Archive for Sunday, August 6, 2006

New drug adds method to stop smoking

August 6, 2006

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— Something new, Dr. Thomas Cariveau said, is what it sometimes takes to give a smoker the confidence to quit.

Cariveau works part time as a medical investigator at PRACS Institute, which has studied the side effects of Chantix, a new smoking cessation pill produced by the drug company Pfizer that will be available by prescription this month.

The new drug reduces cravings for nicotine by allowing a small amount of dopamine, the brain chemical that makes smoking pleasurable, to constantly be released into the brain.

It also blocks the effect of nicotine on a brain receptor, which stops the nicotine from releasing more dopamine in the brain.

Chantix has been compared to Antabuse, the drug that makes alcoholics sick when they drink, Cariveau said, because about 30 percent of those tested with the drug became nauseated.

Cariveau said when participants became nauseated it was usually because they were still smoking.

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