Effectiveness of Over-the-Counter Nicotine Replacement Therapy
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Posted by: Natalia Gromov
Hughes JR, Peters EN,
Naud S. Nicotine Tob Res. 2011 Jul;13(7):512-22. Epub 2011 Apr
This paper reviews nonrandomized tests of the
effectiveness of over-the-counter (OTC) nicotine replacement therapy (NRT).
Studies included in the review were retrospective cohort studies of users vs.
nonusers of OTC NRT and studies of quit rates before versus after NRT went OTC
or before vs after NRT was given free to telephone quitline callers. Most of the
studies found greater quitting among NRT users than non-users, although only
about half of the studies found statistically greater quitting among NRT users,
and the most rigorous studies did not find greater quitting among NRT users. The
authors conclude that further secondary analysis using nonrandomized comparison
are unlikely to resolve the issue of OTC NRT effectiveness due to sensitivity,
specificity, and selection bias problems.