Genes May Dictate Smoking Cessation Treatment

A recent study supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and published in the Archives of General Psychiatry found genetic variants that seem to indicate which smokers trying to quit might benefit from certain treatments and which may not.


The treatments in question were the prescription medication bupropion (Zyban) and forms of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT).


“We have long known that smoking cessation treatments that help some people fail to help others,” says NIDA Director Dr. Nora Volkow. “These findings shed light on the genetic variations that underlie these differences in treatment response, and this knowledge may help make it possible to match smokers with the type or intensity of smoking cessation treatment most likely to benefit them.”


Using a technique called ‘genome-wide association scans’, researchers compared the DNA of smokers who were either successful or unsuccessful in quitting using bupropion (Zyban) or a form of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). They were able to spot gene variants present more frequently in the successful quitters.


Results showed that the genetic variants were different in those who were successfully treated with bupropion than in those who were helped by NRT.


Dr. George R. Uhl, chief of NIDA’s molecular neurobiology research branch in Baltimore, MD, who led the study, said “Our results provide the first genome-wide evidence that the genetics of successful smoking cessation with bupropion are different from the genetics of successful smoking cessation with NRT. These findings suggest that we may be able to improve the success rate for smoking cessation by using results of simple DNA tests.”


For more information go to: http://www.drugabuse.gov/DrugPages


Source: NIH
Date: June 5, 2008


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