Continuing to wear nicotine patches after smoking lapses promotes recovery of abstinence
Article first published online: 22 MAR 2012
© 2012 The Authors, Addiction © 2012 Society for the Study of Addiction
Volume 107, Issue 7, pages 1349–1353, July 2012
How to Cite
Ferguson, S. G., Gitchell, J. G. and Shiffman, S. (2012), Continuing to wear nicotine patches after smoking lapses promotes recovery of abstinence. Addiction, 107: 1349–1353. doi: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2012.03801.x
- Issue published online: 6 JUN 2012
- Article first published online: 22 MAR 2012
- Accepted manuscript online: 26 JAN 2012 05:41AM EST
- Submitted 10 October 2011; initial review completed 23 November 2011; final version accepted 10 January 2012
- Nicotine patch;
- nicotine replacement therapy;
- relapse prevention;
- smoking cessation
Aims Smokers who lapse during a cessation attempt are at particularly high risk of relapse, so interventions to help smokers recover from lapses are urgently needed. Two recent studies have suggested continuing to use nicotine patches following a lapse may be a beneficial relapse prevention strategy. However, to date no study that uses approved doses of nicotine patches under real-world conditions has tested this hypothesis.
Design and setting Clinical trial conducted across eight US study sites.
Participants and measurements Using data from 509 subjects (240 active; 269 placebo) who lapsed during weeks 3–5 of treatment in a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled trial of 21-mg nicotine patches, we examined whether active nicotine patch use improved the chances of recovering abstinence (7-day point-prevalence) at weeks 6 and 10.
Findings Active patch use (versus placebo) increased the likelihood of recovery from a lapse both at 6 weeks [8.3% versus 0.8%; relative risk (RR) = 11.0, P < 0.001] and at 10 weeks (9.6% versus 2.6%; RR = 3.7, P < 0.001).
Conclusions Continuing treatment to aid smoking cessation with active patches promotes recovery from lapses. Smokers should be encouraged to persist with patch treatment if they lapse to smoking.