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Schizophr Bull. 1997;23(2):247-54.

Schizophrenia and nicotine use: report of a pilot smoking cessation program and review of neurobiological and clinical issues.

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  • 1Connecticut Mental Health Center, New Haven 06508, USA.


Nicotine use is a major public health problem that increases medical morbidity and mortality. Nicotine's action and the pathobiology of schizophrenic disorders have common neurobiological substrates. Tobacco smoking alters medication blood levels and effectiveness, modifies psychiatric symptoms, and is a clue for other substance abuse. This article presents an evaluation of a smoking cessation program for 24 smokers with schizophrenia. Fifty percent completed the program, 40 percent decreased use by 50 percent, and 13 percent remained abstinent (carbon monoxide verified) for 6 months. Nicotine replacement, motivational enhancement therapy, and relapse prevention behavioral therapy were important components of treatment. Pharmacotherapy strategies of a higher-dose nicotine patch, combining nicotine gum and a patch, and augmentation medication to nicotine replacement should be evaluated in future studies in this population.

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