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Nasal spray ‘doubles quit rates’



By Christian Duffin

Nicotine nasal spray, along with brief support, is effective at encouraging smokers to quit, UK researchers have found.

In a randomised controlled trial twice as many patients prescribed a nicotine nasal spray as nicotine replacement therapy had quit smoking compared with those who took a placebo.

Researchers from Cancer Research UK randomised 761 heavy smokers at 27 English general practices to 12 weeks of treatment with either brief support and nicotine nasal spray or a placebo.

The spray contained 50ml nicotine delivered in 0.5mg doses per spray, which smokers were advised to use whenever they felt cravings, up to maximum of 3 doses per hour.

15.4% of smokers given a nasal spray had quit at the end of 12 weeks, compared with 6.7% of those on placebo. Quitting was defined as complete abstinence throughout weeks three to 12. But nasal spray users were more likely to report severe nausea and severe throat irritation than placebo users.

Study leader Dr John Stapleton, a statistician at University College London, concluded: ‘Our results give reassurance concerning the efficacy of the other nicotine replacement therapy formulations commonly prescribed, but untested in primary care.’

Addiction, 4 January 2011

Nasal spray ‘doubles quit rates’