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Studies find drug helps stop smoking

An experimental smoking cessation drug by Pfizer Inc. was more effective than GlaxoSmithKline Plc’s Zyban and far more effective than a placebo in helping smokers quit the habit in important late-stage studies, researchers said Tuesday.
/ Source: Reuters

An experimental smoking cessation drug by Pfizer Inc. was more effective than GlaxoSmithKline Plc’s Zyban and far more effective than a placebo in helping smokers quit the habit in important late-stage studies, researchers said Tuesday.

In 12-week studies expected to be used to seek approval of the drug, 44 percent of smokers using Pfizer’s varenicline were able to quit smoking. That compared with a 30 percent quit rate in those using Glaxo’s Zyban, also known by the chemical name bupropion, and just 17.7 percent in the placebo group after 12 weeks.

“Varenicline is a leap forward for smokers and if it is approved it will be part of my doctor’s bag,” said Dr. Serena Tonstad, a professor of nutrition at the University of Oslo who led the Pfizer-sponsored trial.