Medications Can Help You Quit

August 28, 2018
Medications Can Help You Quit

Medications can double your chances of quitting tobacco for good. Using medications doesn't mean you aren't strong enough to quit on your own. It can even strengthen your resolve to quit.

Nicotine Replacement Therapy

Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) is the most common type of medication for stopping tobacco use. NRT reduces withdrawal feelings by giving you a small controlled amount of nicotine--but none of the other dangerous chemicals found in cigarettes. This small amount helps satisfy your craving and reduces the urge to smoke.  

NRT comes in a variety of over-the-counter forms like the patch, gum and lozenges--or by prescription for an inhaler or nasal spray. Some smokers have mild to moderate side effects from NRT. However, research shows that it is safe and effective. Our QCARE Kick the Nic! program includes a voucher for nicotine replacement therapy if prescribed.


Varenicline is a medicine that contains no nicotine. You need a prescription to get it. It may help you quit by easing withdrawal symptoms and blocking the effects of nicotine. Side effects can include stomach issues, like nausea, and vivid dreams. Ask your doctor‚ dentist‚ or pharmacist if this medicine is right for you and make sure to use it the way your doctor prescribes. This medicine may not be right for: 

  • People with kidney problems
  • Women who are pregnant‚ plan to become pregnant‚ or are breast-feeding

The Kick the Nic! program includes a voucher for free varenicline medication (Chantix ®) if prescribed.

Bupropion SR

Bupropion SR is another medicine that contains no nicotine and requires a prescription. It may help with withdrawal and reduce the urge to smoke. Some people have side effects which can include dry mouth sleeplessness. Ask your doctor‚ dentist‚ or pharmacist if this medicine is right for you and take the way your doctor prescribes. It may not be right for: 

  • Pregnant women
  • People who have seizures 
  • People who have eating disorders
  • Heavy drinkers

Quitting is Different for Everyone

While medications can help, they won't do all the work. To give yourself the best chance for success, combine medication with other quit methods. Try various tools until you find the ones that work for you.

To help you choose a way to quit smoking, find out how much you depend on nicotine. Take the Quiz.

More Resources

Learn more about the effect of nicotine on your body and get more tips and tools for quitting at*
For one-on-one coaching or to enroll in our QCARE Kick the Nic!† stopping tobacco use program, call 800.235.7111 or 501.228.7111 and ask to speak to a Care Manager.

*Provides free, accurate, evidence-based information and professional assistance to help support the immediate and long-term needs of people trying to quit smoking.

†Health plans vary. Check with your employer or plan administrator to see if QCARE is included.