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Alzheimer’s drug may help quit smoking permanently: Study

Alzheimer’s drug may help quit smoking permanently: Study

Kicking a habit is not easy and when it comes to an addiction, it’s even more difficult to come out of its clutches. Quitting smoking is no different. In spite of all the therapies, the relapse rate is very high among smokers. But there is a good news for those who want to give up smoking. According to a new study, a section of FDA-approved medications used to treat Alzheimer’s disease can help permanently quit smoking.

The study, conducted at the University of Pennsylvania, comprised a rat and a human trial wherein the researchers analyzed the effects of two acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, or AChEIs, called galantamine and donepezil on smoking nicotine. The researchers found that the rodents that were given an AChEI reduced their nicotine consumption.

For both drugs “we were able to show a reduction in total nicotine self-administered,” said Rebecca Ashare, one of the researchers. The participants also demonstrated similar effect of the AChEI. They smoked 2.3 fewer cigarettes every day, which is a decrease of 12 percent. And on top of that, they did not even feel satisfied with whatever cigarettes they smoked.

The finding offers hope because those who do not smoke during first crucial week have 32 times higher chance of quitting cigarette permanently, the researchers said.

In the brain, neurotransmitter acetylcholine helps improve cognitive impairment and is important for brain functions like learning and short-term memory. Once inside the body, nicotine attaches to the same receptors in the brain that acetylcholine binds to, leading to smoking’s rewarding and reinforcement effects.

The study, published in the journal Translational Psychiatry, says acetylcholinesterase inhibitors increase the level of acetylcholine in the brain which eventually mimics the effect of nicotine.

Quitting nicotine is not easy

Nicotine found in tobacco is as addictive as heroin or cocaine. Nicotine leads to pleasant feelings. Thus, a person undergoing tough times or stress tends to get inclined to nicotine and gradually he becomes physically and emotionally dependent on nicotine. The emotional and mental addiction makes it tough to keep off nicotine even if one wishes to.

Nicotine is also a type of depressant. Once a person starts smoking, his frequency only increases by the day as his nervous system adapts to nicotine. According to a report on, this process increases the amount of nicotine in the blood. And over the time, the smoker develops a tolerance to nicotine which makes him take more nicotine to get the same effect that he would have got from a smaller dose earlier. This increases his smoking problem and when he tries to quit, he faces unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.

Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of death and disease in the U.S. Cigarette smoking kills over 480,000 Americans each year, with over 41,000 of these deaths from exposure to secondhand smoke.

E-cigarette is unsafe too

Various studies have suggested methods to quit smoking, but not all have proved effective. E-cigarettes are another addition to the list and are promoted as less harmful compared to tobacco smoking. A positive aspect related to e-cigarette highlighted for its sale was that it helped in quitting traditional smoking. But a recent study published in the Lancet Respiratory Medicine journal said that e-cigarettes do not help in giving up smoking and that it should not be recommended with this point in mind.

The people who smoke regularly, face withdrawal symptoms if they abruptly stop using tobacco or greatly decrease the frequency of smoking. Symptoms usually start within a few hours of the last cigarette.

According to a report on in 2015, adults who die each year from their own smoking in Colorado amount to 51,000 and adults in Colorado who smoke are 17.7 percent. Ironically, kids in Colorado are also getting addicted to nicotine. The report added that kids under 18 who become new smokers daily each year are 3,400.

It is very important to detoxify your body if you want to get rid of an addiction and come out clean to be able to enjoy life and be happy. If you or your loved one is struggling to overcome any addiction, call the Colorado Detox Helpline at 866-730-5807 to seek best guidance.

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