Jed Rose of Duke University reported that a drug called mecamylamine helps people stop smoking.
Fifty million North Americans smoke because it makes them feel good. Eight seconds after being puffed from a cigarette, nicotine in the smoke is in the brain calming a person and helping him reason better and think more clearly. Mecamylamine blocks these benefits so a smoker taking mecamylamine does not feel good after each puff. It does this by blocking nicotine receptors so nicotine can’t do its job (2).
Merck, the company that owned the original patent since 1939, stopped making mecamylamine, probably because so many new drugs were more effective to treat high blood pressure. Recently, Layton Bioscience has started to market mecamylamine under the trade name INVERSINE to treat Tourette syndrome, a condition in which a person shakes or moves uncontrollably. Inversine has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat smoking addiction, but future studies will show whether it is effective in controlling nicotine addiction.
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. More recent research shows that mecamylamine may also be affective in controlling other addictions such as alcoholism, and narcotics.