Decrements in verbal memory are commonly reported by detoxified treatment-seeking individuals. Although acute nicotine has been shown to improve attentional performance, its effects on verbal memory in substance abusers have not been addressed. Treatment-seeking alcohol dependent (ALCS N=29; 14 male), illicit stimulant (predominantly cocaine) dependent (STIMS N = 25; 15 male) and alcohol and illicit stimulant dependent (ALC/STIMS N = 50; 35 male) participants with co-morbid nicotine dependence were studied. Subjects had been abstinent from their drugs of choice for 41(±18) days and were in short-term abstinence from tobacco (~8–10 hours). Subjects received double-blind administration of either transdermal nicotine (High dose: 21/14 mg for men and women, respectively or Low dose: 7 mg) or placebo. The Logical Memory (LM) subtest from the Wechsler Memory Scale -Revised (WMS-R) was used to assess immediate and delayed verbal memory recall. Results indicated that STIMS receiving the high dose of nicotine recalled more words at immediate recall than STIMS who received placebo. Trend level differences were also noted at delayed recall between STIM nicotine and placebo doses. Nicotine failed to impact either recall in alcoholic subgroups. Although not the primary focus, results also revealed differences in the forgetting rates between the groups with the ALC/STIMS demonstrating the steepest forgetting slope. In summary, this study suggests that nicotine effects may be differentially experienced by substance using subgroups; that nicotine may have a direct effect on memory and, that considering neurocognitive processes (e.g., encoding vs. retrieval) underlying endpoint indicators (e.g. correct recall) may be critical in predicting outcomes.
It is widely recognized that individuals with alcohol or illicit substance abuse disorders often smoke cigarettes. However, few studies have examined the direct effects of nicotine among substance abuse subgroups. The current study examined patterns of electroencephalographic (EEG) activity in alcohol-dependent (AD), stimulant-dependent (StimD), alcohol- and stimulant-dependent (ASD) participants, as well as community controls (CC). All participants were regular smokers.
After overnight nicotine abstinence, subjects were administered either a high (14 or 21 mg) or low (7mg) dose transdermal nicotine patch. EEG data were collected during a 2 minute eyes open and 5 minute eyes closed baseline recording session, which occurred as part of a larger study of brain electrophysiology.
The most interesting finding was a differential pattern of nicotine dose effects by group. EEGs of Controls and ASD participants did not distinguish between high and low nicotine doses; whereas, nicotine administration in the AD and StimD groups resulted in opposite findings across a range of spectral bands.
Although further research is warranted, these results may have implications for the study of smoking cessation and attentional functioning among substance abusers in treatment. These data suggest that nicotine–related changes in neurophysiology may be associated with specific brain areas and/or specific drug histories and reinforce the need for caution in generalizing among such groups.
Nicotine; Alcohol; Cocaine; Methamphetamine; Electroencephalogram
Relapse risk factors, such as psychological stress and alcohol cues, are often encountered together. Understanding how they interact has the potential to improve alcoholism treatments. The present study was conducted to examine whether an acute psychosocial stressor enhanced alcohol cue reactivity in non-treatment-seeking alcoholics.
Seventy-nine alcohol dependent individuals (39 women) randomly received either the Trier Social Stress Test or a no-stress control condition. Stress reactivity was measured with serum ACTH and cortisol, mean arterial blood pressure, and subjective distress. Immediately following the stress manipulation, participants held and sniffed a neutral cue then their preferred alcoholic beverage. Cue reactivity was measured by two subjective measures of craving following each cue. Additionally, general craving was assessed with the Alcohol Urge Questionnaire (AUQ) at the beginning and end of the laboratory procedure.
The stress manipulation showed internal validity on all measures of stress reactivity. There was not a main effect of stress nor a stress x cue interaction on either cue reactivity measure. As expected, there was a main effect of cue (alcohol > neutral cue) on both measures of cue reactivity. General craving increased during the challenge, but not differently by stress group. Magnitude of stress reactivity was not associated with magnitude of cue reactivity, and all results were independent of gender.
