Evaluation of the effects of rivastigmine on cigarette smoking by methamphetamine-dependent volunteers

Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2011 Dec 1;35(8):1827-30. doi: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2011.07.006. Epub 2011 Jul 22.


Compared to smokers alone, smokers with co-morbid substance use disorders are at greater risk of suffering from smoking-related death. Despite this, relatively few studies have examined smoking cessation treatments for those with stimulant dependence. In the current study, we sought to evaluate the effects produced by short-term exposure to the cholinesterase inhibitor rivastigmine (0, 3 or 6 mg) on cigarette smoking in non-treatment-seeking, methamphetamine-dependent volunteers. This was a double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study that took place over 9 days. The data indicate that rivastigmine treatment did not alter Fagerström Test for Nicotine Dependence scores, carbon monoxide readings, or cigarettes smoked per day, but a trend toward reduced urges to smoke (p<0.09) was detected during treatment with rivastigmine 3mg. These data, while preliminary, indicate that cholinesterase inhibitors warrant consideration as treatments for nicotine dependence, including use in stimulant-dependent individuals who exhibit significantly higher rates of smoking than the general population.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Amphetamine-Related Disorders / complications*
  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Humans
  • Methamphetamine
  • Middle Aged
  • Phenylcarbamates / therapeutic use*
  • Rivastigmine
  • Smoking / drug therapy*
  • Smoking Cessation / methods*
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / complications
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / drug therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors
  • Phenylcarbamates
  • Methamphetamine
  • Rivastigmine