Tags: smoking | drug | weight | gain

Anti-Smoking Drug Helps Shed Pounds

Thursday, 13 December 2012 05:10 PM

A medication being tested to help smokers has been found to offer a surprising secondary benefit: It help women avoid the weight gain that typically accompanies kicking the tobacco habit.
The study, published in the journal Biological Psychiatry, was designed to test the effectiveness of naltrexone — an opioid blocker that cuts the desire for alcohol, heroin, and nicotine — in a group of about 700 people.
As expected, University of Chicago researchers found the drug helped men quit smoking — 30 percent who were treated for three months were able to give up tobacco, compared to 17 percent who did not get the drug. But while naltrexone did not improve quit rates among women, it did limit the weight gain — by more than half — in women who did kick the habit during the study. After three months, women who took naltrexone gained an average of 2.3 pounds while those who took an inactive placebo gained 5.1 pounds.
"When trying to stop smoking, women tend to gain more weight than men and to be more concerned about gaining that weight," said study author Andrea King, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral neuroscience at the University of Chicago. "Women who try to quit may be so worried about putting on weight in the process that they soon give up, and this is less commonly found in men. Adding naltrexone to standard treatment might help women get through that difficult early period."
Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, with obesity No. 2. Research shows more than 80 percent of those who stop smoking put on at least five pounds in the year after quitting; one in four quitters pack on more than 15 pounds.
For the new study, researchers combined information from the two trials using naltrexone to help volunteers stop smoking — conducted by the University of Chicago and 385 from Yale University. For six to 12 weeks after quitting, former smokers took either naltrexone or a placebo. They also used a nicotine patch and received smoking-cessation counseling. After six months, 23 percent remained smoke free. After one year, that number fell to 16 percent.
Over the first 12 months, most successful quitters gained weight gain. But for women taking naltrexone there was more than a 50-percent reduction in weight gain for those taking the drug.
"Naltrexone has produced the most promising results to date for helping women who quit smoking gain less weight," King said. "It is possible that the opioid blocker reduces women's tendency to eat high fat and sweet foods when they quit smoking."
The study was funded, in part, by the National Institutes of Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

© HealthDay

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A anti-smoking drug has been found to help women avoid the weight gain that can accompany kicking the habit.
Thursday, 13 December 2012 05:10 PM
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