Transdermal nicotine attenuates depression symptoms in nonsmokers: a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.
RATIONALE: Despite established links between nicotine dependence and depression, little research has examined the effects of nicotine on depression symptoms. OBJECTIVE: This study evaluated the acute and chronic effects of transdermal nicotine in nonsmokers with baseline depression symptoms during a 4-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. METHODS: Nonsmokers with scores >or=10 on the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression scale (CES-D) were recruited from the community. Mood and cognitive performance were measured at baseline (day 0) and at 1, 8, 21, and 28 days. Participants were randomly assigned to wear a placebo or nicotine patch for 4 weeks (3.5 mg/day during weeks 1 and 4; 7 mg/day during weeks 2 and 3). The final sample consisted of 11 nonsmokers with a mean baseline CES-D score of 27.36 (SD=10.53). RESULTS: Salivary nicotine levels indicated the majority of participants were compliant with treatment. Acute nicotine did not alter mood. After adjusting for baseline values, chronic nicotine resulted in a significant decline in CES-D scores at day 8 (3.5 mg/day), but returned to placebo levels by the last visit. This return to baseline levels was coincident with a decrease in nicotine administration from 7 to 3.5 mg/day. A similar trend for improved response inhibition as measured by the Conners Continuous Performance Task was also observed. Reported side effects were infrequent and minimal. CONCLUSION: These findings suggest a role for nicotinic receptor systems in the pathophysiology of depression and that nicotinic compounds should be evaluated for treating depression symptoms.
McClernon, FJ; Hiott, FB; Westman, EC; Rose, JE; Levin, ED
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