SAN DIEGO More smokers with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease quit smoking using an anti-smoking drug from Pfizer than those taking placebo, according to results of a recent study.
The 12-week study, presented at the annual scientific assembly of the American College of Chest Physicians, showed that 42.3% of smokers with mild or moderate COPD using Chantix (varenicline) quit smoking and were able to stay away from tobacco during the last four weeks of treatment, compared with 8.8% of those taking placebo.
“Quitting smoking is of paramount importance for all smokers, particularly those with a smoking-related illness such as COPD,” University of California Los Angeles emeritis professor of medicine and study investigator Donald Tashkin said in a statement. “This study shows that varenicline is an effective means of smoking cessation for a highly nicotine-dependent, difficult-to-treat group of patients.”
Up to half of smokers may develop COPD, an illness that includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema and affects more than 12 million Americans, according to the American Lung Association.
Though studies have shown Chantix to be effective in patients trying to quite smoking, the Food and Drug Administration in July required it and GlaxoSmithKline’s Zyban (bupropion) to carry Boxed Warnings, the strongest warning the agency can require, to highlight the risks of depression, suicidal thoughts, hostility and behavior changes in patients taking them, while the Federal Aviation Administration banned its use by pilots and air traffic controllers in May 2008.