Naltrexone, the drug with the potential to
double a man's chances to quit smoking, does not seem to help women in the same
way, says a new study.
However, as a
way of making up, naltrexone has the ability to bring down weight gain in women
who have quit smoking although it does not have any effect in bringing down
post-smoking bulge in men.
According to researcher
Andrea King, who is a clinical psychologist and addiction expert, the findings
are very confusing as the benefits of the naltrexone are very distinct in both
is an opioid blocker that has long been used in the management of alcohol and
heroin addiction. Being a prescription drug, it is already in the arsenal kit
of doctors and is being recommended for various reasons in men and women.
The study was carried out
on 700 smokers who were using tobacco patches during the study period. After
using the drug for a 12-week period, the chances of men giving up the killer
weed increased from a mere 17 % to 30 %. The percentage of additional women
quitting smoking was negligible.
However, the women who
were on naltrexone gained an average weight of just over one kilogram after the
trial period which lasted three months. Women who were not given the drug had a
weight gain of two kilograms (double) approximately.
After a period of six
months, the women who were given naltrexone had gained 40 per cent less weight
on an average than their counterparts. After a year, this dropped to 20%.
Women are not too ready to
quit smoking; the main reason behind this being weight gain post quitting.
Naltrexone may be seen as a weapon against weight gain in women. Although there
have been other drugs that have delayed weight gain in women who quit smoking,
no other drug showed its weight loss effects even after months of weaning off
In the case of men,
naltrexone helps tremendously in getting them to quit smoking but does little
to prevent weight gain. The researchers have no explanation regarding this
gender disparity. They believe that hormones or other psychological factors
could be playing a role in the functioning of the drug.
The results of the
study appear in the December issue of the journal†Biological Psychiatry.