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Smoking cessation during alcohol treatment: a randomized trial of combination nicotine patch plus nicotine gum


Ned L. Cooney, VA Connecticut Healthcare System/116A-3, 555 Willard Avenue, Newington, CT 06111, USA.


Aims  The primary aim was to compare the efficacy of smoking cessation treatment using a combination of active nicotine patch plus active nicotine gum versus therapy consisting of active nicotine patch plus placebo gum in a sample of alcohol-dependent tobacco smokers in an early phase of out-patient alcohol treatment. A secondary aim was to determine whether or not there were any carry-over effects of combination nicotine replacement on drinking outcomes.

Design  Small-scale randomized double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial with 1-year smoking and drinking outcome assessment.

Setting  Two out-patient substance abuse clinics provided a treatment platform of behavioral alcohol and smoking treatment delivered in 3 months of weekly sessions followed by three monthly booster sessions.

Participants  Participants were 96 men and women with a diagnosis of alcohol abuse or dependence and smoking 15 or more cigarettes per day.

Intervention  All participants received open-label transdermal nicotine patches and were randomized to receive either 2 mg nicotine gum or placebo gum under double-blind conditions.

Findings  Analysis of 1-year follow-up data revealed that patients receiving nicotine patch plus active gum had better smoking outcomes than those receiving patch plus placebo gum on measures of time to smoking relapse and prolonged abstinence at 12 months. Alcohol outcomes were not significantly different across medication conditions.

Conclusions  Results of this study were consistent with results of larger trials of smokers without alcohol problems, showing that combination therapy (nicotine patch plus gum) is more effective than monotherapy (nicotine patch) for smoking cessation.