Comparative Efficacy of Rapid-Release Nicotine Gum Versus Nicotine Polacrilex Gum in Relieving Smoking Cue-Provoked Craving

Published in: Addiction, v. 100, no. 11, Nov. 2005, p. 1720-1730

by Raymond Niaura, Michael Sayette, Saul Shiffman, Elbert D. Glover, Mitch Nides, Morris Shelanski, William G. Shadel, Randy Koslo, Bruce Robbins, Jim Sorrentino

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AIMS: Most relapse episodes occur when smokers are confronted with craving provoked by situational cues. Current nicotine gum can help relieve cue-provoked cravings, but faster effects may result in more rapid relief. The authors tested a prototype formulation of a new rapid-release nicotine gum (RRNG) that provides more rapid release and absorption of nicotine, for its ability to provide faster and better craving relief compared to current nicotine polacrilex gum (NPG). DESIGN: Random assignment to RRNG or NPG, used during a smoking cue provocation procedure. PARTICIPANTS AND SETTING: A total of 319 smokers were exposed to a smoking cue in the laboratory by being asked to light but not smoke a cigarette of their preferred brand. Subjects then chewed a piece of 2 mg RRNG (n = 159) or 2 mg NPG (n = 160) according to randomized assignment. MEASUREMENTS: Craving assessments were completed at regular intervals before and after cue exposure (baseline, pre-cue, and 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21, 25, 30 and 35 minutes after the cue). FINDINGS: Smokers chewing RRNG showed significantly lower craving than NPG subjects starting with the first assessment at 3 minutes (P < 0.025). Repeated-measures ANOVA revealed a significant treatment * time interaction (P < 0.05)-craving scores dropped more rapidly in RRNG subjects compared to NPG subjects. Survival analyses also indicated superiority of RRNG in achieving more rapid self-reported meaningful relief (P < 0.05) and complete relief (P < 0.05) of craving. CONCLUSIONS: Rapid-release nicotine gum reduced cue-provoked craving more rapidly compared to NPG, and thus merits further study in cessation efficacy trials.

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