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Addiction. 2000 Aug;95(8):1185-95.

Comparative efficacy of 24-hour and 16-hour transdermal nicotine patches for relief of morning craving.

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University of Pittsburgh, Smoking Research Group, PA 15260, USA.



To compare a transdermal nicotine patch designed for 24-hour wear with one designed for 16-hour wear for relief of craving and withdrawal, particularly in the morning hours.


Smokers were randomly assigned to use one of two common patch regimens: NicoDerm/NiQuitin (24-hour wear, 21 mg nicotine) or Nicotrol/Nicorette (16-hour wear, 15 mg). In a double-dummy design, participants wore two patches during the day, one active, one placebo and one patch while sleeping.


A smoking cessation research clinic.


Two hundred and forty-four smokers who suffered morning cravings.


Two patch formulations approved and marketed for over-the-counter use in the US--NicoDerm CQ (labeled as 21 mg over 24 hours) and Nicotrol (labeled as 15 mg over 16 hours)--were each used according to its instructions. Smokers also received behavioral counseling.


For a week of baseline and 2 weeks after quitting, smokers used palm-top computers to assess craving and withdrawal symptoms several times each day.


The 21 mg/24-hour patch yielded consistently better control of craving, not only during the morning hours, but throughout the day, and over the 2-week period of abstinence. Additionally, the 21 mg/24-hour patch yielded greater reductions in anxiety, irritability and restlessness. Smokers using the 21 mg/24-hour dosing regimen also experienced longer abstinence than those using the 15 mg/16-hour patch.


These findings demonstrate that 24-hour dosing with a 21 mg patch affords superior relief of craving and withdrawal during the first 2 weeks of abstinence, when symptoms are at their peak, and when relapse is most likely. They confirm the importance of dosing parameters in nicotine replacement products.

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