BETHESDA, Md--A surprising finding of a smoking cessation study
using behavioral therapy is that highly depressed men, but not
highly depressed women, must also have nicotine replacement therapy
to keep from relapsing, Paul M. Cinciripini, PhD, said at a symposium
on tobacco addiction sponsored by ASCO and the NCI.
In this study of 120 smokers randomized to receive either behavioral
therapy alone or behavioral therapy plus the nicotine patch, smokers
were subdivided at randomization into high depression or low depression
categories based on their initial score on the Profile of Mood
States (POMS) depression scale.
Dr. Cinciripini, associate professor of behavioral science, the
University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, described the
therapy used in the study as "9 weeks of highly structured,
highly interactive cognitive behavioral group counseling, fairly
heavy-duty behavioral intervention, and relapse prevention."
The study produced three major results: (1) Smokers who got the
patch did better at quitting than those who did not. (2) Smokers
in the low-depression group did better than those with high depression.
(3) When looking only at the high-depression group, the patch
helped the men more so than the women.
High-depressed female smokers did equally well if they got the
combination therapy or behavioral therapy alone, both at the end
of treatment and at 6 months. In contrast, he said, "high-depressed
males had about a zero chance of being abstinent at 6 months if
they did not receive the patch." Thus, he said, it appears
that for highly depressed women, behavioral therapy may be "fundamentally