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 Hot cars can hit deadly temperatures in as little as one hour
24.05.2018 | Arizona State University

nachricht 3D images of cancer cells in the body: Medical physicists from Halle present new method
16.05.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

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: Powerful IT security for the car of the future – research alliance develops new approaches

The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.

Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...

Im Focus: Molecular switch will facilitate the development of pioneering electro-optical devices

A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.

The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Flow probes from the 3D printer

25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering

Less is more? Gene switch for healthy aging found

25.05.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>