Transdermal nicotine attenuates depression symptoms in nonsmokers: a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

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.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • McClernon, FJ; Hiott, FB; Westman, EC; Rose, JE; Levin, ED

Published Date

  • November 2006

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 189 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 125 - 133

PubMed ID

  • 16977477

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0033-3158

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1007/s00213-006-0516-y


  • eng

Conference Location

  • Germany