Smokers who receive treatment with an extended nicotine patch are more likely to quit smoking or give it up for a longer period of time than those adopting the standard regimen.
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine found that smokers on nicotine patch were about two times as likely to have been successful in kicking the habit than those who received a placebo patch.
Lead author Robert Schnoll, an associate professor of Psychiatry, and senior author Caryn Lerman, a Mary W. Calkins Professor of Psychiatry and Deputy Director of the Abramson Cancer Center, further observed those receiving extended therapy were more likely to stop smoking again even if they relapsed.
Schnoll said: "Our data suggest that the many smokers who relapse while trying to quit will be especially helped by extended treatment, which appears to make it easier for smokers to 'get back on the wagon' after a small smoking slip, instead of having it turn into a full-blown relapse.
"We know that tobacco dependence is a chronic, relapsing condition that may require extended treatment, and we hope our research efforts will encourage physicians to recommend to their patients that they use nicotine patches for a longer duration."
Lerman added: "While we have documented that extended therapy is more efficacious overall than standard therapy, not everyone benefits equally. Therefore, our team is using genetic approaches to identify smokers who will achieve the greatest benefit from an extended or maintenance therapy approach."
The study was due to be published in Annals of Internal Medicine.