Transdermal nicotine and smoking reduction - Tips From Other Journals

Date: August, 1991

Cigarette smoking is especially prevalent among psychiatric patients. As more PSYchiatric facilities restrict cigarette smoking, smoking cessation and nicotine withdrawal will become important concerns. Smoking cessation programs in psychiatric patients may be hindered by patients' low motivation to quit and impaired cognitive functioning (which precludes the use of nicotine gum with its detailed instructions). Transdermal administration of nicotine is uncomplicated and may decrease smoking even among persons with little or no desire to quit. Hartman and colleagues conducted a study to evaluate the effectiveness of transdermal nicotine administration in reducing cigarette smoking in psychiatric patients.

Fourteen male psychiatric patients who reported having smoked an average of 22.9 cigarettes a day for approximately 20 years were included in the study. The study was double-blinded, and each patient served as his own control. Cigarette use was assessed for seven hours after placement of nicotine and placebo patches. The men had free access to cigarettes throughout the study.

A moderate but statistically significant reduction in the number of cigarettes smoked occurred while the nicotine patch was worn, compared with the number of cigarettes smoked while the placebo patch was worn. This effect seemed independent of the patient's interest in smoking cessation. The nicotine patch was most effective in reducing smoking among patients who were heavy smokers.

The authors conclude that transdermally administered nicotine can be a useful adjunct in nicotine-addicted psychiatric patients in a smoke-free setting, even when they do not want to stop smoking. (American Journal of Psychiatry, March 1991, vol. 148, P. 374.)

COPYRIGHT 1991 American Academy of Family PhysiciansCOPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group

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