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Popular Smoking Cessation Treatments Safe and Effective, Review Finds

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Nicotine replacement therapy and antidepressants are safe and effective in helping people quit smoking, a review of studies concludes.

Researchers looked at 12 reviews of studies of smoking cessation products. The reviews included data from 267 studies, with a total of more than 101,000 smokers. The studies looked at smoking cessation products such as nicotine gum and patches, as well as prescription drugs, such as varenicline (Chantix) and bupropion (Zyban or Wellbutrin), Reuters reports.

The researchers found nicotine replacement therapies and bupropion helped 18 people quit smoking for every 10 people who quit without any treatment. Varenicline allowed 28 people to quit for every 10 who did so without medication.

The researchers report in The Cochrane Library that the treatments appear to be reasonably safe. Although previous studies have linked varenicline with health problems including an increased risk of a heart attack or stroke for smokers without a history of heart disease, the new review did not find evidence of an increased risk. “Further research may be warranted into the safety of varenicline,” lead researcher Kate Cahill of the University of Oxford said in a news release.

Previous research has suggested bupropion triggers occasional seizures, but the new review did not find an increased risk of seizures in people who took the slow-release version of the drug.

“This review provides strong evidence that the three main treatments, nicotine replacement therapy, bupropion and varenicline, can all help people to stop smoking,” Cahill said.

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