Anti Smoking Drugs

Smoking is a social stigma which has affected the lives of a lot of people around the world. It is recreational drug use in which tobacco is inhaled and then exhaled out. It not only damages the lungs of smokers but also produces suffocation in the people living besides smokers. It is difficult to give up smoking with counselling only. These days’ new innovations have been employed in the form of Anti-Smoking agents for getting rid of the harmful and injurious habit of smoking.

ANTI SMOKING AGENTS are the medicines available in the market which helps in quitting smoking. These agents not only reduce craving for tobacco but also reduces the smoking withdrawal symptoms. Varenicline was the first anti-smoking agent which was launched by Pfizer. It was approved by US FDA in 2006 under the brand name Chantix and by European regulators under the brand name of Champix. Chantix is a non-nicotine medicine. It blocks nicotine receptors and prevents nicotine to reach over there.

FDA (Food Drug and Administration) has approved five agents for smoking cessation:

1. Nicotine gum
2. Transdermal nicotine patches
4. Nicotine nasal spray
5. Nicotine inhaler
6. Sustained release bupropion hydrochloride 


Nicotine gum, transdermal nicotine patches and nicotine nasal spray are nicotine replacement preparations (NRT).

This therapy aids in quitting by reducing the intensity of nicotine withdrawal symptoms, which allows patients to focus on the behavioral and psychological aspects of smoking. The onset of action of NRT is not as rapid as that of nicotine obtained through smoking. The adverse effects of smoking do not appear earlier in NRT than conventional forms of tobacco like a cigarette, beedi, and cigar.

Sustained released bupropion hydrochloride is marketed under the trade name Zyban. It is an anti-depressant which very effective in quitting smoking and minimizing the withdrawal symptoms. It acts on central nervous system and increases the concentration of neurotransmitters dopamine, serotonin and nor epinephrine by preventing their uptake Thereby reducing the craving for nicotine and dependency on smoking.

Mechanism of action of Anti-Smoking Agents

Anti-Smoking agents causes partial stimulation of nicotine receptors in the brain. It helps in reducing symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. They also inhibit the attachment of nicotine to nicotine receptors, thereby making smoking less satisfying and thus reducing the craving.

Drugs which are available in market as Anti-Smoking Agents are:

1. Varenicline (Chantix/ Champix)
2. Bupropion (Zyban)
3. Nicotine polacrilex gum 


Nortryptyline (anti-depressant) and Clonidine (anti-hypertensive) are the effective anti-smoking agents but they are not yet approved by FDA as the anti-smoking agents. These are known as “Off label” drugs. Clomidine is available in the form of pills whereas nortryptyline is available in the form of pills as well as a topical patch.

Chantix/Champix, Zyban and Nicotine polacrilex gum are approved by FDA as anti-smoking agents. All these agents are prescribed medicines; they have to be used only when prescribed by a doctor. Dosage regimen should be decided by your and followed to get maximum benefit with minimal side effects. These are very effective agents for quitting smoking.

Zyban/ Bupropion, Chantix/ Champix and Nicotine Polacrilex Gums are available on our site.

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