Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Drug may help women stop smoking

11.10.2006
Adding the opiate blocker naltrexone to the combination of behavioral therapy and nicotine patches boosted smoking cessation rates for women by almost 50 percent when assessed after eight weeks of treatment, but made no difference for men, report researchers from the University of Chicago in the October 2006 issue of the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research.

Naltrexone helped reduce the craving for cigarettes and lessened the discomforts of withdrawal for women in the study. It also reduced the weight gain often experienced by men and women in the first month after quitting.

"Women have historically had less success than men in giving up cigarettes," said study author Andrea King, Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Chicago. "In this small study, naltrexone seems to have closed that gap."

The researchers studied 110 nicotine-dependent smokers who wanted to quit. The participants, on average, had smoked about a pack a day for 25 years and had already tried to stop multiple times.

All volunteers received standard comprehensive smoking cessation treatment, including one-hour behavioral counseling sessions once a week, beginning two weeks before their quit date and lasting until four weeks after, and nicotine patches for the first month after quitting.

Half of the participants also received 50 milligrams per day of oral naltrexone, beginning three days prior to the quit date and continuing for eight weeks afterwards. The other half received identical pills that contained no medication. Neither the patients nor the researchers knew who received the drug.

Because naltrexone works by blocking some of the effects of narcotics, such as morphine, it was originally used to treat heroin addicts. It also helps reduce relapse rates in alcoholics. Scientists suspect that it inhibits the chemical signals within the brain that convey pleasure when people use drugs such as alcohol or nicotine. When the immediate rewards of drinking or smoking are blocked, people report reduced craving for alcohol or cigarettes.

In this study, success was defined as "not smoking (even one puff) daily for one week and not smoking even a puff at least one day in each of two consecutive weeks at any point in the trial." A more stringent criterion of prolonged abstinence, not smoking even one puff after the first week of quitting, was also used and showed similar results.

Fifty-two research subjects received naltrexone. In this group, after eight weeks of treatment, men and women had comparable success rates: 62 percent of men and 58 percent of women. In contrast, among the 58 research subjects who did not receive naltrexone, success remained high in men with 67 percent quitting smoking, but was significantly lower in women, with only 39 percent quitting. So, while the women on placebo had lower quit rates than men, the women taking naltrexone had quit rates similar to men.

Previous studies have found that nicotine replacement may be less effective in suppressing withdrawal symptoms in women, but the combination of the nicotine patch and naltrexone appears to restore the balance. Naltrexone helped women, but not men, get over the effects of tobacco withdrawal more quickly. Craving for cigarettes decreased over time for men and women, but it decreased faster for women taking naltrexone.

Naltrexone also prevented the weight gain that commonly comes with giving up smoking. Those who did not get the drug gained about four pounds in the first month after quitting. Those who took the drug gained only one pound. A similar study from researchers at Yale University, published earlier this year, also found that naltrexone prevented cessation-related weight gain.

Although the drug reduced weight gain for participants of both sexes, "this issue may be more salient for women," the authors note. "It follows," they suggest, "that women may preferentially respond to a medication that reduces cessation-related weight gain."

When assessed six months after treatment, however, only about one-third of the participants in this study had quit for good. "We genuinely need better ways to help people stop smoking," King said. Smoking is the number one preventable cause of death and disease in the United States, and quit rates have improved, "but we still have a long way to go."

"This preliminary study indicates that naltrexone may be beneficial as an adjunct to comprehensive smoking cessation treatment, particularly for female smokers," the authors conclude.

John Easton | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uchospitals.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht A 'half-hearted' solution to one-sided heart failure
24.11.2017 | Boston Children's Hospital

nachricht New study points the way to therapy for rare cancer that targets the young
22.11.2017 | Rockefeller University

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New proton record: Researchers measure magnetic moment with greatest possible precision

High-precision measurement of the g-factor eleven times more precise than before / Results indicate a strong similarity between protons and antiprotons

The magnetic moment of an individual proton is inconceivably small, but can still be quantified. The basis for undertaking this measurement was laid over ten...

Im Focus: Frictional Heat Powers Hydrothermal Activity on Enceladus

Computer simulation shows how the icy moon heats water in a porous rock core

Heat from the friction of rocks caused by tidal forces could be the “engine” for the hydrothermal activity on Saturn's moon Enceladus. This presupposes that...

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

IceCube experiment finds Earth can block high-energy particles from nuclear reactions

24.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 'half-hearted' solution to one-sided heart failure

24.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

Heidelberg Researchers Study Unique Underwater Stalactites

24.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>