Pharmaceutical Guide

Cessation Medications

NRT-photoNumerous effective medications are available for tobacco dependence, and clinicians should encourage their use by all patients attempting to quit smoking—except when medically contraindicated or with specific populations for which there is insufficient evidence of effectiveness (i.e., pregnant women, smokeless tobacco users, light smokers, and adolescents).

Seven first-line medications (5 nicotine and 2 non-nicotine) reliably increase long-term smoking abstinence rates:

  • Bupropion SR
  • Nicotine gum
  • Nicotine inhaler
  • Nicotine lozenge
  • Nicotine nasal spray
  • Nicotine patch
  • Varenicline

Clinicians also should consider the use of certain combinations of medications identified as effective in this Guideline.

Counseling and medication are effective when used by themselves for treating tobacco dependence. The combination of counseling and medication, however, is more effective than either alone. Thus, clinicians should encourage all individuals making a quit attempt to use both counseling and medication.


Click here to watch a video about therapies available to help.


To search for drug coverage, use these steps:

  1. Click on the tab marked “Therapeutic Classes, Other.”
  2. Checking the “Smoking Cessation” box.
  3. Then click the button marked “Begin Look-Up.”

Research on Pharmacotherapy for Quitting Smoking

Safety and Efficacy of the Nicotine Patch and Gum for the Treatment of Adolescent Tobacco Addiction

State-of-the-Art Interventions for Office-Based Parental Tobacco Control


Nicotine Inhaler and Nicotine Patch as a Combination Therapy for Smoking Cessation


Pediatricians’ Use of the 5 A’s and Nicotine Replacement Therapy with Adolescent Smokers

from the Journal of Community Health

Nicotine Replacement Therapy in Pregnancy

from the British Medical Journal

High-Dose Nicotine Patch Therapy. Percentage Replacement and Smoking Cessation

(Abstract) from JAMA