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J Clin Nurs. 2009 Jun;18(11):1533-40. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2702.2008.02724.x.

A review of smoking cessation: potentially risky effects on prescribed medications.

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University of Florida College of Nursing, Gainesville, FL32610-0187, USA.



To identify prescription drugs that require dosage adjustment or monitoring in patients who quit smoking and to provide recommendations for dosage adjustment based on available evidence.


Health care providers are urged to facilitate smoking cessation for patients who smoke, but the effects of smoking cessation on the metabolism of some drugs is not routinely considered.


A comprehensive literature review.


The review was conducted in 2008 using a computerised drug interaction program and multiple PubMed and CINAHL searches to identify prescription drugs with clinically significant pharmacokinetic or pharmacodynamic changes caused by smoking cessation.


Although much of the evidence is case report, dosage adjustments are clearly indicated for warfarin, olanzapine, clozapine and theophylline since they are metabolised by cytochrome P450 CYP1A2 and also have narrow therapeutic ratios. Careful monitoring is recommended for other CYP1A2 metabolised drugs, including those for hypertension and Alzheimer's disease. For many affected drugs, smoking cessation reverses smoking-induced CYP1A2 hepatic enzyme levels to normal, increasing plasma concentrations in patients whose dose was established while smoking. Because the effect on hepatic microsomal enzymes is not related to the nicotine component of tobacco, nicotine replacement will not alter the effect.


The effects of smoking cessation on drugs metabolised by CYP1A2 have been under-appreciated by health care providers. Smoking cessation may increase plasma levels of some drugs to potentially toxic levels. Further research is warranted to clarify this effect.


When patients stop smoking, providers should carefully review prescribed drug regimens and adjust or monitor drugs whose metabolism is affected by smoking cessation. This is particularly important for patients who abruptly stop smoking due to hospitalisation and for older patients who are likely to be taking multiple medications.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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