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J Subst Abuse Treat. 2003 Jan;24(1):13-8.

Prolonged nicotine patch use in quitters with past abstinence-induced depressed mood.

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Nicotine Research Laboratory, Behavioral Medicine Program, Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan Medical School, 475 Market Place, Suite L, Box 5, Ann Arbor, MI 48108, USA.


To test the efficacy of sustained nicotine patch use among at-risk smokers, 55 smokers with a history of abstinence-induced depressed mood were randomly assigned to either Nicotine Maintenance or Standard Treatment following preliminary high-dose patch treatment. The Nicotine Maintenance group received 21 mg transdermal nicotine for 8 additional weeks; the Standard Treatment group followed a tapered dosing regimen. Significant differences favoring the Nicotine Maintenance group were found in self-reported craving but not withdrawal. No difference was observed in continuous abstinence or in relapse rates. When dropouts who did not relapse during patch use were classified as successful, however, the Nicotine Maintenance group had significantly lower relapse rates. Rate of lapse in the Nicotine Maintenance group during post-trial tapering did not differ significantly from that in the Standard Treatment group during tapering in the trial, suggesting that the benefits of sustained dosing may persist only as long as dosing continues.

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