Dr. Caryn Lerman of the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania led the research team that examined 251 male and female smokers ages 18 and older. Participants were randomly assigned to receive 10 weeks of treatment with bupropion or a placebo, plus behavioral counseling. Bupropion was initiated on the day of the first counseling session, two weeks before the target quit date. Counseling included nicotine fading (slowly decreasing nicotine intake), coping with cues that trigger smoking, stress management, and relapse prevention. During treatment, participants regularly completed questionnaires about their withdrawal symptoms and positive and negative feelings.
At the end of treatment, 48 percent of bupropion participants were abstinent from smoking, versus 29 percent of those receiving the placebo. The bupropion group exhibited a decrease in negative mood, while those receiving placebo showed an increase in negative mood. Although bupropion reduced the severity of the symptoms of withdrawal, negative mood was more strongly related to smoking relapse.
WHAT IT MEANS: Bupropion may be beneficial for smokers who experience negative moods and who smoke, in part, to manage these symptoms.