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Unique therapy to stop smoking developed by Duke researchers

Kathleen Blanchard's picture

Researchers at Duke University have found a better therapy to help individuals who want to stop smoking that might be available soon. The unique therapy delivers nicotine to the bloodstream, provides the experience of smoking, and bypasses the lungs to make smoking cessation easier and less irritating than current nicotine inhalers for smoking cessation.

The new smoking cessation therapy is more effective for delivering nicotine to the bloodstream, compared to the nicotine vapor delivery system used in the Nicotrol/Nicorette inhaler. The result is immediate relief from nicotine withdrawal symptoms that makes tobacco cessation so difficult.

"Compared to the current nicotine vapor inhaler, we are able to give smokers more nicotine, although still less than a cigarette, with less irritation, resulting in reduced cravings," said Jed Rose, Ph.D., director of the Duke Center for Nicotine and Smoking Cessation Research. "Thus we are able to achieve a therapeutic effect with greater tolerability."

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The stop smoking system could become available in three to five years, pending more investigation. The device combines pyruvic acid that is normally present in the body with nicotine. The nicotine/pyruvic acid combination resulted in less complaints of harshness/irritation and also resulted in rapid increases in nicotine levels, measured by blood samples.

The inhalation system that could help with smoking cessation could potentially be used to deliver medications to the bloodstream. The Duke team has filed a patent for the new technology, developed by Rose. his brother, Seth D. Rose, Ph.D., Duke colleague, Thangaraju Murugesan, Ph.D., and James E. Turner, an inventor of the Nicotrol/Nicorette inhaler.

The new therapy system could make is easier for anyone with a desire to stop smoking, without the side effects of nicotine withdrawal that include tension, irritability, difficulty concentrating, headache, and overeating that can lead to weight gain. One of the mainstays of smoking cessation is nicotine replacement to stop cravings that can be severe and distract from everyday activities.

Duke University Medical Center