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Keywords:

  • Cognitive therapy;
  • nicotine dependence;
  • nicotine patch;
  • nortriptyline;
  • prisoner;
  • smoking cessation

Abstract

Aim

To evaluate the efficacy of nortriptyline (NOR) added to a multi-component smoking cessation intervention, which included cognitive–behavioural therapy (CBT) and provision of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT).

Design

Randomized controlled trial (RCT) comparing two study groups with blinded follow-up at 3, 6 and 12 months. Both groups received a multi-component smoking cessation intervention comprising two half-hour individual sessions of CBT and NRT with either active NOR or placebo.

Setting

Prisons in New South Wales (17) and Queensland (one), Australia.

Participants

A total of 425 male prisoners met inclusion criteria and were allocated to either treatment (n = 206) or control group (n = 219).

Measurements

Primary end-points at 3, 6 and 12 months were continuous abstinence, point prevalence abstinence and reporting a 50% reduction in smoking. Smoking status was confirmed by expired carbon monoxide, using a cut-point of ≤10 parts per million.

Findings

Participants' demographics and baseline tobacco use were similar in treatment and control groups. Based on an intention-to-treat analysis, continuous abstinence between the treatment and control groups was not significantly different at 3 months (23.8 versus 16.4%), 6 months (17.5 versus 12.3%) and 12 months (11.7 versus 11.9%).

Conclusion

Adding nortriptyline to a smoking cessation treatment package consisting of behavioural support and nicotine replacement therapy does not appear to improve long-term abstinence rates in male prisoners.