Supported by NIAAA Grant AA-09430 and NIDA Research Scientist Award DA-00490 (JRH).
Efficacy of Nicotine Patch in Smokers With a History of Alcoholism
Article first published online: 30 MAY 2006
Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Volume 27, Issue 6, pages 946–954, June 2003
How to Cite
Hughes, J. R., Novy, P., Hatsukami, D. K., Jensen, J. and Callas, P. W. (2003), Efficacy of Nicotine Patch in Smokers With a History of Alcoholism. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 27: 946–954. doi: 10.1111/j.1530-0277.2003.tb04419.x
- Issue published online: 30 MAY 2006
- Article first published online: 30 MAY 2006
- Received for publication October 10, 2002; accepted March 11, 2003.
Background: Smokers with a history of alcohol dependence may have more difficulty quitting, might relapse to alcohol use, and might especially benefit from nicotine replacement therapy for smoking cessation.
Methods: One hundred fifteen smokers with a history of alcohol dependence (median of 5 years previously) were randomly assigned to either a 21-mg nicotine patch or placebo in a trial designed to be as similar as possible to a prior study that examined smokers with no history of alcoholism. Both studies were of heavy smokers with similar levels of nicotine dependence; thus, any differences in trials would be due to a history of alcohol problems per se.
Results: In the current trial, adjusted prolonged smoking abstinence in those with a history of alcohol dependence was higher in the active than the placebo group at end-of-treatment (28% vs. 11%; odds ratio, 3.2;p= 0.04) and at 6-month follow-up (24% vs. 6%; odds ratio, 4.9;p= 0.02). Among subjects not lost to follow-up, none reported drinking problems or increases in craving for alcohol. Smoking abstinence was not lower and the odds ratio for nicotine patch therapy was not greater in smokers with a history of alcohol dependence than in smokers with no such history.
Conclusions: Heavy smokers with a history of alcoholism benefit from nicotine patch treatment. A history of alcohol problems after a period of stable sobriety does not appear to influence smoking outcomes or response to nicotine replacement. Although no smokers relapsed to alcohol use, a trial that follows up all subjects is needed to verify this.