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Exp Clin Psychopharmacol. 2007 Feb;15(1):81-92.

High-dose transdermal nicotine and naltrexone: effects on nicotine withdrawal, urges, smoking, and effects of smoking.

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Research Service, Providence Veterans Affairs Medical Center, RI, USA.


Although treatment with transdermal nicotine replacement (TNR) has improved smoking abstinence rates, higher doses of TNR could improve effects on urge to smoke, nicotine withdrawal, and reinforcement from smoking, and naltrexone might further reduce reinforcement and urges. A laboratory investigation with 134 smokers using a 3 x 2 parallel-group design evaluated the effects of TNR (42-mg, 21-mg, or 0-mg patch) as crossed with a single dose of naltrexone (50 mg) versus placebo on urge to smoke, withdrawal, and responses to an opportunity to smoke (intake, subjective effects) after 10 hr of deprivation. Urge and withdrawal were assessed both prior to and after cigarette cue exposure. Only 42 mg TNR, not 21 mg, prevented urge to smoke, heart rate change, and cue-elicited increase in withdrawal. Both 21 and 42 mg TNR blocked cue-elicited drop in heart rate and arterial pressure. Naltrexone reduced cue-elicited withdrawal symptoms but not urges to smoke or deprivation-induced withdrawal prior to cue exposure. Neither medication significantly affected carbon monoxide intake or subjective effects of smoking except that 42 mg TNR resulted in lower subjective physiological activation. No interaction effects were found, and no results differed by gender. Results suggest that starting smokers with 42 mg TNR may increase comfort during initial abstinence, but limited support is seen for naltrexone during smoking abstinence.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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