Smoking :: Mayo Clinic Tests New Drug to Help Smokers Quit

The Mayo Clinic Nicotine Research Program is conducting a research study to help smokers who would like to quit. The study will test whether the drug Chantix (varenicline) helps smokers who have Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) stop smoking.

The Mayo Clinic Nicotine Research Program is looking for adults to participate in this study. Eligible participants must:

Be 35 years old or older

Have symptoms of COPD, such as emphysema, chronic bronchitis, reduced lung function, cough with sputum production and shortness of breath, or have been told by a doctor that they may have COPD

Have a desire to quit smoking

Chantix has recently been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for prescription use. It works by producing effects in the brain similar to those of nicotine. Previous studies have shown that this medication helps smokers successfully quit smoking by lessening the severity of withdrawal symptoms.

“Nicotine is a highly addictive substance,” says J. Taylor Hays, M.D., principal investigator for the study. “Research has shown that quitting ‘cold turkey’ is extremely difficult for most smokers. The use of medications and/or nicotine replacement therapy significantly increases a smoker’s chance of quitting successfully. The purpose of this study is to determine if Chantix will be an effective medication to add to our quit-smoking arsenal for smokers with chronic lung disease.”

COPD is a leading cause of disability and death worldwide. Smoking is by far the most important risk factor for COPD; nearly 50 percent of smokers will develop COPD. As the disease progresses, the pulmonary (lung) obstruction creates breathing difficulties requiring the use of oxygen, and can eventually lead to congestive heart failure and death.