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Pre-cessation patch doubles quit success rate: Researchers call for labeling changes
Date:7/9/2009

DURHAM, N.C. -- Using a nicotine patch before quitting smoking can double success rates, according to Duke University Medical Center researchers. They say their latest data suggest changes should be made to nicotine patch labeling.

"Right now, the nicotine patch is only recommended for use after the quit date," explains Jed Rose, 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."

Nearly 25 percent of the population continues to smoke despite the known health risks, according to previously published research. And, up to 90 percent of smokers who receive nicotine replacement therapy relapse within one year.

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. They were put in four groups who either used a nicotine or placebo patch for two weeks prior to quitting smoking. They
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Contact: Debbe Geiger
Debbe.Geiger@duke.com
919-660-9461
Duke University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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