This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

Higher NRT dose 'boosts abstinence rates'

GPs should consider prescribing higher doses of nicotine-replacement therapy in heavy smokers to boost abstinence rates, say UK researchers.

The study

UK researchers analysed data from 633 patients smoking at least 10 cigarettes a day, who wanted to quit smoking soon. They were prescribed a nicotine patch with the dose based on the heaviness of their smoking. Individuals smoking 15 or more cigarettes daily were prescribed 21 mg/24 hour patches and those smoking 10 to 14 cigarettes daily were given 14 mg patches. Oral NRT was also given and was dependent on their genotype or level of nicotine dependence, with doses of either 6 mg or 12 mg given. Patients were treated for four weeks and followed up six months later.

The findings

Higher doses of NRT led to higher consumption, which in turn was associated with increased rates of abstinence. Patients on higher doses were 5% more likely to have abstained at four weeks than those on lower doses, with each additional milligram per day consumed linked with increased likelihood of abstinence of 5%.

What does it mean for GPs?

The group concluded that the data showed ‘prescribing higher doses does lead to higher consumption,’ and that the results ‘support prescribing higher doses of NRT where clinically appropriate.’

Nicotine and Tobacco Research 2013, online 19 February

Have your say