Background: This study was undertaken to evaluate the long-term smoking cessation efficacy of varying doses of transdermal nicotine delivery systems 4 to 5 years post-quit day.
Methods: A follow-up study was conducted 48 to 62 months after quit day among patients who were enrolled in the Transdermal Nicotine Study Group investigation. The latter study included group smoking cessation counseling and randomized assignment to 21, 14, or 7 mg nicotine patches or placebo patches. Seven of nine smoking cessation research centers participated in the long term follow-up investigation.
Results: The self-reported continuous quit rate among patients originally assigned 21 mg (20.2%) was significantly higher than rates for patients assigned 14 mg (10.4%), 7 mg (11.8%), or placebo patches (7.4%). Log rank survival analysis found no difference in relapse rates after 1 year postcessation. Smokers under age 30 years were significantly less likely to be abstinent at long term follow-up compared to smokers > or = 30 years of age (3 vs 13%, respectively). Mean weight gain in confirmed continuous quitters was 10.1 kg in men and 8.0 kg in women. Of the 63 continuous abstainers surveyed, 30 respondents (48%) reported that they no longer craved cigarettes, and no individual reported daily craving for cigarettes.
Conclusions: Nicotine patch therapy with 21 mg/day patches resulted in a significantly higher long-term continuous abstinence rate compared to lower dose patches and placebo. Relapse rates among the various treatment conditions were similar after 1 year postcessation.