Says a new research on female smokers worried about their weight, a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy addressing weight concerns and the medication bupropion may boost their chances of quitting.
Michele D. Levine, of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and colleagues conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial with 349 women smokers who were concerned about their weight.
Of these, 106 were assigned to take the smoking cessation medication bupropion and also participate in CONCERNS, a cognitive behavioral therapy program focusing on weight gain issues.
An additional 87 participated in CONCERNS while taking placebo, 89 received counseling without a weight gain focus while taking bupropion and 67 underwent standard counseling while taking placebo.
Participants took medications for six months and participated in counseling for three months.
Overall, 31.8 percent of women abstained from smoking for three months, 21.8 percent after six months and 16.3 percent after 12 months.
Bupropion improved abstinence rates among women receiving the CONCERNS intervention; those taking active medication were more likely than those taking placebo to have quit at three months (40.6 percent vs. 18.4 percent), six months (34 percent vs. 11.5 percent) and 12 months (23.6 percent vs. 8.1 percent).
They were also slower to relapse, with a median or midpoint of 266 days vs. 46 days to relapse.
However, bupropion did not appear to improve quit rates or time to relapse among those receiving standard counseling, the authors found.
In addition, there were no differences among women who quit in either average weight gain or their level of concern about weight gain.
"Future research should focus on possible mechanisms to explain the efficacy of this specialized counseling plus bupropion therapy and address issues related to the practicality of wider dissemination of the specialized counseling intervention for weight-concerned women smokers," the authors said.
The study has been published in the March 22 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.