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Nicotine Tob Res. 2005 Aug;7(4):541-6.

U.K. general practitioners' beliefs, attitudes, and reported prescribing of nicotine replacement therapy in pregnancy.

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Division of Primary Care, University of Nottingham, Medical School, Nottingham, United Kingdom.


Clinical guidelines recommend that U.K. health professionals prescribe NRT in pregnancy. The present study was conducted to determine (a) general practitioners' confidence in their ability to deliver a range of smoking cessation interventions, including NRT, in pregnancy, (b) the frequency with which general practitioners recall prescribing NRT in pregnancy, and (c) the factors that influence general practitioners to prescribe NRT in pregnancy. We conducted a mail survey of 368 general practitioners (family physicians) working in four districts of Nottingham, England (response rate = 68.6%). Some 27.1% of respondents recalled prescribing NRT to pregnant women (9.2% were unsure). General practitioners were less confident about their ability to prescribe NRT in pregnancy than they were of their ability to deliver other simple smoking cessation interventions in pregnancy. Most general practitioners (62%) believed NRT to be effective in pregnancy and safer than smoking (70%), but fewer (45%) believed NRT to be safe in pregnancy per se. Multiple logistic regression demonstrated that general practitioners who believed NRT use in pregnancy was safer than smoking were most likely to recall having prescribed it, OR = 4.94, 95% CI = 1.31-18.71. Many general practitioners were unsure about the safety of NRT in pregnancy, which may explain their relatively low confidence in their ability to prescribe NRT in pregnancy, compared with other interventions. The key factor influencing general practitioners' prescribing decisions was a belief that NRT use in pregnancy was likely to be safer than smoking. Empirical evidence about the safety and efficacy of NRT use in pregnancy is required to inform general practitioners' decisions about prescribing NRT to pregnant women who smoke.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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