In this well-controlled clinical laboratory study of non-treatment-seeking alcoholics, an acute psychological stressor did not make an alcohol cue a more potent urge-inducing stimulus, and stress had no effect on general alcohol craving.
alcohol; stress; craving; cue reactivity; gender
Relapse to smoking is often precipitated by stress, yet little is known about the effects of nicotine withdrawal on responses to acute stress, or whether nicotine replacement reverses withdrawal-induced changes in stress response.
The aim of the present study is to use an effective social stressor, the Trier Social Stress Test (TSST), to study subjective, cardiovascular and hormonal responses to stress during withdrawal, and examine whether nicotine replacement moderates responses to stress during withdrawal.
Forty-nine current regular smokers were randomly assigned to smoke as normal (SM), 12-h abstention with placebo patch (PL), or 12-h abstention with nicotine patch (NIC). They participated in a single session using the TSST, during which subjective affect, heart rate (HR), mean arterial blood pressure (MAP) and salivary cortisol were measured.
The TSST produced expected increases in subjective negative affect, HR, MAP, and cortisol. Groups did not differ in subjective or cardiovascular responses, but the PL group exhibited larger stress-induced increase in cortisol than the other groups.
The increased cortisol response might indicate a greater hormonal stress response during nicotine withdrawal. Alternatively, considering that cortisol also provides negative feedback to the stress system, and blunted cortisol responses are predictive of smoking relapse, the lower cortisol responses in the NIC and SM groups might indicate chronic dysregulation of the stress system. In this case, restoration of cortisol response by nicotine treatment to the lower levels seen during regular smoking may actually represent an undesired side effect of nicotine replacement.
Nicotine withdrawal; Stress; Nicotine replacement; Cortisol
Addiction to alcohol or nicotine involves altered functioning of the brain's motivational systems. Altered functioning of the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenocortical (HPA) axis may hold clues to the nature of the motivational changes accompanying addiction and vulnerability to addiction. Alcohol and nicotine show at least three forms of interaction with HPA functioning. Acute intake of both substances causes stress-like cortisol responses. Their persistent use may dysregulate the HPA. Finally, the risk for dependence and for relapse after quitting may be associated with deficient cortisol reactivity to a variety of stressors. The HPA is regulated at the hypothalamus by diurnal and metabolic signals, but during acute emotional states, its regulation is superseded by signals from the limbic system and prefrontal cortex. This top–down organization makes the HPA responsive to inputs that reflect motivational processes. The HPA is accordingly a useful system for studying psychophysiological reactivity in persons who may vary in cognitive, emotional, and behavioral tendencies associated with addiction and risk for addiction. Chronic, heavy intake of alcohol and nicotine may cause modifications in these frontal–limbic interactions and may account for HPA response differences in seen in alcoholics and smokers. In addition, preexisting alterations in frontal–limbic interactions with the HPA may reflect addiction-proneness, as shown in studies of offspring of alcohol- and drug-abusing parents. Continuing research on the relationship between HPA function, stress responsivity, and the addictions may yield insights into how the brain's motivational systems support addictions and risk for addictions.
Hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis; Addictions; Nicotine; Alcohol; Cortisol; Stress
The primary aim was to compare the efficacy of smoking cessation treatment using the combination of active nicotine patch plus active nicotine gum versus therapy consisting of active nicotine patch plus placebo gum in a sample of alcohol dependent tobacco smokers in an early phase of outpatient alcohol treatment. A secondary aim was to determine whether or not there were any carryover effects of combination nicotine replacement on drinking outcomes.
Small scale randomized double-blind placebo controlled clinical trial with one-year smoking and drinking outcome assessment.
Two outpatient substance abuse clinics provided a treatment platform of behavioral alcohol and smoking treatment delivered in three months of weekly sessions followed by three monthly booster sessions.
Participants were 96 men and women with a diagnosis of alcohol abuse or dependence and smoking 15 or more cigarettes per day.
All participants received open-label transdermal nicotine patch and were randomized to receive either 2 mg nicotine gum or placebo gum under double blind conditions.
Analysis of 1-year follow-up data revealed that patients receiving nicotine patch plus active gum had better smoking outcomes than those receiving patch plus placebo gum on measures of time to smoking relapse and prolonged abstinence at 12 months. Alcohol outcomes were not significantly different across medication conditions.
