Prescribing Advice for GPs

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NRT works in the "real world"

Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) works in the "real world" according to a paper published in Thorax.

The paper describes a prospective cohort study of smokers aged 35 to 65 who were planning to stop smoking in the next three months. The study was a multinational study conducted over 2 phases. The first in recruited patients in the UK, USA, Canada and France and the second recruited patients in these same countries and Spain. This study was conducted after doubts were raised over the efficacy of NRT outside the highly supportive environment of a randomised controlled trial.

Quit attempts (as measured by six month abstinence rates) were three times more likely to be successful if NRT was used in phase 1 and twice as likely to be successful in phase 2. The authors conclude that self-initiated quit attempts, even without formal behavioural support, are associated with long-term abstinence from smoking. NRT therefore continues to be a highly cost-effective option to aid smoking cessation.

Action: Clinicians can be confident in using NRT as the first line choice to aid smoking cessation in motivated individuals.

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