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Clin Pharmacol Ther. 1990 Mar;47(3):323-30.

Transdermal nicotine facilitates smoking cessation.

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Department of Psychiatry, Duke University, Durham, NC.


The efficacy of a transdermal nicotine patch in facilitation of smoking cessation was evaluated in a randomized double-blind trial. Sixty-five smokers who were highly dependent on cigarettes participated in the study, which included a behavioral smoking-cessation program. The rates of continuous abstinence were significantly higher in the nicotine group both initially (55% versus 34%) and at 3 weeks (18% versus 6%). Certain smoking withdrawal symptoms, including negative affect and hypoarousal, were effectively relieved by the nicotine patch. There was a trend toward a reduction in cigarette craving, whereas hunger and habit withdrawal symptoms were not affected. The main side effect associated with the nicotine patch was skin irritation. These findings suggest that a nicotine skin patch may be a useful aid to smoking cessation; however, the combination of other techniques with nicotine replacement may provide a more effective treatment for symptoms such as craving for cigarettes.

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