Results of this study were consistent with results of larger trials of smokers without alcohol problems showing that combination therapy (nicotine patch plus gum) is more effective than monotherapy (nicotine patch) for smoking cessation.
smoking; smoking cessation; nicotine; alcoholism; tobacco
Examine weight change in subjects receiving variable doses of transdermal nicotine replacement for smoking cessation.
Randomized, double-blind clinical trial.
One-week inpatient treatment with outpatient follow-up through 1 year.
This report examines weight change after smoking cessation for 70 subjects randomized to placebo or to 11, 22, or 44 mg/d doses of transdermal nicotine. The study included 1 week of intensive inpatient treatment for nicotine dependence with active patch therapy continuing for another 7 weeks. Counseling sessions were provided weekly for the 8 weeks of patch therapy and with long-term follow-up visits at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months.
MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS
Forty-two subjects were confirmed biochemically (i.e., by expired carbon monoxide) to be nonsmokers at all weekly visits during patch therapy. Their 8-week weight change from baseline was 3.0 ±2.0 kg. For these subjects, 8-week weight change was found to be negatively correlated with percentage of cotinine replacement (r=−.38, p=.012) and positively correlated with baseline weight (r=.48, p=.001), and age (r=.35, p=.025). Men had higher (p=.003) 8-week weight gain (4.0 ±1.8 kg) than women (2.1 ±1.7 kg). Of the 21 subjects who abstained continuously for the entire year, 20 had their weight measured at 1-year follow-up. Among these 20 subjects, 1-year weight change was not found to be associated with gender, baseline weight, baseline smoking rate, total dose of transdermal nicotine, or average percentage of cotinine replacement during the 8 weeks of patch therapy.
This study suggests that higher replacement levels of nicotine may delay postcessation weight gain. This effect is consistent for both men and women. We could not identify any factors that predict weight change with long-term abstinence from smoking.
weight; smoking cessation; nicotine patch
Tobacco dependence is the leading cause of preventable death and disabilities worldwide and nicotine is the main substance responsible for the addiction to tobacco. A vaccine against nicotine was tested in a 6-month randomized, double blind phase II smoking cessation study in 341 smokers with a subsequent 6-month follow-up period.
229 subjects were randomized to receive five intramuscular injections of the nicotine vaccine and 112 to receive placebo at monthly intervals. All subjects received individual behavioral smoking cessation counseling. The vaccine was safe, generally well tolerated and highly immunogenic, inducing a 100% antibody responder rate after the first injection. Point prevalence of abstinence at month 2 showed a statistically significant difference between subjects treated with Nicotine-Qβ (47.2%) and placebo (35.1%) (P = 0.036), but continuous abstinence between months 2 and 6 was not significantly different. However, in subgroup analysis of the per-protocol population, the third of subjects with highest antibody levels showed higher continuous abstinence from month 2 until month 6 (56.6%) than placebo treated participants (31.3%) (OR 2.9; P = 0.004) while medium and low antibody levels did not increase abstinence rates. After 12 month, the difference in continuous abstinence rate between subjects on placebo and those with high antibody response was maintained (difference 20.2%, P = 0.012).
Whereas Nicotine-Qβ did not significantly increase continuous abstinence rates in the intention-to-treat population, subgroup analyses of the per-protocol population suggest that such a vaccination against nicotine can significantly increase continuous abstinence rates in smokers when sufficiently high antibody levels are achieved. Immunotherapy might open a new avenue to the treatment of nicotine addiction.
Swiss Medical Registry 2003DR2327; ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00369616
Aims: The present study sought to investigate the relationship between the HPA axis reactivity to stress, the endogenous opioid system and stress-induced drinking behavior. Methods: In the present study, 74 non-treatment-seeking alcohol-dependent subjects were tested under two mood conditions, neutral and stress, in separate testing sessions. Salivary cortisol measurements were obtained following stress induction and during the neutral control condition. Multiple measurements of alcohol intake, latency to access the alcohol cue and craving for alcohol were obtained during cue-availability testing. In addition, 52 of the study subjects were genotyped for the μ-opioid receptor. Results: A blunted cortisol response to stress was significantly correlated with increased alcohol intake following stress exposure compared to alcohol intake during the neutral session. There was not a clear correlation between the change in cortisol in response to stress and the change in latency to access alcohol or alcohol craving in response to stress. Carriers of the Asp40 variant of the μ-opioid receptor exhibited a dampened cortisol response to stress, higher alcohol intake and greater craving in response to stress compared to Asn40 homozygotes, although these differences were not statistically significant. Conclusions: The results of the present study indicate that a blunted biological stress response was correlated with increased drinking in response to stress. The Asp40 variant of the μ-opioid receptor may be associated with this HPA axis hyporeactivity although the small sample size used in the present study did not permit adequate evaluation of this association.
