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Drug Alcohol Rev. 2003 Jun;22(2):191-202.

Pharmacotherapies to enhance smoking cessation during pregnancy.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Farmington 06030, USA.


Smoking during pregnancy is a significant public health concern. Maternal smoking increases the risk of spontaneous abortion, low birth weight, premature delivery, sudden infant death syndrome and learning and behavioral problems in the offspring. Unfortunately, the majority of pregnant women do not quit smoking during pregnancy. Although pharmacotherapy may improve smoking cessation rates in pregnancy, very few studies exist that have studied the safety and efficacy of medications to treat pregnant smokers. This article reviews the available safety and efficacy data for the use in pregnancy of the five first-line therapies and two second-line therapies that are recommended for smoking cessation in non-pregnant smokers. Other promising nicotine replacement therapies are also reviewed. Ultimately, the choice whether to use pharmacotherapy for smoking cessation should be made jointly by the pregnant smoker and her health care provider. This article reviews factors that may be considered when prescribing pharmacotherapy to pregnant smokers (i.e. the role of behavioral counseling, identification of appropriate patients, potential advantages and disadvantages of each of the pharmacotherapies, proposed monitoring strategies, dose and duration and goals of treatment). More research regarding the safety and efficacy of pharmacotherapy during pregnancy is needed to define the risk/benefit profile of each medication for use in smoking cessation in pregnant women.

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