Bupropion/zonisamide combination to assist smokers to switch from combustible cigarettes to electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS).
INTRODUCTION: Electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) may offer a much less harmful alternative to combustible cigarettes (CC) for adult smokers unwilling or unable to relinquish nicotine. However, dual use of CC and ENDS undermines potential harm reduction, and progress needs to be made to assist smokers to switch to ENDS. This study explored the promise of a novel treatment combination of the smoking cessation medication bupropion and an FDA-approved anti-seizure medication, zonisamide, to facilitate switching from CC to ENDS. Both medications have been found to reduce craving for CC and possibly offset each other's side effects. METHODS: Twenty-four smokers participated in a 13-week treatment during which they were provided with ENDS, bupropion and zonisamide. Assessments included CC and ENDS use, expired air carbon monoxide (CO), smoking withdrawal symptoms, reward ratings and tolerability/side effects. RESULTS: 33% of participants achieved biochemically confirmed, complete CC abstinence by the end of treatment. Those who did not achieve complete abstinence nonetheless showed a 44% reduction in expired air CO. Craving and other withdrawal symptoms were minimal, and CC smoking satisfaction declined markedly, while satisfaction ratings for ENDS increased over time to overtake those of CC. Side effects were generally mild, and adherence to the medication use was excellent. CONCLUSIONS: The use of combination bupropion/zonisamide to facilitate switching from CC to ENDS is a promising approach that merits follow-up randomized controlled trials. Combining short-term medication approaches with long-term nicotine substitution using ENDS may be a promising strategy to help smokers sustain smoking abstinence in the long term.
Rose, JE; Willette, PN; Botts, TL; Botts, DR; Behm, FM
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