Short-Term Nicotine Patch Use Effective
LOS ANGELES (Reuters Health) - Smokers who want to try the nicotine patch but doubt their ability to stick to the 10-week course may now be able to get results within just four weeks, researchers report.
Researchers at the Naval Medical Center in Portsmouth, Virginia, randomly assigned 375 smoking cessation program participants to either a standard 10-week course of tapering-dose nicotine patches or an experimental four-week course. Study findings were presented here at the annual meeting of the American Society of Addiction Medicine.
Of the original participants, 147 completed the study--72 in the experimental group and 75 in the standard treatment group. Sixteen weeks after the study began, 40% percent of those in the four-week program successfully quit. In the 10-week group, 24% had quit. The researchers determined whether people had quit by monitoring the amount of carbon monoxide in their breath. The individuals in the study also told the researchers whether or not they had been able to stay off cigarettes.
The study participants were not monitored after the 16-week point. ``Longer-term follow-up is very difficult because our military population moves so frequently,'' Lieutenant Commander Dr. Edward David Simmer, the study's lead researcher, told Reuters Health.
``All study subjects participated in support groups in addition to using the patch,'' Simmer said. His team is planning an additional study to determine if the results will be the same without participation in support groups. ``To my knowledge, this hasn't yet been investigated,'' he noted.