Researchers in the United States say smokers who fail to quit smoking by using pills, should not be disheartened and should try again.
Researcher David Gonzales, director of the smoking cessation center at Oregon Health & Science University, says even if the drugs do not work initially smokers should keep trying.
Gonzales says it may take several weeks for many people to fully wean themselves off tobacco and they should not be discouraged when total abstinence is not achieved in the first weeks of treatment with smoking cessation medications.
Gonzales and colleagues have been examining how well the drugs Chantix or Zyban work, and published a study on the topic last year.
In order to see if it took some people longer to quit than others when they used the drugs, the researchers analyzed the results of both studies.
Both Chantix and Zyban can help smokers quit and are licensed for that use; Zyban is an antidepressant and Chantix is designed to block nicotine in the brain.
Gonzales and his colleagues evaluated Chantix versus Zyban in more than 1,000 smokers from June 2003 to April 2005 and found Chantix worked better to help people quit.
At the time, what happened if people kept trying, was not considered.
Gonzales says when the medication does not succeed in making smokers quit within two weeks from the end of the their target quit date, doctors usually tell their patients to discontinue their medication and consider the attempt a failure.
The researchers found that 24 percent of those taking Chantix were able to quit right away, as against 18 percent taking Zyban and just 10 percent given a placebo.
But it was also found that another 20 percent of those taking Chantix and 11 percent taking Zyban were able to quit if they kept trying for up to three months.
Many experts regard tobacco to be as addictive as heroin and cocaine, and people need many attempts to quit.
Gonzales presented his work at a meeting of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco in Austin, Texas.