Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Smoking Cessation Treatment Substance Abuse

I have not written in awhile. I had been discussing the new health care law but got bogged down with some other things and am not yet ready to comment on Title III which has to deal with ways to improve health care delivery.

Today I want to report on a recent presentation at the American Society of Addiction Medicine annual scientific conference. I was not able to go but have a summary of findings available. For those of you who regularly read this blog you know I am very interested in tobacco cessation in patients with other substance abuse problems A recent Canadian study noted that those patients in treatment for substance abuse problems tended to require longer and more intensive treatment to quit smoking than those with no other substance abuse problem.

The researchers looked at 202 patients who were enrolled in a tobacco cessation program with behavioral counseling for 8 weeks followed by 18 weeks of support and 26 weeks of no cost pharmacotherapy. 89% of enrollees had a primary substance abuse disorder and 65% had a co-occurring psychiatric disorder including mood, anxiety, and psychotic disorders. 33% of those who entered the study were able to quit smoking but for those that completed at least 6 weeks the quit rate was 43%. However in terms of the substance abusers only 15% quit after 6-8 weeks while those who continued receiving support and medications showed an (to me) astounding quit rate of 50.8%

So the standard 8-10 week smoking cessation programs are not adequate for the substance abuse population. Continued treatment seems to result in significant improvement. I don't know if these findings will actually alter how treatment programs are designed but I hope so.

Thought for the day

"It strengthens my soul to know, that though I perish truth is so".

I can't remember the source.

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