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Medicineworld.org: Double Your Quit Rate By Wearing Nicotine Patch

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Double Your Quit Rate By Wearing Nicotine Patch

Double Your Quit Rate By Wearing Nicotine Patch
Smokers trying to quit the habit may double their success rate by wearing a nicotine patch two weeks before their actual quit date, as per a Duke University Medical Center study. Currently, the patch's label warns against smoking while wearing the patch.

In a study of 96 smokers attempting to quit, 50 percent of those who wore the patch two weeks previous to quitting had stopped at four weeks. Only 23 percent of smokers who wore a placebo patch two weeks previous to quitting had stopped after four weeks. The same pattern appeared to continue for six months, eventhough a number of of the study participants were no longer reachable to verify this trend, said the researchers.

If these findings are confirmed by a larger study currently underway, the scientists said the Food and Drug Administration may need to re-evaluate its current warning against smoking while wearing the nicotine patch. Moreover, said the researchers, such confirmation would lead them to advocate a change in clinical practice in smoking cessation programs, to include use of the patches before cessation.

Results of the study, funded by National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), are reported in the Feb. 1, 2006, issue of the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research.

The Duke scientists said that wearing a nicotine patch before a smoker attempts to quit provides a steady, consistent source of nicotine that interrupts the rapid reward of inhaling nicotine via cigarettes.

Previously, it was believed that wearing the patch while smoking was either too toxic or could fuel the addiction by adding excess nicotine. Neither of these hypotheses was confirmed in the Duke study, nor in earlier studies of smoking cessation.

In fact, a number of smokers who wore the patch before their target quit date actually smoked less than usual during that two week period, had fewer cravings, or more easily switched to a low tar/low nicotine brand, the study found. The patch also reduced the severity of withdrawal symptoms, the study showed.

"Wearing the nicotine patch partially disconnects the reward of smoking," said Jed E. Rose, Ph.D., director of the Duke Center for Nicotine and Smoking Cessation and senior author of the study. "What reinforces the addiction to smoking is the correlation between inhaling smoke and getting an immediate nicotine effect as it is absorbed by the lungs and brain."

In contrast, said Rose, smokers who wear the patch receive a steady level of nicotine. The steady influx attenuates or reduces the effect of the cigarette's dose of nicotine, because the brain is already receiving nicotine via the patch.

"When wearing a nicotine patch, the body and brain already have a certain level of nicotine, so the cigarette's delivery of nicotine is not as noticeable," said Rose. "An analogy is eating food when a person is not hungry. The pleasure is diminished and so the behavior is not as reinforcing."



Source: Duke Universtiy School of Medicine




Did you know?
Smokers trying to quit the habit may double their success rate by wearing a nicotine patch two weeks before their actual quit date, as per a Duke University Medical Center study. Currently, the patch's label warns against smoking while wearing the patch. In a study of 96 smokers attempting to quit, 50 percent of those who wore the patch two weeks previous to quitting had stopped at four weeks. Only 23 percent of smokers who wore a placebo patch two weeks previous to quitting had stopped after four weeks. The same pattern appeared to continue for six months, eventhough a number of of the study participants were no longer reachable to verify this trend, said the researchers.

Medicineworld.org: Double Your Quit Rate By Wearing Nicotine Patch

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