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Clinical Investigations: SMOKING |

Stopping Smoking*: A Prospective, Randomized, Double-Blind Study Comparing Nortriptyline to Placebo

Célia Lidia da Costa, MD; Riad Naim Younes, MD, PhD; Maria Teresa Cruz Lourenço, MD, PhD
Author and Funding Information

*From the Departments of Psychiatry (Drs. da Costa and Lourenço) and Thoracic Surgery (Dr. Younes), A.C. Camargo Cancer Hospital, São Paulo, Brazil.

Correspondence to: Célia Lídia da Costa, MD, Department of Psychiatry, A.C. Camargo Cancer Hospital, Rua Prof. Antonio Prudente, No. 211, 01509–010 São Paulo, S.P., Brazil



Chest. 2002;122(2):403-408. doi:10.1378/chest.122.2.403
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Published online

Objective: The administration of antidepressant drugs was shown to positively affect the rate of smoking cessation. This study evaluates the efficacy of nortriptyline in an antismoking program.

Methods: A possible randomized double-blind study that included 144 patients who were randomized to receive nortriptyline, 75 mg/d (68 patients), or placebo (76 patients), during 6 consecutive weeks. All patients attended behavioral group orientation for 5 weeks. The rate of success, complications, adherence to the regime, and factors of pretreatment prognosis were evaluated (multivariate analysis).

Results: The groups were balanced in relation to the characteristics of the patients on entering the study. Patients receiving nortriptyline showed significantly higher cessation rate (55.9%) compared to the group receiving placebo (23.3%; p < 0.001). In a univariate analysis on prognosis factors influencing the rate of cessation in our study, the Fagerström test results (p = 0.005) and nortriptyline (p < 0.001) were identified. Logistic regression showed that a Fagerström test score of < 7 (odds ratio [OR], 3.1; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.47 to 6.7; p = 0.003) and nortriptyline use (OR, 4.1; 95% CI, 2 to 8.3; p < 0.001) were independent factors impacting the rate of success for smoking cessation. No significant complications were observed in the nortriptyline group.

Conclusion: This study showed that nortriptyline significantly increases the smoking cessation rate in chronic smokers, as compared to the placebo group, without any significant side effects.


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