The fact that smoking cessation rates with NRT compare favorably whether the products are self-administered in an OTC fashion or by physicians under a prescription-only regimen is significant, because OTC status dramatically increased the number of smokers who use the products to quit smoking, says study author Saul Shiffman, Ph.D., research professor of psychology at the University of Pittsburgh. Moreover, we found that NRT can be used safely without physician intervention.
OTC NRT had success comparable to that of prescription NRT both at six weeks of therapy, while smokers could still use the products under the recommended guidelines, and at a six-month follow-up, long after the end of their treatment. The success pattern held for both the gum, which requires active involvement and compliance from smokers, and the patch, which requires considerably less involvement.
In the study, OTC NRT gum users generally had higher abstinence rates than prescription users. At six weeks, OTC users had a verified success rate of 16.1 percent, compared to prescription users, 7.7 percent. At six months, the OTC users still had higher rates than the prescription users, 8.4 percent versus 7.7 percent.
Similarly, OTC patch users had higher verified abstinence rates, 19.0 percent, at six weeks, compared to prescription patch users, 16.0 percent. At six months, the OTC users achieved a 9.2 percent cessation rate and prescription users, a
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