Tim Brunson DCH

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Nicotine addiction and current therapy of smoking cessation



Nicotine is defined as substance which provokes addiction because it creates both physiological and biochemical modifications in the nervous system stimulating the activity of dopaminergic neurons releasing dopamine in the areas of the brain that control pleasure. In this paper, after a short overview of neurobiological and cellular mechanisms involved in the pathway of nicotine addiction, the main therapies, used in order to provide support to smokers who decide to reduce their cigarette consumption or to quit smoking, are examined. These therapies can be enclosed in the following categories: nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), non-nicotine pharmacological therapy (NNPT), psychological-behavioural therapies (PBT), alternative therapies (AT). In this work the advantages and disadvantages of various therapies are analysed, assessing the criteria found in literature. Results from randomised and controlled clinical studies which examine some of these therapies, alone or in association, also related to relapse time are reported. In conclusion, results of this analysis confirm that, as well as therapies and their treatment time, psychological support and personal motivation are indispensable for successful smoking cessation.

Dipartimento Salute e Prevenzione, British American Tobacco ITALIA Spa, Centro Ricerche, Napoli, Italia. picciolo@chemistry.unina.it

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