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NAQC Newsroom: Research

Does Extended Pre Quit Bupropion Aid in Extinguishing Smoking Behavior?

Tuesday, December 1, 2015  
Posted by: Natalia Gromov
Larry W. Hawk Jr. PhD, Rebecca L. Ashare PhD, Jessica D. Rhodes PhD, Jason A. Oliver MA, Kenneth Michael Cummings PhD, MPH, Martin C. Mahoney MD, PhD
Does Extended Pre Quit Bupropion Aid in Extinguishing Smoking Behavior?
Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 2015, 1377–1384 doi:10.1093/ntr/ntu347
Understanding the mechanisms by which bupropion promotes smoking cessation may lead to more effective treatment. To the extent that reduced smoking reinforcement is one such mechanism, a longer duration of pre quit bupropion treatment should promote extinction of smoking behavior. We evaluated whether 4 weeks of pre quit bupropion (extended run-in) results in greater pre quit reductions in smoking rate and cotinine and, secondarily, greater short-term abstinence, than standard 1 week of pre quit bupropion (standard run-in). Adult smokers (n = 95; 48 females) were randomized to a standard run-in group (n = 48; 3-week placebo, then 1-week bupropion pre quit) or an extended run-in group (4-week pre quit bupropion; n = 47). Both groups received group behavioral counseling and 7 weeks of post quit bupropion. Smoking rate (and craving, withdrawal, and subjective effects) was collected daily during the pre quit period; biochemical data (cotinine and carbon monoxide) were collected at study visits.

During the pre quit period, the extended run-in group exhibited a greater decrease in smoking rate, compared to the standard run-in group, interaction p = .03. Cigarette craving and salivary cotinine followed a similar pattern, though the latter was evident only among women. Biochemically verified 4-week continuous abstinence rates were higher in the extended run-in group (53%) than the standard run-in group (31%), p= .033. The extended use of bupropion prior to a quit attempt reduces smoking behavior during the pre quit period and improved short-term abstinence rates. The data are consistent with an extinction-of-reinforcement model and support further investigation of extended run-in bupropion therapy for smoking cessation.

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