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NAQC Newsroom: Research

Effectiveness of Over-the-Counter Nicotine Replacement Therapy

Wednesday, November 09, 2011  
Posted by: Natalia Gromov
Hughes JR, Peters EN, Naud S. Nicotine Tob Res. 2011 Jul;13(7):512-22. Epub 2011 Apr 6.
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.

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