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(Drug information on 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 important."