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Drug, nicotine patch helps smokers quit

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DENVER, Nov 08, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- Antidepressant medication nortriptyline, combined with use of a transdermal nicotine patch, may help in smoking cessation, a U.S. study found.

The study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, found that after six months, cessation rates were 23 percent for those taking nortriptyline and 10 percent for those taking a placebo.

Dr. Allan Prochazka of the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver found neither group experienced a reduction in withdrawal symptoms, however the nortriptyline group had a significantly higher rate of adverse effects than the placebo group.

Thirty-eight percent of those who used the medication with the nicotine patch experienced dry mouth and 20 percent experienced drowsiness. Nortriptyline was discontinued in 13 percent of participants due to adverse effects, Prochazka said.

"It is also clear from our data that subjects treated with nortriptyline require close monitoring for adverse events," the researcher wrote. "However nortriptyline combined with transdermal nicotine may prove to be a useful alternative for smokers in whom first-line smoking cessation therapies have failed."

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.


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