Medications to quit smoking

Motivation is the key to freeing yourself from tobacco. Even with determination, quitting smoking remains a demanding process. For some people, using medication to stop smoking can significantly improve their chances of success. These medications can help relieve withdrawal symptoms and fight cravings. The result? You'll be less likely to relapse and your chances of becoming an ex-smoker will increase!

Which medication is right for you?

Three pharmacological treatments to stop smoking have been proven effective. Ideally, each should be used in combination with smoking cessation support to increase your chance of success.

Your doctor or pharmacist can help you choose the right medication for you.  It is important to respect the treatment duration and directions for use of these products. When taken correctly, they are safe and do not lead to dependence.

  • Nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs)
    NRTs are offered in the form of a patch, gum, lozenges, inhaler and even mouthspray (such as Habitrol, NicoDerm, Thrive and Nicorette).

    This type of treatment consists in helping the body get used to living without tobacco, by gradually reducing the nicotine doses to which it is accustomed. The treatment usually lasts 12 weeks, and it is recommended that you stop smoking before starting the treatment.

  • Varenicline (Champix) and bupropion (Zyban) tablets
    Available by prescription only, these medications don't contain nicotine.  Rather, they act on the areas of the brain that are stimulated by nicotine.   It is recommended that you start these treatments 1 week before quitting.

Do the pharmacological aids produce undesirable side effects?

Although their objective is to help reduce and alleviate a number of symptoms caused by withdrawal from nicotine, pharmacological aids can also have certain side effects in some people. Among other things, they can cause nausea, sleep problems and headaches.

Feeling unwell because of withdrawal can be confused with certain side effects associated with pharmacological aids. If you are experiencing symptoms that bother you, consult your physician or pharmacist to discuss the matter, rather than abandoning your treatment.

Are the treatments covered by insurance?

Most pharmacological treatments to stop smoking are covered by the public prescription drug insurance plan or by private insurance plans. A prescription from your doctor or pharmacist is necessary in order for you to be reimbursed. Ask one of these health care professionals about how to claim a refund.

Bloc-1 EN

iQuitnow

Need practical advice and support?
1 866 527-7383

Bloc-2

Quebec map

Quit Smoking Centre

Discover the free information services and personalized support offered.

Find a centre

Sos Challenge

Sos Challenge

SOS Challenge

Download the SOS Challenge app to get support when you need it most.

Learn more