The Mumbai-based Sun Pharmaceutical Industries entered the antismoking segment with its "Smoquit" (buproprion 150mg tabs) recently. The medication in Smoquit has been used for over a decade as an antidepressant, albeit at a different dose. The Rs. 13.50-per tablet priced Smoquit, the first pharmacotherapy ever available for the treatment of smoking problem, is a prescription drug and is required to be taken under medical supervision and guidance.
Smoking causes or predisposes a person to a number of diseases such as heart disease, asthma, ulcers, and cancer. According to a WHO study, cigarettes on an average kills one of every two consumers; and by the year 2030, tobacco is likely to account for more deaths than TB and HIV put together.
The medication in Smoquit, buproprion, blocks nicotinic receptors so as to prevent the reuptake of neurotransmitters norepinephrine and dopamine. This sidesteps the problem of the urge to smoke and withdrawal symptoms, which is otherwise a hurdle when a smoker tries to quit smoking.
A study of more than 600 smokers found that use of an antidepressant drug called buproprion was a significant aid in helping subjects stop smoking. The study also found that the drug lessened the problem of weight gain among some study participants.
The patient undergoing this treatment will also require counselling from time to time. While the framework for guiding a patient through the treatment protocol is well established, the exact duration of the treatment needs to be individualized. Smoquit will be backed by an extensive patient education program, which will outline the do's and don'ts at each stage of the smoking cessation therapy.