Medications used to help you quit smoking

People who experience back pain can see enormous benefits from quitting smoking. However, quitting is easier said than done. Every year, 46 percent of smokers attempt to quit, with as few as 10 percent achieving short-term success. The long-term success rate is even lower. To help combat these long odds, pharmaceutical companies have developed a number of medications to quit smoking. Learn what medication fits your lifestyle through the options provided in this article.

Types of medications to quit smoking

There are several types of medication available to help people quit smoking. The three most common kinds are:

  • Nicotine replacement drugs. These types of drugs are perhaps the most well-known medications on the market to quit smoking. Some products that fall under this category include non-prescription nicotine gums, nicotine patches and prescription nasal sprays.
  • Varenicline. This prescription-only drug works by blocking the nicotine receptors in the brain to reduce the pleasurable sensation from smoking and symptoms associated with withdrawal. It can also keep prevent a person that is relapsing from getting addicted again, since the brain is not stimulated by the nicotine inhaled during that time.
  • Bupropion. Bupropion has been found to help people quit smoking by decreasing both nicotine cravings and withdrawal symptoms. This prescription medication contains no nicotine and it is recommended to take the medication one to two weeks before you stop smoking to build up the level of medicine in your body.

Concerns associated with medications to quit smoking

Medications that help you quit smoking can have adverse side effects for the people who take them. Nicotine replacement drugs are a continued source of nicotine, so users who continue to smoke after taking them can possibly risk a nicotine overdose. Varenicline can cause a headache, nausea or other gastric side effects, as well as difficulty sleeping. Bupropion can potentially lead to dry mouth, irritability or joint pain.

Further treatment

While most medications used to help people quit smoking have not been shown to significantly impact back pain, everybody functions differently. If you have a back condition, such as degenerative disc disease (DDD), a prolapsed disc or failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS), consult your physician immediately if any medications used to quit smoking cause an increase in your pain level.

Healthcare professionals may recommend that smokers try these methods since the benefits of quitting smoking often outweigh the side effects associated with these medications. Talk to your physician to learn if quitting smoking using a medication could help relieve your back pain.

If conservative treatments do not help, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn how our outpatient procedures can help you rediscover your life without back pain. We are pleased to offer a no-cost MRI review* to help you determine if you are a potential candidate for our minimally invasive spine surgery.