With up to 12 percent of pregnant women smoking in the United States, finding successful smoking cessation options is a vital area of research. In this week’s New England Journal of Medicine, British researchers report the results of a controlled trial of nicotine-replacement patches in pregnant women.
The findings show that nicotine-replacement therapy did not improve long-term quit rates in pregnancy. But as Dr. Cheryl Oncken, professor in UConn’s Department of Medicine, remarks in an editorial published in response to the article, adherence rates were low with respect to dose and duration of treatment.
“Adherence to therapy is a well-recognized determinant of efficacy,” writes Oncken. “With low adherence rates in placebo-controlled trials of nicotine-replacement therapy in pregnant smokers, it is difficult for clinicians to counsel their patients regarding whether such treatment would be efficacious or safe if used as directed.”
Oncken went on to state that the study showed similar results to other placebo-controlled clinical trials and that “pending more data on the efficacy and safety of nicotine-replacement therapy during pregnancy, this therapy cannot be recommended with any clinical certainty.”