Paul, a 30 year old Caucasian Male, is a smoker who wishes to put a halt to the practice before his health is seriously compromised. He already possesses a family history of lung cancer, and now hopes to reduce his chances to the same. While he currently denies any medical problems, he has, within the last 4 years, had a vasectomy. Over the past two months, or so, there has been a noticeable increase in recurrent morning coughing as well as mucus production in the patient. Paul is not currently taking any medication and has no allergy issues.
Now, it is unknown exactly how long the patient has been a smoker. Regardless, the eventual disease will follow a very predictable pattern. Initially there will be coughing, followed by increased addiction to the nicotine. The cravings will increase in frequency and strength over time, ultimately leading to the patient working his way through more cigarettes a day. The lungs will, over time, slowly blacken and decrease in effectiveness; as the process advances wheezing will become more frequent, as will coughing and mucus production, particularly after sleeping. In the event that the addiction is not overcome, disease, and even cancer, is scientifically proven to be likely occurrences.
Be that as the case may be, there are quite a few options for treatment in the cessation of smoking; three in particular are the fairly common nicotine patches, Wellbutrin, and Chantix. Now, the nicotine patches are basically just a nicotine replacement. The concept is to gradually wean the smoker off of the current nicotine levels but reducing the strength of the patch over time. These patches also help to minimize the unpleasant effects of withdrawal. Wellbutrin, on the otherhand, is actually an anti- depressant. This medication is going to help keep the mood elevated away from anxiety and tension, common factors that push individuals to ‘light up.’ This treatment option, however, is not going to act against the withdrawal effects but it is going to suppress the desire to smoke almost entirely. Chantix, the last option being looked at in this paper, is actually a pill. This pill attaches blockers to the receptors of nicotine in the brain, ultimately making the release of dopamine less and less.
After reviewing the options, it has been decided to treat Paul with the nicotine patch. He will not need a prescription but can simply go to his local drug store. The reason that this treatment plan was decided over the others is because the patch allows for controlled release of nicotine which overtime diminishes. This, as previously mentioned, allows the patient to be weaned from his addiction without shocking the body into severe reaction. It is believed, that in this case, Wellbutrin and Chantix are not ideal. Wellbutrin because, one the anti- depressant is no longer being taken, what is to keep the same urges from resurfacing, making Paul fall off of the proverbial wagon. Chantix, too, is problematic because making the same amount of nicotine less effective has the potential to have Paul increase the number of cigarettes he consumes per day, making the medication counter- purposed. Additionally, some patches even act as negative reinforcement to fall back to smoking. It has been reported that after using the patch, and completing the schedule, the patient actually feels ill if he, or she, decides to try smoking again. Ultimately this will cause the patient to discontinue smoking all together.