Effects of gender on relapse prevention in smokers treated with bupropion SR

Am J Prev Med. 2002 May;22(4):234-9. doi: 10.1016/s0749-3797(02)00419-1.


Background: Recent data suggest that women smokers respond differently than men to cessation pharmacotherapies, particularly nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). Lower abstinence and higher relapse rates are often reported for women treated with NRT. Gender effects for those treated with non-nicotinic, bupropion-hydrochloride sustained release for relapse prevention have not been studied.

Methods: Data from a multicenter relapse-prevention (RP) trial of bupropion (November 1995-June 1998) were analyzed for gender differences. Men and women smokers (N=784) were treated with open-label bupropion for 7 weeks. Those abstinent at Week 7 (n=432) were enrolled in the double-blind relapse-prevention phase and randomized to placebo or continued bupropion for 45 additional weeks.

Results: Differences in point-prevalence abstinence rates between men (61.8%) and women (55.6%) in open-label bupropion (Week 7) were not significant. In the RP-phase Week 52, continuous abstinence rates for men and women were 37.8% and 36.4% (bupropion) and 36.6% and 29.9% (placebo), respectively; point-prevalence abstinence rates for men and women were 54.1% and 55.9% (bupropion) and 42.9% and 41.3% (placebo), respectively. Abstinence rates and time to relapse were superior for both men and women who received longer treatment. Gender differences within treatment groups were not significant. Median time to relapse was equal for men and women within each treatment group: Week 32 for bupropion and Week 20 for placebo.

Conclusions: Our data suggest that bupropion is a promising pharmacotherapy for preventing relapse, particularly for women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antidepressive Agents, Second-Generation / administration & dosage
  • Antidepressive Agents, Second-Generation / therapeutic use*
  • Bupropion / administration & dosage
  • Bupropion / therapeutic use*
  • Counseling
  • Delayed-Action Preparations
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Recurrence
  • Sex Distribution
  • Smoking Cessation / methods*


  • Antidepressive Agents, Second-Generation
  • Delayed-Action Preparations
  • Bupropion