Acute effects of nicotine and mecamylamine on tobacco withdrawal symptoms, cigarette reward and ad lib smoking.
Separate and combined effects of nicotine and the nicotinic antagonist mecamylamine were studied in 32 healthy volunteer smokers after overnight abstinence from smoking. Subjects participated in three sessions (3 h each), during which they wore skin patches delivering either 0 mg/24 h, 21 mg/24 h or 42 mg/24 h nicotine. Thirty-two subjects were randomly assigned to two groups receiving oral mecamylamine hydrochloride (10 mg) vs. placebo capsules. Two and one-half hours after drug administration, subjects were allowed to smoke ad lib, rating the cigarettes for rewarding and aversive effects. Transdermal nicotine produced a dose-related reduction in the subjective rewarding qualities of smoking. Nicotine also reduced craving for cigarettes and this effect was attenuated, but not eliminated, by mecamylamine. Mecamylamine blocked the discriminability of high vs. low nicotine puffs of smoke, and increased nicotine intake substantially during the ad lib smoking period. Some of the psychophysiological effects of each drug (elevation in blood pressure from nicotine, sedation and decreased blood pressure from mecamylamine) were offset by the other drug. The results supported the hypothesis that nicotine replacement can alleviate tobacco withdrawal symptoms even in the presence of an antagonist such as mecamylamine. Mecamylamine did not precipitate withdrawal beyond the level associated with overnight cigarette deprivation, suggesting its effects were primarily due to offsetting the action of concurrently administered nicotine as opposed to blocking endogenous cholinergic transmission.
Rose, JE; Behm, FM; Westman, EC
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