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More smokers kick the habit with extended nicotine patch therapy, Penn research shows
Date:2/1/2010

y after week eight. The benefits also extended to those who relapsed during the study: The smokers on extended therapy abstained from cigarettes for longer, and were more likely to stop smoking again even if they relapsed.

When the researchers followed up with participants at week 52, however, they found no difference in the main measures of smoking abstinence between those who had used the extended patch therapy (14.5 percent) and those who used the standard regimen (14.3 percent), though the extended patch users were more likely (29.1 percent vs. 21.3 percent) to have reported no periods of smoking lasting more than 7 days in a row -- during the entire year.

Though drug therapies including Zyban and Chantix produce similar results to extended patch therapy, the authors say their findings provides a cessation option to more smokers, since nicotine patches are available over the counter and can be used even by people with seizure disorders or mental health problems like depression, who are generally advised not to use those drugs. The authors estimate that the cost per quitter for extended therapy costs $2,482, which is similar to other drug-related cessation aids. However, cost may remain a barrier to accessing proven smoking cessation tools: Just 8.6 percent of U.S. health insurers fully cover the cost of nicotine patches, and only 33 states pay for Medicaid patients to use the patch.

The new research is part of an ongoing effort in Penn's Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Nicotine Addiction learn more about the genetic underpinnings of nicotine addiction and tailor smoking cessation approaches to individual smokers. In addition, to buoy smokers' long-term success following extended nicotine patch therapy, the authors suggest combining cessation strategies, such as pairing extended patch use with more intensive counseling or having smokers begin using nicotine patches before their quitting attempt begins.

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Contact: Holly Auer
holly.auer@uphs.upenn.edu
215-200-2313
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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