In laboratory studies of individual differences in stress reactivity, cortisol responses are typically measured by comparing a prestress baseline with values obtained at the end of the stressor. In the present study, we measured cortisol in this manner on a stress day, but we also took samples on a second day when the volunteers rested in the lab at the same time of day and for the same duration. We compared stress responses as the difference from pre- to poststress and also poststress vs. rest-day control. The latter method allowed a greater appreciation of how stress perturbed the underlying diurnal baseline. Although the effect of stress was statistically significant when measured as the change from pre- to poststress, the magnitude of the effect was 54% larger when measured against the time-of-day control from the rest day. In particular the diurnal control method provided a wider range of stress values that potentially provide a greater range of response values in carrying out analyses of individual differences.
cortisol; mental stress; reactivity; diurnal cycle; gender
Nicotine replacement therapies are efficacious for treating nicotine dependence. However, limited data exist on benefits of different NRTs and predictors of treatment outcome. This study compared the effectiveness of transdermal nicotine vs. nicotine lozenge for smoking cessation and identified predictors of treatment response.
A randomized, open-label effectiveness trial was conducted at twelve medical sites participating in the National Cancer Institute's Community Clinical Oncology Program. The sample consisted of 642 treatment-seeking smokers randomized to twelve weeks of transdermal nicotine or nicotine lozenge.
Smoker characteristics were assessed at baseline, and 24-hour point prevalence abstinence confirmed with breath carbon monoxide (CO) was evaluated at end of treatment (EOT) and at a 6-month follow-up. There was a trend for higher quit rates for transdermal nicotine vs. nicotine lozenge at EOT (24.3% vs. 18.7%, p = .10) and 6-months (15.6% vs. 10.9%, p = .10). A logistic regression model of EOT quit rates showed smokers who preferred transdermal nicotine, were not reactive to smoking cues, and did not use nicotine to alleviate distress or stimulate cognitive function had higher quit rates on transdermal nicotine. A logistic regression model of 6-month quit rates showed smokers who preferred transdermal nicotine had higher quit rates on transdermal nicotine, and smokers who used nicotine to alleviate distress or stimulate cognitive processes had lower quit rates on nicotine lozenge.
Transdermal nicotine may be more effective than nicotine lozenge for smokers who prefer transdermal nicotine and do not smoke to alleviate emotional distress or stimulate cognitive function.
smoking cessation; nicotine replacement therapy; nicotine dependence; moderators
Cue reactivity paradigms are well-established laboratory procedures used to examine subjective craving in response to substance-related cues. For smokers, the relationship between nicotine dependence and cue reactivity has not been clearly established. The main aim of the present study was to further examine this relationship.
Participants (N=90) were between the ages 18–40 and smoked ≥10 cigarettes per day. Average nicotine dependence (Fagerström Test for Nicotine Dependence; FTND) at baseline was 4.9 (SD=2.1). Participants completed four cue reactivity sessions consisting of two in vivo cues (smoking, neutral) and two affective imagery cues (stressful, relaxed), all counterbalanced. Craving in response to cues was assessed following each cue exposure using the Questionnaire of Smoking Urges—Brief (QSU-B). Differential cue reactivity was operationally defined as the difference in QSU scores between the smoking and neutral cues, and between the stressful and relaxed cues.
Nicotine dependence was significantly and negatively associated with differential cue reactivity scores in regards to hedonic craving (QSU factor 1) for both in vivo and imagery cues, such that those who had low FTND scores demonstrated greater differential cue reactivity than those with higher FTND scores (β = −.082; p = .037; β = −.101; p = .023, respectively). Similar trends were found for the total QSU and for negative reinforcement craving (QSU factor 2), but did not reach statistical significance.
