Aims: Evaluation of the clinical efficacy and safety of a nicotine 2-mg sublingual tablet in smoking cessation.
Design: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of smokers using the 2-mg tablet for 3-6 months with follow-up to 12 months. Dosing was established according to baseline nicotine dependence, scored on the Fagerström Tolerance Questionnaire (FTQ): FTQ > or = 7, two tablets/hour (maximum 40/day); FTQ < 7, one tablet/hour (maximum 20/day).
Setting: Smoking cessation programme in a department of oral and maxillofacial surgery.
Participants: A total of 247 adult smokers, smoking > or = 10 cigarettes/day for > or = 3 years, of whom 123 received active and 124 placebo treatment. The study was powered to detect difference at 6 months.
Measurements: Efficacy and safety were evaluated at 6 weeks and 3, 6 and 12 months. Self-reported abstinence was verified by exhaled CO < 10 p.p.m.
Findings: Success rates for complete abstinence (no slips after 2 weeks) for active vs. placebo were 50% vs. 29% at 6 weeks, 42% vs. 23% at 3 months, 33% vs. 18% at 6 months and 23% vs. 15% at 12 months (p < 0.001, 0.001, 0.005 and p = 0.14), respectively. Craving during the first 8 days was significantly reduced among highly dependent smokers on active treatment compared to placebo. Baseline mucosal lesions among abstinent subjects were reduced during the treatment period and at the non-treatment follow-up. Adverse events were mild and tolerable, the most common being irritation and soreness in the mouth and throat.
Conclusion: The nicotine sublingual tablet increased the smoking cessation rate compared to placebo, reduced craving in highly dependent smokers and was well tolerated.