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Ask the Medical Expert Archives 2000-2004

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Zyban and the Nicotine Patch
April 2000

Q. I tried Zyban to help me quit smoking in the past, but relapsed after 10 days due to intense cigarette cravings and anxiety. I smoke 2 packs per day. Could I also use the nicotine patch?

A. Yes. The studies with Zyban are mixed as far as alleviating nicotine withdrawal symptoms. One trial showed it did, but the other did not. Also, the comparative trial showed that Zyban plus the nicotine patch achieved a trend toward higher success rates than Zyban or the nicotine patch alone. Especially since you are a heavier smoker, I think it would be very reasonable to use both Zyban and the 21 mg nicotine patch. Again, as above, the Zyban should be started 1 to 2 weeks before your quit date, then begin the nicotine patch on your quit date, instead of smoking!

In your case, I would use the 21 mg patch for 6 weeks, then wean down to 14 mg for two weeks, then the 7 mg patch for the last 2 weeks. As above, I would enroll in ZAP and follow up with a smoking cessation program or your personal physician.

For more info: http://www.glaxowellcome.com/