Quit smoking treatment
Quitting cigarettes through willpower alone is tough. Fortunately, there are plenty of quit smoking options to assist you in overcoming your addiction. Some, such as nicotine replacement therapy pills, patches, gum, inhalers and sprays, are easily obtainable and as such are often the most popular options, despite their statistically low success rates.
In contrast, quit smoking medications such as Champix and Zyban require a prescription before treatment can begin, but they are known to be more effective in the long term for those attempting to stop smoking permanently. You can find more detail about these various methods below.
If you're unsure what method to choose, taking an online consultation may help you to find the most suitable quit smoking treatment for you.
Dr Hilary Jones discusses the various smoking cessation methods
Champix and Zyban are prescription quit smoking medications that work to simultaneously lessen the desire to smoke and erase withdrawal symptoms. Of the two oral drug medications, Champix tablets have shown in tests to be a more effective quit smoking treatment. It's also available to a wider group of patients, as Zyban may not be suitable to take if you are suffering from diabetes.
A standard 12-week treatment of Champix is often prescribed, which carries a 50% success rate. Some users who still feel the urge to smoke may need to continue the treatment for a further 12 weeks to ensure nicotine cravings have completely disappeared. The success rate of the 24-week quit smoking treatment is 70%.
Success rate and side effects
In a recent UK study, seven methods of quit smoking treatment were tested amongst a group of participants over a six month period. The combination of Champix tablets and behavioural support emerged as the most effective treatment, above nicotine replacement therapy and support alone. Of all over the counter and prescription medications, Champix is the most capable of preventing nicotine cravings and relapses.
Prescription treatments have been known to cause nausea, although this symptom is rarely severe and will improve as treatment continues. Some users have reported headaches and tiredness when taking NRT.
Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT)
NRT works by suppressing nicotine cravings. Each form of these quit smoking treatments steadily release nicotine into your bloodstream, but at much lower levels than in a cigarette. This method gives the body nicotine without exposing it to the many toxic chemicals present in smoke. It is sold as:
- Transdermal patches, which stick to your skin and release nicotine for either 16 hours or 24 hours
- Chewing gum, usually containing either 2mg or 4mg of nicotine
- Inhalators, through which nicotine is inhaled
- Tablets and lozenges, which are placed under your tongue
- Nasal spray, which passes nicotine through the lining of your nose
Success rate and side effects
People using NRT to quit smoking are twice as likely to stay smoke free as those who give up by sheer will power alone. However, the success rate is still quite low, at 17%. Most courses of NRT last eight to 12 weeks before the dose is steadily decreased and eventually stopped. Most smokers stop using NRT altogether within three months, although heavy smokers may require longer treatment. Side effects may occur when taking NRT to quit smoking, which include:
- Upset stomach
- Skin irritation (from using patches)
- Discomfort and irritation of nose, throat or eyes (from using a nasal spray)
For people who choose not to use quit smoking medication, individual counselling or group sessions can be an effective way to help you give up. You can learn useful, practical tips on how to overcome cravings and when to set that all-important quit smoking date. You may also find that joining a group offers extra encouragement to quit smoking because you can pass on this valuable, first-hand information with others who are also trying to give up.
Buying prescription quit smoking medication online
Before we can recommend a suitable method of treatment to take, an online consultation should be completed. The consultation is a short process which costs only a few minutes of your time. Our doctor will ask you for your medical history to determine whether you can take a particular quit smoking medication. But don't worry, all information you share with us remains confidential.