The effects of transdermal nicotine therapy for smoking cessation on depressive symptoms in patients with major depression

Haraldur S. Thorsteinsson, J. Christian Gillin, Christi A. Patten, Shahrokh Golshan, Laura D. Sutton, Sean Drummond, Camellia P. Clark, John Kelsoe, Mark Rapaport

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58 Citations (Scopus)


This study examines the effects of transdermal nicotine patches for smoking cessation on depressive and withdrawal symptoms among 38 non-medicated subjects with Major Depressive Disorder. The study was conducted over a 29-day period, which included a 7 day baseline phase, a 14 day treatment phase, and an 8 day placebo phase. During the treatment phase subjects received either active nicotine patches (N = 18) or placebo patches (N = 20) that were administered in a randomized, double-blind fashion. The target quit date (TQD) was day 8. Significantly, more subjects in the placebo group than in the nicotine group resumed smoking following the TQD (50% vs. 22%). There was little evidence for effects of active nicotine patches on measures of mood (HRSD, BDI, POMS) or withdrawal symptoms among subjects that remained abstinent throughout the study (N = 24). Those who resumed smoking had more severe withdrawal symptoms than those who remained abstinent. One patient in the placebo group (n = 20) became more depressed after 2 weeks of abstinence. None of the patients in the nicotine group (n = 18) became more depressed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)350-358
Number of pages9
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 27 Feb 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Depressive disorder
  • Nicotine
  • Randomized clinical trial
  • Smoking cessation
  • Withdrawal symptoms

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