Under partially sated conditions, less dependent smokers may be more differentially cue reactive to smoking cues as compared to heavily dependent smokers. These findings offer methodological and interpretative implications for cue reactivity studies.
cue reactivity; craving; dependence; smoking; nicotine
Nicotine replacement is commonly used to treat tobacco use in heavy-drinking smokers. However, few studies have examined the effect of nicotine replacement on subjective and physiological responses to alcohol and alcohol drinking behavior.
The primary aim of this within-subject, double-blind study was to examine whether transdermal nicotine replacement (0 mg vs 21 mg/day) altered response to a low-dose priming drink and subsequent ad libitum drinking behavior.
Materials and methods
Subjects (n=19) were non-treatment-seeking, non-dependent heavy drinkers who were daily smokers. Six hours after transdermal patch application, subjective and physiological responses to a priming drink [designed to raise blood alcohol levels (BALs) to 0.03 g/dl] were assessed. This was followed by a 2-h self-administration period where subjects could choose to consume up to eight additional drinks (each designed to raise BALs by 0.015 g/dl) or to receive monetary reinforcement for drinks not consumed.
We found that 6 h after patch application, tobacco craving associated with withdrawal relief was decreased, and systolic blood pressure and heart rate were increased in the active patch condition compared to the placebo patch condition. Subjective intoxication in response to the priming drink was attenuated in the active nicotine patch condition compared to 6 h of nicotine deprivation (i.e., placebo patch). During the self-administration period, subjects had longer latencies to start drinking and consequently appeared to consume fewer drinks when administered the active patch compared to the placebo patch.
In heavy drinkers, transdermal nicotine replacement compared to mild nicotine deprivation attenuated subjective and physiological alcohol responses and delayed the initiation of drinking.
Transdermal nicotine replacement; Alcohol; Drinking; Self-administration; Craving; Monetary reinforcement
Individuals with major depressive disorder show blunted cortisol responses to psychosocial stressors, but the extent to which this pattern of dampened responding characterizes individuals experiencing sub-clinical levels of depressive symptoms is unknown. This study investigated whether self-reports of depressive and anxious symptoms over the previous two weeks were associated with cortisol responses to a laboratory social stress task. In addition, we tested whether these associations were mediated by baseline cortisol, subjective responses to the task, or health behaviors. Healthy adults (N = 76) completed the Mood and Anxiety Symptom Questionnaire prior to engaging in the Trier Social Stress Task. Salivary cortisol was measured at 8 points before and after the task to assess cortisol responding. Linear regressions revealed that men reporting more distress and somatic symptoms had smaller cortisol responses, but anhedonic symptoms were not related to cortisol. Distress was associated with lower baseline cortisol, which in turn statistically mediated the relationship between distress and cortisol response. These results demonstrate that the recent experience of depressive and anxious symptoms is associated with smaller cortisol responses to a psychosocial stressor in a nonclinical population.
cortisol; stress; negative emotion; men; depression; anxiety
Abstinent alcoholics show a blunted stress cortisol response that may be a consequence of drinking or a preexisting risk marker. We tested cortisol responses to psychological stress in 186 18–30 year-old, healthy social drinkers having no personal history of alcohol or drug dependence, 91 of whom had one or two alcoholic parents (FH+) and 95 having no family alcoholism for two generations (FH−). We predicted that, similar to alcoholic patients, the FH+ would have reduced stress cortisol responses that would be partially determined by their temperament characteristics, specifically antisocial tendencies as measured by the California Psychological Inventory. On a stress day, subjects performed continuous simulated public speaking and mental arithmetic tasks for 45 min, and on a control day they sat and rested for the same time period. The FH+ who were low in sociability had smaller cortisol responses than FH−, high-sociability persons (t = 2.27, p = .O2). These two groups were not different in diurnal cortisol secretion patterns or affective responses to the stressors. Persons with a familial risk for alcoholism who have more antisocial tendencies may have altered central nervous system responses to emotionally relevant social challenges. Disrupted cortisol stress responses may serve as a risk marker for the development of substance use disorders.
Hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis; Cortisol; Alcoholism; Family history; Stress; Oklahoma Family Health Patterns Project
A total of 305 subjects from Sydney were randomly allocated to receive either an active (24 hour transdermal nicotine patch over a 10 week course) or placebo nicotine patch. All subjects participated in a multicomponent cognitive-behavioural smoking cessation programme over five weeks in two-hour group sessions. The continuous abstinence rates at three years (validated by expired carbon monoxide) were 13.8% for the active group and 5.2% for placebo group (p = 0.011). The active nicotine patch with behavioural therapy achieved more than double the abstinence rates early in treatment compared with placebo and this difference was maintained throughout the three year follow up.
Keywords: smoking cessation; nicotine patches
The primary aim of this study was to compare the efficacy of smoking cessation treatment using a combination of nicotine patch and bupropion vs. nicotine patch and placebo bupropion. A secondary aim was to investigate whether the efficacy of bupropion is moderated by belief about whether one is receiving active or placebo medication.
Participants were recruited from a residential substance abuse treatment program and the community. We randomly assigned 148 smokers with between two and twelve months of alcohol abstinence to nicotine patch plus bupropion or nicotine patch plus placebo. All participants also received seven counseling sessions.
At follow up, differences between medication conditions were not significant. Seven-day point prevalence quit rates in the patch plus bupropion vs. patch plus placebo conditions at week 24 were 6% and 11%, respectively. Differences between groups on prolonged abstinence and time to first smoking lapse were also not significant. However, among participants who received bupropion, those who accurately “guessed” that they were receiving bupropion were more likely to remain abstinent than those who incorrectly believed they were receiving placebo.
Findings do not support combining nicotine patch and bupropion for smoking cessation in this population. However, findings support previous studies suggesting the importance of assessing the blind in smoking cessation studies and its possible moderating effect on medication efficacy. Future directions for enhancing smoking cessation outcome in these smokers include investigations of intensive behavioral and pharmacological interventions, including studies of potential interactions between individual genetic differences and medication efficacy.
tobacco dependence; smoking cessation; alcohol dependence
The reinforcing effects of nicotine are mediated by brain regions that also support temporal difference error (TDE) processing, yet the impact of nicotine on TDE is undetermined.
Dependent smokers (N=21) and matched controls (N=21) were trained to associate a juice reward with a visual cue in a classical conditioning paradigm. Subjects subsequently underwent fMRI sessions in which they were exposed to trials where they either received juice as temporally predicted or where the juice was withheld (negative TDE) and later received unexpectedly (positive TDE). Subjects were scanned in two sessions that were identical except that smokers had a transdermal nicotine (21mg) or placebo patch placed before scanning. Analysis focused on regions along the trajectory of mesocorticolimbic (MCL) and nigrostriatal (NS) dopaminergic pathways.
There was a reduction in TDE-related function in smokers in the striatum, which did not differ as a function of patch manipulation, but was predicted by the duration (years) of smoking. Activation in midbrain regions was not impacted by group or drug condition.
These data suggest a differential effect of smoking status on the neural substrates of reward in distinct dopaminergic pathway regions, which may be partially attributable to chronic nicotine exposure. The failure of transdermal nicotine to alter reward-related functional processes either within smokers or between smokers and controls implies that acute nicotine patch administration is insufficient to modify reward processing, which has been linked to abstinence-induced anhedonia in smokers and may play a critical role in smoking relapse.
nicotine; reward; temporal difference error; smoking; fMRI; striatum
The ratio of nicotine metabolites (trans-3′-hydroxycotinine (3HC) to cotinine) correlates with nicotine clearance. In previous studies, high nicotine metabolite ratio (NMR) predicted poor outcomes for smoking cessation treatment with nicotine patch. The underlying mechanisms that associate NMR with treatment outcomes have not been fully elucidated. A total of 100 smokers were divided into quartiles based on their baseline plasma NMR. Following overnight abstinence, smokers received saline followed by escalating intravenous doses of nicotine (0.5 and 1.0 mg/70 kg) given 30 min apart. The effects of nicotine on subjective, plasma cortisol, heart rate, and systolic and diastolic blood pressure measures were obtained. Smokers in the first NMR quartile (slower metabolizers) had lower Fagerstrom Test for Nicotine Dependence (FTND) scores, suggesting lower levels of dependence. In contrast, smokers in the fourth NMR quartile (faster metabolizers) reported greater craving for cigarettes following overnight abstinence from smoking and reported greater ratings of nicotine-induced good drug effects, drug liking, and wanting more drug. Higher NMR was also associated with greater heart rate increases in response to nicotine. These results suggest that enhanced nicotine reward and cigarette craving may contribute to the poor treatment response in smokers with high NMR. These findings warrant further investigation, especially in treatment-seeking smokers undergoing cessation treatment.
