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J Dual Diagn. 2008 Oct 1;4(4):355-376.

Open-Label Study of Craving in Smokers With Schizophrenia Using Nicotine Nasal Spray Compared to Nicotine Patch.

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Jill M. Williams, Kunal K. Gandhi, Maria Katsamanis Karavidas, Marc L. Steinberg, and Jonathan Foulds are affiliated with the University of Medicine and Dentistry, New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, New Brunswick, NJ. Jill M. Williams, Marc L. Steinberg, Shou-En Lu, and Jonathan Foulds are affiliated with the University of Medicine and Dentistry, New Jersey-School of Public Health, New Brunswick, NJ.



Nicotine nasal spray (NNS) may be better for relieving acute cigarette cravings than other nicotine replacement and it may help smokers with schizophrenia because of its rapid onset of action.


We tested whether NNS was more effective than a nicotine patch (NP; 21 mg) in reducing cue-induced craving during a 3-day abstinence.


Twenty-five smokers with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder (SA) were randomized to open-label NNS or NP treatment after baseline measures of craving were assessed. NNS users were instructed to dose at a minimum of 1/hour and up to a maximum of 40/day. Averages from a 4-item visual analogue scale (need, urge, want to smoke, crave a cigarette) measured craving.


Five subjects who smoked (4 NP, 1 NNS) were excluded, leaving 21 (11 NP, 10 NNS) for analyses. No differences were detected between groups on baseline craving. On day 3, NNS users reported significantly less craving in response to smoking cues compared to NP users (mean craving scores: NNS, 7.0; NP, 20.3; p = .014). A repeated measure ANCOVA demonstrated significantly reduced craving in the NNS group compared to the NP group from baseline to day 3 (F = 5.09; p = .037). NNS users took an average of 20 doses/day, and NNS was rated as being as easy to use as NP.


The potential utility of NNS in smokers with schizophrenia supports the need for placebo-controlled studies.

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