Naltrexone blockade of nicotine effects in cigarette smokers.
RATIONALE: The role of endogenous opiate systems in cigarette smoking remains unclear. In laboratory animals, opiate antagonists block many of the effects of nicotine, but in humans they do not consistently alter smoking behavior. OBJECTIVE: This study explored the effects of naltrexone, alone and in combination with nicotine, on smoking behavior. METHODS: In a double-blind, double-dummy, within-subjects design, 19 regular smokers received four treatments of 1 week duration: naltrexone tablet (50 mg) plus placebo skin patch, placebo tablet plus nicotine skin patch (21 mg/24 h), naltrexone tablet plus nicotine skin patch, and placebo tablet plus placebo skin patch. During each treatment, subjects rated their responses to nicotine-containing and denicotinized cigarettes in the laboratory, and to their own brand of cigarette smoked ad libitum outside the laboratory. RESULTS: Pretreatment with the nicotine patch attenuated smoking-induced decreases in craving, negative affect, and rates of ad lib smoking, and potentiated the aversiveness of a cigarette. Naltrexone reversed these effects of the nicotine patch, and produced negative effects on mood. CONCLUSIONS: The blockade of nicotine's effects by naltrexone supports a role for opioid mechanisms in cigarette smoking.
Brauer, LH; Behm, FM; Westman, EC; Patel, P; Rose, JE
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