What do I need to know about these drugs?
So far, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved two prescription drugs for smokers.
The CDC estimates that adults who smoke lose an average of 13.7 years off their livesand that's a whopping risk that a chronic smoker should keep in mind when deciding on drugs. That said, all drugs have side effects, and drugs that target the brain can affect your behavior as well as your body.
Nicotine-replacement therapies (NRT)—such as the patch or gum—release small amounts of nicotine into the body while the quitter tries to kick the tobacco habit. There is some evidence that combining an NRT with bupropion is better than using either approach alone. A 1999 study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that bupropion plus the patch boosted a smokers chance of success (at 12 months after quitting) to 35.5%. With the drug alone, the success rate was 30%; with the patch alone, 16%. As for Chantix, the effects of using NRT with varenicline are unknown, and the combination is not recommended.