Update on Substance Abuse

March, 2008 | Vol: 6 Issue: 3

In this issue

Learning Objective


Smoking Cessation: Which Options are Best?

The field of smoking cessation has been abuzz since the FDA approved Chantix (varenicline) in 2006. Pfizer’s studies showed better efficacy for Chantix than bupropion (Wellbutrin/Zyban), and the mechanism of action is fascinating. But several controversial issues have arisen to muddy the waters. Reports of psychiatric side effects surfaced, prompting the FDA to issue a public health advisory. And on an unrelated note, a new “cold turkey” quit smoking movement has arisen, filled with critics of pharmacological cures. Let’s look at some of these issues in more detail.

Practical Advice on Treating Alcohol Problems

The NIAAA (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism) has recently posted a practical guide for professionals interested in improving their skills in evaluating and treating patients with alcohol problems. Here are some useful tips for treating alcoholism, adapted both from the NIAAA and other sources.

Behavior Therapy for Substance Abuse

The current issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry carries a meta-analysis of different psychosocial interventions for the treatment of substance abuse (Dutra L et al., Am J Psychiatry 2008 165: 179-187). This review focuses specifically on techniques for treating abusers of cannabis, cocaine, and opiates. What works the best, and what techniques can you bring into your practice.

Research Update

Expert QA