One systematic review shows how nicotine patches can double the odds of successful quitting. Another concludes that the antidepressants bupropion and nortriptyline aid long-term smoking cessation, but selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (e.g. fluoxetine) do not.
Yet another revealed that varenicline (recently approved in the UK by NICE), increased the odds of successful long-term smoking cessation more than threefold compared with pharmacologically unassisted quit attempts.
Ever since Sir Richard Doll and others used careful analysis to show that smoking was a key cause of cancer, there has been pressure to find ways of reducing dependency on tobacco. Richard Doll's work also showed the importance of putting critical analysis and high quality research at the heart of good decision making.
"With changes in the law providing fresh impetus for smokers to quit, the catalogue of reviews in The Cochrane Library is a great source of the knowledge needed by people wanting to make well informed decisions. The reviews provide reliable evidence on the strengths and weaknesses of many different types of therapy.
They should help guide policy-makers who are looking for ways to increase the chances that people who want to stop smoking succeed in putting their cigarettes down for good," says Director of the UK Cochrane Centre, Professor Mike Clarke from the University of Oxford.