Highly Depressed Men Helped More by Nicotine Patch Than Women

August 1, 1996

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.

BETHESDA, Md--A surprising finding of a smoking cessation studyusing behavioral therapy is that highly depressed men, but nothighly depressed women, must also have nicotine replacement therapyto keep from relapsing, Paul M. Cinciripini, PhD, said at a symposiumon tobacco addiction sponsored by ASCO and the NCI.

In this study of 120 smokers randomized to receive either behavioraltherapy alone or behavioral therapy plus the nicotine patch, smokerswere subdivided at randomization into high depression or low depressioncategories based on their initial score on the Profile of MoodStates (POMS) depression scale.

Dr. Cinciripini, associate professor of behavioral science, theUniversity of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, described thetherapy used in the study as "9 weeks of highly structured,highly interactive cognitive behavioral group counseling, fairlyheavy-duty behavioral intervention, and relapse prevention."

The study produced three major results: (1) Smokers who got thepatch did better at quitting than those who did not. (2) Smokersin the low-depression group did better than those with high depression.(3) When looking only at the high-depression group, the patchhelped the men more so than the women.

High-depressed female smokers did equally well if they got thecombination therapy or behavioral therapy alone, both at the endof treatment and at 6 months. In contrast, he said, "high-depressedmales had about a zero chance of being abstinent at 6 months ifthey did not receive the patch." Thus, he said, it appearsthat for highly depressed women, behavioral therapy may be "fundamentallyimportant."