Advances in non-nicotine pharmacotherapy for smoking cessation

Drugs. 2000 Jan;59(1):17-31. doi: 10.2165/00003495-200059010-00003.


Progress in understanding the pharmacological nature of tobacco addiction, along with the modest success rates achieved by the nicotine replacement therapies, has provided the major impetus for the development of non-nicotine drugs as smoking cessation aids. This article reviews evidence from controlled trials of several non-nicotine medications for the treatment of nicotine dependence. Clonidine was the first non-nicotine medication to show efficacy for smoking cessation in multiple studies, but its effect was found to be limited at best. Positive results across several trials have been consistently demonstrated for amfebutamone (bupropion). Encouraging results have also been observed for nortriptyline and moclobemide. Studies of combined treatments using non-nicotine medications (amfebutamone, mecamylamine, oral dextrose) with nicotine replacement therapy suggest increased efficacy relative to treatments using one or the other treatment strategy alone. Thus, available evidence indicates that non-nicotine drug treatments offer a promising panoply of therapeutic strategies for the addicted smoker.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Bupropion / therapeutic use
  • Buspirone / therapeutic use
  • Clonidine / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Moclobemide / therapeutic use
  • Narcotic Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • Smoking Cessation / methods*


  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Narcotic Antagonists
  • Bupropion
  • Clonidine
  • Moclobemide
  • Buspirone