Study shows less weight gain with Zyban

Sandy Terrell considers smoking her biggest vice.  Like many smokers she wants to quit, but is worried she will gain weight while she kicks the habit.

“I know that smoking suppresses my appetite, so what happens when I stop smoking?” she wonders.  “I’m worried I will just gain more weight, which is one of the many reasons why I haven’t made any real attempts at quitting.”

Doctors say weight gain is a concern for many smokers trying to fight their addiction, but a new study shows there is help available.

A new study shows patients using Zyban, an FDA approved treatment to help smokers quit, gained less weight than those who tried to quit cold turkey.   The drug, which is a nicotine-free prescription, was cleared by the Food and Drug Administration in 1997.  A doctor from Massachusetts General Hospital conducted the study that involved 784 smokers.  All of them were put on Zyban for seven weeks and given brief counseling about their addiction.  After week seven, 435 patients were living cigarette free.  From that point, patients either remained on Zyban or a placebo. At the end of two years those who hadn’t picked up a cigarette were put on a scale.  According to the results those that took Zyban gained 9 pounds less than those taking the placebo.

Some studies suggest smokers that quit should expect to gain about 13 pounds.  Nicotine can effect the body’s metabolism so once it’s out of a persons body, doctors say smokers can put on weight.

For smokers like Terrell, it’s comforting news.

“I have made feeble attempts to quit before, never really sticking with it,” she said.  After hearing about the study Terrell says it might be enough for her to seriously consider leaving her habit in the past.  “I think a smoker has to want to quit, and if there was a way for me to gain less weight while quitting, that just might convince me to do it.”

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