nicotine dependence; intravenous nicotine; nicotine abstinence; psychopharmacology; addiction & substance abuse; biological psychiatry; clinical pharmacology / clinical trials; nicotine; addiction; dependence
Elevated perceptions of psychosocial stress and stressful life events are linked to faster disease progression in individuals living with HIV and these associations may be stronger for women from ethnic minority populations. Levels of neurohormones such as oxytocin (OT), cortisol, and norepinephrine (NE) have been shown to influence the effects of psychosocial stress in different populations. Understanding how intrinsic neuroendocrine substances moderate the effects of stressors in minority women living with HIV (WLWH) may pave the way for interventions to improve disease management.
We examined circulating levels of plasma OT as a moderator of the effects of stress on disease status (viral load, CD4+ cell count) in 71 low-income ethnic minority WLWH.
At low levels of OT, there was an inverse association between stress and CD4+ cell counts. Counter-intuitively, at high levels of OT there was a positive association between stress and CD4+ cell counts. This pattern was unrelated to women’s viral load. Other neuroendocrine hormones known to down-regulate the immune system (cortisol, norepinephrine) did not mediate the effects of OT and stress on immune status.
OT may have stress buffering effects on some immune parameters and possibly health status in low income ethnic minority WLWH reporting elevated stress.
Stress; Oxytocin; Neuroendocrine Hormones; HIV Disease Status; Low-Income Ethnic Minority Women
Previous studies suggest possible modulatory effects of progesterone on nicotine addiction. The goal of this study was to determine the effects of progesterone, on acute physiological and subjective responses to intravenous (IV) nicotine in overnight abstinent male and female smokers.
Twelve smokers, 6 males and 6 females, participated in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study, which consisted of 2 experimental sessions. Before each session, subjects were treated orally with a single dose of either 200 mg progesterone or placebo. Starting 2 hours following the medication treatment, subjects received an IV saline injection, followed by 0.5 and 1.0 mg/70 kg IV nicotine.
Progesterone treatment, compared to placebo, enhanced the ratings of “bad effects,” from IV nicotine and attenuated the rating of “drug liking.” Progesterone also enhanced suppression of smoking urges by nicotine as assessed by the Brief Questionnaire on Smoking Urges (BQSU).
These results suggest that progesterone may alter the subjective effects of nicotine as well as urges to smoke cigarettes. Further studies are warranted to examine the modulation of nicotine’s effects by gonadal hormones.
nicotine; progesterone; IV nicotine; sex differences; gender differences; gonadal hormones
The mu opioid receptor system is altered in alcohol dependent (AD) subjects. Cortisol responses to opioid receptor antagonists are assumed to impart information about opioid receptor activity. In the present study we examined naloxone-induced cortisol responses in 18 healthy control (HC) and 25 recently detoxified AD subjects and then correlated the cortisol response with mu opioid receptor availability across 15 brain regions using positron emission tomography (PET) and the mu opioid receptor selective ligand [11C] Carfentanil (CFN). On average the AD subjects required twice the dose of naloxone to induce a peak cortisol response compared to the HC subjects. Using the rising slope of the cortisol curve (placebo to peak) as a metric we then went on to examine the relationship between cortisol responses to naloxone and [11C]CFN BPND. There were significant negative relationships between cortisol and [11C]CFN binding potential (BPND) in multiple brain regions of HC subjects. However, cortisol responses did not correlate with [11C]CFN BPND across any brain region in AD subjects. In summary, naloxone imparts information about individual differences in mu opioid receptor availability throughout the mesolimbic system in healthy individuals. However pathways governing the relationship between naloxone-induced cortisol and mu opioid receptor availability are disrupted during early abstinence in AD subjects.
mu opioid receptors; naloxone; PET imaging; HPA axis; cortisol; alcoholism
Stress is thought to influence use of drugs, including cigarette smoking, but the mechanisms by which it does so are not clear. In this study, we investigated the effects of acute psychosocial stress on cigarette craving, the subjective effects of smoking, and smoking behavior in daily smokers.
