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Smoking Cessation Pharmacotherapy

Smoking cessation pharmacotherapy increases abstinence rates and is even more effective when combined with tobacco cessation interventions.

Types of medication

All smoking cessation medications provided by VA must be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). FDA-approved smoking cessation medications provided by VA are:

  • Nicotine patch
  • Nicotine gum
  • Nicotine lozenges
  • Bupropion
  • Varenicline (Within VA, varenicline is a second-line agent for smoking cessation and must be prescribed according to Pharmacy Benefit Management criteria (716 KB, PDF))

Using combination therapy, which is two forms of NRT or NRT + bupropion, is recommended as it can result in higher rates of tobacco abstinence when compared to monotherapy. For guidance on dosing, use, and tapering of combination NRT view our Combination Nicotine Replacement Therapy Infographic.

Note: It is recommended that varenicline not be used in combination with NRT or bupropion.

All smoking cessation medications are available from the VA pharmacy with a prescription from a VA health care provider.

Patient medication guides

VA created patient medication guides on smoking cessation medications used for monotherapy and combination therapy based on the questions: What does this medication do? How do I use it? What are the possible side effects?

Descarga las guías de medicamentos en español

Tools and publications

More tools and publications »

Sources

  • Fiore, M. C., Jaén, C. R., Baker, T. B., Bailey, W. C., Benowitz, N. L., Curry, S. J., Dorfman, S. F., Froelicher, E. S., Goldstein, M. G., Healton, C. G., Henderson, P. Nez, Heyman, R. B., Koh, H. K., Kottke, T. E., Lando, H. A., Mecklenburg, R. E., Mermelstein, R. J., Mullen, P. D., Orleans, C. Tracy, Robinson, L., Stitzer, M. L., Tommasello, A. C., Villejo, L., & Wewers, M. E. (2008, May). Treating tobacco use and dependence: 2008 update. Clinical practice guideline. Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service.