Studies by Jed Rose of Duke University showed that mecamylamine is effective in treating nicotine addiction. Mecamylamine was originally approved by the Food and Drug administration in 1939 to treat high blood pressure. I treated my nicotine-addicted patients successfully with mecamylamine, 2.5 mg two or three times a day, and most were able to eventually stop smoking. Then Merck, the company that owned the original patent, stopped making it, probably because so many newer high blood pressure drugs were more effective and caused fewer side effects.

When a habitual smoker can't smoke, he feels irritated, and is unable to think clearly because they are dependant on nicotine and don't feel good without it. When a person tries to quit, he feels depressed, shaky and can‘t think clearly. Within eight seconds after puffing on a cigarette, a smoker feels calmer, can think more clearly and actually can solve problems better, because that's how long it takes for nicotine to enter the brain. Mecamylamine prevents smokers from responding to nicotine; when they stop receiving pleasure and mental clarity from smoking, it's easier to break the habit.

I reported that the reason nobody spends the 10 to 20 million dollars necessary to prove that mecamylamine cures nicotine addiction was that the drug had run out of its patent, and even if a researcher proved that mecamylamine cures smoking addiction, anybody could profit by marketing the drug. It has been four years since Merck stopped making mecamylamine, but I am delighted that another company called Layton Bioscience will market mecamylamine under the trade name Inversine to treat Tourette syndrome, a condition in which a person shakes or moves uncontrollably. Nobody has done the necessary research to show that mecamylamine helps to cure nicotine addiction, but I will be prescribing 2.5 mg two or three times a day to help my patients stop smoking.

Reported 6/1/00; checked 8/9/05

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