It is not easy to get rid of tobacco smoking habit as one needs a strong will to free oneself from the physical dependence on nicotine. Moreover, it is difficult to curb the habit of hinging on to the temporary and addictive high that one obtains from the nicotine found in cigarettes.
A recent study by the University of Pennsylvania said that Alzheimer’s medications that are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and help restore cognitive abilities in patients may help curb smoking habits. Lead authors of the study, Dr. Rebecca Ashare and Dr. Heath Schmidt from the University of Pennsylvania, said, “Many smokers report having difficulty concentrating when they quit smoking, and there is evidence that this increases smoking relapse rates. This suggested to us that targeting cognitive function during a quit attempt might be a useful treatment strategy.”
For the study, published online in the journal Translational Psychiatry in January 2016, the scientists conducted an experiment on rats and then on humans. They tried to ascertain the impact of two acetylcholinesterase inhibitors (AChEI or anti-cholinesterase), namely galantamine and donepezil, on smoking patterns. It was found that on administering the inhibitors, the rodents were less inclined to consume nicotine.
Stressing on the findings, Ashare said, “For both drugs we were able to show a reduction in total nicotine self-administered.” While trying to find if the inhibitors demonstrated any side effects on the rats, Schmidt said, “At the doses shown to reduce nicotine self-administration, the AChEIs did not make our animals sick.”
The scientists conducted the experiment on humans after they were successful in identifying medications that aid smoking cessation habits in rats. The researchers then enlisted 33 smokers aged between 18 and 60, who had shown interest in participating in the study and an eagerness to quit smoking. The participants were asked to use AChEI for 23 days.
The researchers found that the respondents who had taken AChEI as per the instructions smoked 2.3 fewer cigarettes on a daily basis. This, when calculated, was equivalent to 12 percent decrease in their nicotine consumption rates. The respondents who received inhibitors also showed less contentment with the cigarettes they smoked.
The findings also pointed out that the respondents who abstained from their daily smoking habits during the first week of the study were 32 times more likely to quit smoking permanently. To this, Schmidt added, “We’re very interested in screening potential efficacy of anti-addiction medications in our models. For this study, we looked at potential smoking-cessation medications.”
The authors said that the observations made during the study would go a long way in conducting further researches on finding the necessary medications to help smokers kick the habit. The findings also offer an alternative option to break the addiction chain.
Recovery from any kind of addiction is never easy. The journey to complete sobriety is different for different people as it entirely depends on their addiction levels and the type of substance they are addicted to. There are several factors that physicians consider before prescribing curative measures to patients dependent on nicotine.
The “feel good” impact that nicotine has on the brain seems to help smokers deal with the daily strain, tiredness, depression or apprehensions, turning the act of smoking as “a daily ritual.” If you or your loved one has been trying to address smoking habits or getting rid of routines that incite dependence habits, you may get in touch with 24/7 Recovery Helpline for further information about various substance abuse treatment centers in accordance with your needs. You may contact the 24/7 helpline at 855-441-4405 or chat online for further expert advice.