Using a nicotine patch before quitting smoking can double success rates, revealed by researchers at the Duke University Medical Center. This should be highlighted on nicotine patch labeling.
“Right now, the nicotine patch is only recommended for use after the quit date,” explains Jed Rose, PhD, director of the Duke Center for Nicotine and Smoking Research and lead author of the paper that is published online in the current issue of the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research.
The current labeling resulted from concerns that using a patch while smoking could lead to nicotine overdose. However, a literature review found concurrent use of a nicotine patch and cigarette smoking appears to be safe.
People who use the patch before quitting are likely to spontaneously reduce the number of cigarettes they smoke because the patch satisfies their need for nicotine and makes the act of smoking less enjoyable,” he says. It also decreases withdrawal symptoms. “Yet people are afraid to try a pre-cessation patch because the current labeling recommends users not smoke while on treatment,” Rose says.
“That’s why our study is so important. It reinforces the findings of previous studies, which show the value of pre-cessation patch therapy, and demonstrates that using a pre-cessation nicotine patch can make a significant difference in a person’s ability to quit.”
In an effort to find a successful smoking cessation method, Rose and his colleagues randomized 400 people who smoked an average of slightly more than one pack of cigarettes per day. Twenty-two percent of participants in the pre-cessation nicotine patch groups abstained from smoking continuously for at least 10 weeks, compared to 11 percent in the placebo patch groups.
Rose also believes similar pre-cessation intervention may work for other drugs used for smoking cessation, but more research is needed to support that hypothesis.
Source: Duke University Health System, USA