Healthy male and female smokers participated in two experimental sessions in which they were exposed to the Trier Social Stress Test or a nonstressful control task. For 2 hr after each task, they had repeated opportunities to either smoke or earn money. Physiological (heart rate, cortisol, and alpha-amylase) and subjective (anxiety and desire to smoke) measures were obtained before and after the tasks and after each smoking opportunity.
Stress significantly increased cigarette craving but it did not increase smoking. When individual differences in nicotine dependence were taken into account, stress influenced CO boost and pleasure from smoking the first cigarette.
Our results support previous evidence that acute psychosocial stress increases smoking desire.
Alcohol and tobacco dependence are highly comorbid disorders, with preclinical evidence suggesting a role for nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) in alcohol consumption. Varenicline, a partial nicotinic agonist with high affinity for the α4β2 nAChR receptor, reduced ethanol intake in rodents. We aimed to test whether varenicline would reduce alcohol consumption and alcohol craving in humans.
This double-blind, placebo-controlled investigation examined the effect of varenicline (2 mg/day vs. placebo) on alcohol self-administration using an established laboratory paradigm in non-alcohol-dependent heavy drinkers (n = 20) who were daily smokers. Following 7 days of medication pretreatment, participants were first administered a priming dose of alcohol (.3 g/kg) and subjective, and physiologic responses were assessed. A 2-hour alcohol self-administration period followed during which participants could choose to consume up to 8 additional drinks (each .15 g/kg).
Varenicline (.5 ± SE = .40) significantly reduced the number of drinks consumed compared to placebo (2.60 ± SE = .93) and increased the likelihood of abstaining from any drinking during the self-administration period. Following the priming drink, varenicline attenuated alcohol craving and reduced subjective reinforcing alcohol effects (high, like, rush, feel good, intoxicated). Adverse events associated with varenicline were minimal and, when combined with alcohol, produced no significant effects on physiologic reactivity, mood, or nausea.
This preliminary investigation demonstrated that varenicline significantly reduced alcohol self-administration and was well tolerated, alone and in combination with alcohol in heavy-drinking smokers. Varenicline should be investigated as a potential treatment for alcohol use disorders.
Alcohol; craving; heavy drinkers; human laboratory; nicotinic acetylcholine receptors; self-administration; smokers; varenicline
To understand the relations amongst anxiety disorders and tobacco dependence, withdrawal symptoms, response to smoking cessation pharmacotherapy, and ability to quit smoking.
Randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial. Participants received six 10-minute individual counseling sessions and either: placebo, bupropion SR, nicotine patch, nicotine lozenge, bupropion SR+nicotine lozenge, or nicotine patch+nicotine lozenge.
Two urban research sites.
Data were collected from 1504 daily smokers (>9 cigarettes per day) who were motivated to quit smoking and did not report current diagnoses of schizophrenia or psychosis or bupropion use.
Participants completed baseline assessments, the Composite International Diagnostic Interview and ecological momentary assessments for two weeks.
A structured clinical interview identified participants who ever met criteria for a panic attack (n=455), social anxiety (n=199), or generalized anxiety disorder (n=99), and those who qualified for no anxiety diagnosis (n=891). Smokers with anxiety disorders reported higher levels of nicotine dependence and pre-quit withdrawal symptoms. Those ever meeting criteria for panic attacks or social anxiety disorder showed greater quit-day negative affect. Smokers ever meeting criteria for anxiety disorders were less likely to be abstinent at 8-weeks and 6-months postquit and showed no benefit from single-agent or combination-agent pharmacotherapies.
Anxiety diagnoses were common amongst treatment-seeking smokers and were related to increased motivation to smoke, elevated withdrawal, lack of response to pharmacotherapy, and impaired ability to quit smoking. These findings could guide treatment assignment algorithms and treatment development for smokers with anxiety diagnoses.