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Addict Behav. 2000 Jul-Aug;25(4):483-97.

Effects of menstrual phase and smoking abstinence in smokers with and without a history of major depressive disorder.

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Nicotine Research Laboratory, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor 48108, USA.


Although considerable progress has been made towards understanding the role of menstrual cycle phase in smoking, little is known about the possible effects of menstrual phase upon nicotine intake, withdrawal symptomatology, and craving in women with psychiatric cofactors. Fourteen women with and without a history of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) were studied during five biologically-confirmed phases over the course of one menstrual cycle: smoking logs, salivary cotinine, and ratings of craving and withdrawal were collected daily. During a second cycle, subjects remained abstinent for 3 consecutive days during the postmenses and premenstrual phases. Although a significant omnibus F-test emerged for cigarettes per day across phases during ad libitum smoking, only trends were observed post hoc and supported midcycle rather than premenstrual elevations. There were no significant phase differences for cotinine. Withdrawal symptomatology was markedly elevated during smoking abstinence and in women with a history of depression. but showed no evidence of phase effects. Thus, the hypothesis that depressed individuals would be differentially affected by phase and abstinence was not strongly supported by our results, though overall elevations emphasize the need for special attention to withdrawal severity in this population. Craving was significantly elevated during smoking abstinence and was significantly higher during postmenses, consistent with the midcycle elevation in smoking rate, but showed no group differences. Our findings overall lend little support for the need to control for menstrual phase under conditions of ad libitum smoking. The strong association of self-reported menstrually related dysphoria during abstinence with both craving and withdrawal symptoms, however, is consistent with an exacerbation of smoking abstinence effects in women with severe menstrual symptomatology.

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