The influence of transdermal nicotine on tobacco/nicotine abstinence and the effects of a concurrently administered cigarette in women and men

Exp Clin Psychopharmacol. 2008 Apr;16(2):99-112. doi: 10.1037/1064-1297.16.2.99.


Transdermal nicotine (TN) is an efficacious smoking cessation pharmacotherapy thought to work, in part, by attenuating the effects of tobacco/nicotine abstinence and the effects of concurrently smoked cigarettes. Clinical trials suggest that TN may be less efficacious for women. This study explored the possibility of TN-related gender differences in > or = 8 hour abstinent smokers (54 women, 70 men) who completed four within-subject, double-blind, placebo-controlled sessions corresponding to 0, 7, 14, and 21 mg TN. In each approximately 6.5-hr long session participants smoked an own-brand cigarette 4 hours after TN administration and physiological and subjective outcomes were examined throughout each session. Results revealed that TN suppressed some signs and symptoms of tobacco abstinence and attenuated some effects of smoking, and these effects were not dependent on gender. Women were more sensitive to the direct effects of nicotine (e.g., ratings of Nauseous) and, independent of TN dose, self-administered less nicotine when smoking and rated smoking as less rewarding. Thus, although this study does not shed light on clinical observations that TN is less effective for women, results suggest that TN might need to be combined with other interventions to supplement its effects on tobacco/nicotine abstinence and concurrent smoking.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Menstrual Cycle
  • Nicotine / administration & dosage*
  • Nicotine / adverse effects
  • Nicotine / blood
  • Nicotinic Agonists / administration & dosage*
  • Nicotinic Agonists / adverse effects
  • Nicotinic Agonists / blood
  • Sex Characteristics*
  • Smoking / psychology*
  • Tobacco Use Cessation
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / drug therapy*
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / physiopathology
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / psychology


  • Nicotinic Agonists
  • Nicotine