during the study.

The researchers said that their findings show that recovery from smoking addiction is possible when individuals are given effective relapse prevention tools.