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Effect of high-dose nicotine patch on craving and negative affect leading up to lapse episodes
Rationale: Nicotine patches have been reliably demonstrated to improve smoking cessation outcomes but most users still lapse, and then relapse, during treatment. While patch has been shown to alleviate background cravings, its effects on cue-induced cravings — which have been linked to the occurrence of lapse events — are poorly understood.
Objectives: Here we investigate the effect of nicotine patch on the intensity of craving and negative affect experienced during the hours immediately preceding lapse episodes.
Methods: Participants were 185 smokers who had quit in the context of a randomized, double-blind trial of high-dose (35 mg) nicotine patch and who lapsed at least once during the first 5 weeks of treatment. Participants used electronic diaries to monitor their smoking, affect, and craving during their cessation attempt.
Results and conclusions: The data suggest that developments on the lapse day—either external events or changes in internal states—caused craving and negative affect to rise, cumulating in the lapse. Nicotine is known to lower background craving and negative affect, but the difference between patch and placebo appeared to dissipate in the hours immediately preceding lapse episodes. Understanding the process by which these symptoms "spike" prior to a lapse — and developing treatments to counter it — are worthy research endeavors.
Cancer Council of Tasmania
Department/SchoolSchool of Pharmacy and Pharmacology
Place of publicationGermany
Rights statementCopyright 2014 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg