Common Diabetes Drug Found to Relieve Nicotine Withdrawal

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By : dLife Editors

A drug commonly used to treat Type 2 diabetes abolishes the characteristic signs of nicotine withdrawal in rats and mice, according to new research.

The finding may offer an important new strategy in the battle to quit smoking.

Smokers trying to quit face potent side effects from nicotine withdrawal, including cravings, increased appetite, restlessness, anxiety, irritability, and depression. Even though they may want to quit, many smokers continue to smoke simply because the experience is so unpleasant.

The diabetes drug, pioglitazone, targets a specific form of the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors in the nucleus. This receptor, PPARγ, is found in areas of the brain involved in drug addiction.

Dr. Esi Domi and colleagues demonstrated that direct injections of pioglitazone into the hippocampi of male mice reduced the signs of physical nicotine withdrawal, including paw tremors, chattering, and head shakes.

Injecting pioglitazone into the amygdala of male mice ameliorated signs of anxiety associated with nicotine withdrawal.

Nicotine abusers face a 30% higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. The researchers suggest pioglitazone may help diabetic smokers quit by lessening the physical and emotional withdrawal symptoms while reducing insulin resistance.

The research has been published in the Journal of Neuroscience.


  1. Society for Neuroscience. (2019, November 4). Diabetes drug relieves nicotine withdrawal: How a common diabetes drug works in the brain may provide a new strategy in the battle to quit smoking. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 6, 2019, from