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As noted in the 2004 guideline, smoking cessation is a critical health challenge for individuals with schizophrenia. Smoking treatments include nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs), bupropion, and psychosocial approaches (88).

Recent studies have examined combined pharmacological and psychosocial approaches in individuals with schizophrenia. For example, Baker et al. (89) found higher abstinence rates among smokers with psychotic disorders who were enrolled in an 8-session behavioral/motivational enhancement intervention combined with NRT relative to those in routine care over a 12-month period. Several randomized, placebo-controlled trials suggest that bupropion (90), bupropion plus NRT (91,92), and bupropion plus a cognitive-behavioral intervention (93) significantly improve the likelihood of smoking reduction or smoking cessation among individuals with schizophrenia. However, the fact that these studies found significant rates of relapse following study termination suggests that smokers with schizophrenia may require more extended pharmacological treatment in combination with continuous and active support for smoking cessation. Bupropion is FDA approved for the treatment of smoking cessation and thus can be recommended as an intervention for smoking cessation for individuals with schizophrenia. Varenicline is also FDA approved for the treatment of smoking cessation but has not been studied in a randomized fashion among individuals with schizophrenia. With bupropion and varenicline treatment, a recent FDA boxed warning has highlighted a potential for serious neuropsychiatric symptoms, including changes in behavior, hostility, agitation, depressed mood, suicidal thoughts and behavior, and attempted suicide (94).

Research on psychosocial interventions suggests that smokers with schizophrenia will attend psychosocial smoking cessation programs, that interventions can have some benefit in terms of smoking reduction, and that, for those who attend, quitting is possible (89). Programs designed for individuals with schizophrenia may need to include extended outreach to improve treatment engagement and retention, training in coping skills that can be used to manage negative affect in place of smoking, and other strategies that can overcome some of the common barriers to smoking cessation found among this group of smokers.

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