A preliminary placebo-controlled trial of selegiline hydrochloride for smoking cessation

Biol Psychiatry. 2003 Jan 15;53(2):136-43. doi: 10.1016/s0006-3223(02)01454-3.


Background: Since dopaminergic mechanisms appear to be involved in nicotine dependence, we studied the safety and efficacy of the monoamine oxidase B inhibitor selegiline hydrochloride compared with placebo for smoking cessation in nicotine-dependent cigarette smokers.

Methods: Forty subjects with DSM-IV nicotine dependence were randomized to: 1) selegiline hydrochloride (5 mg p.o. twice daily) or 2) placebo in an 8-week trial. Outcome measures included smoking cessation rates, treatment retention, and medication side effects.

Results: Selegiline hydrochloride increased trial end point (week 8) 7-day point prevalence smoking cessation rates (selegiline hydrochloride, 9/20 [45.0%]; placebo, 3/20 [15.0%], odds ratio = 4.64, 95% CI, 1.02-21.00, p <.05), and smoking cessation rates during the last 4 weeks of the trial (selegiline hydrochloride, 6/20 [30.0%]; placebo, 1/20 [5.0%], odds ratio = 8.14, 95% CI, 0.88-75.48, p =.07) in comparison with placebo. Six-month follow-up 7-day point prevalence smoking cessation rates were reduced compared with trial end point (selegiline hydrochloride, 4/20 [20.0%]; placebo, 1/20 [5.0%], odds ratio = 4.75, 95% CI, 0.48-46.91, p =.18). Treatment retention was similar between drug and placebo groups (p =.13), and selegiline hydrochloride was well tolerated in cigarette smokers.

Conclusion: This preliminary study suggests that selegiline (10 mg/day) is safe for use and enhances smoking cessation rates compared with placebo in nicotine-dependent cigarette smokers.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Selegiline / therapeutic use*
  • Smoking / drug therapy*
  • Smoking Cessation*
  • Time Factors


  • Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors
  • Selegiline