Pharmacological interventions for the treatment of smokeless tobacco use

Jon O. Ebbert, Karl Fagerstrom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Smokeless tobacco (SLT) is used in a variety of forms throughout the world. Long-term SLT use is associated with adverse health consequences. Effective pharmacotherapies are needed to treat SLT users who want to achieve tobacco abstinence. In the current review, we discuss the pharmacological interventions identified in a recent meta-analysis of interventions for SLT users, with inclusion of additional articles identified by searching PubMed up to August 2011. Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) has been demonstrated to increase short-term tobacco abstinence rates and to alleviate craving and withdrawal symptoms among SLT users trying to quit. Bupropion sustained release has been shown to decrease craving and attenuate post-cessation weight gain among SLT users trying to quit. Varenicline is the only available medication demonstrated to increase long-term (≥6 months) tobacco abstinence rates among SLT users. Overall, findings from studies investigating pharmacotherapies for SLT users have been relatively disappointing. SLT reduction interventions may hold some promise for increasing abstinence rates among SLT users not interested in quitting. Additional investigations of higher dose NRT and combination pharmacotherapy are needed to advance the treatment of SLT users.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalCNS Drugs
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2012


  • Bupropion
  • Drug-dependence
  • Nicotine
  • Nicotine-replacement-therapy
  • Varenicline

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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