Weight counseling, medication helps female smokers

Pittsburgh: For female smokers worried about their weight, a combination of cognitive behavioural therapy addressing weight concerns and the medication bupropion may boost their chances of quitting, says a new research.

Michele D. Levine, of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and colleagues conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial with 349 women smokers who were concerned about their weight.
Of these, 106 were assigned to take the smoking cessation medication bupropion and also participate in CONCERNS, a cognitive behavioural therapy program focusing on weight gain issues.

An additional 87 participated in CONCERNS while taking placebo, 89 received counselling without a weight gain focus while taking bupropion and 67 underwent standard counselling while taking placebo.
Participants took medications for six months and participated in counselling for three months.

Overall, 31.8 percent of women abstained from smoking for three months, 21.8 percent after six months and 16.3 percent after 12 months.

Bupropion improved abstinence rates among women receiving the CONCERNS intervention; those taking active medication were more likely than those taking placebo to have quit at three months (40.6 percent vs. 18.4 percent), six months (34 percent vs. 11.5 percent) and 12 months (23.6 percent vs. 8.1 percent).

They were also slower to relapse, with a median or midpoint of 266 days vs. 46 days to relapse.

However, bupropion did not appear to improve quit rates or time to relapse among those receiving standard counselling, the authors found.

In addition, there were no differences among women who quit in either average weight gain or their level of concern about weight gain.

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