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Assessment of High Dose Transdermal Nicotine for Fast Metabolizers of Nicotine (HDP)

This study has been completed.
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Robert Schnoll, University of Pennsylvania Identifier:
First received: July 23, 2009
Last updated: August 12, 2014
Last verified: August 2014
Unfortunately, the investigators still need to assess and identify novel ways to help people quit smoking. Differences between people in terms of how fast they metabolize nicotine influences response to transdermal nicotine patches, the most popular nicotine dependence treatment, and it affects plasma levels of nicotine from treatment. These studies suggest that fast metabolizers of nicotine may show better quit rates if they receive higher doses of transdermal nicotine. This preliminary study is designed to assess, for the first time, whether fast nicotine metabolizers show higher quit rates if given high dose transdermal nicotine, versus standard dose. The study findings may help to support a subsequent large trial to assess standard versus high dose transdermal nicotine for slow versus fast metabolizers of nicotine, which may lead to a more personalized approach to treating nicotine dependence using the nicotine patch to improve therapeutic benefits of transdermal nicotine.

Condition Intervention Phase
Nicotine Dependence
Drug: Nicoderm CQ transdermal nicotine
Drug: placebo
Phase 2

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Factorial Assignment
Masking: Double Blind (Participant, Investigator, Outcomes Assessor)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Assessment of High Dose Transdermal Nicotine for Fast Metabolizers of Nicotine

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by University of Pennsylvania:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Biochemically Verified 7-day Point Prevalence Abstinence at the End of 8 Weeks of Treatment [ Time Frame: After 8 weeks of treatment with the patch, outcome will be measured. ]
    quit rate verified with carbon monoxide breath sample (abstinence: less than or equal to 10ppm)

Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • Side Effects [ Time Frame: 8 weeks ]
    frequency of serious adverse events

Enrollment: 87
Study Start Date: August 2009
Study Completion Date: August 2011
Primary Completion Date: August 2011 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Active Comparator: 21mg transdermal nicotine + placebo patch
21mg transdermal nicotine + placebo patch
Drug: Nicoderm CQ transdermal nicotine
Transdermal nicotine patch (21mg vs. 42mg), 8 weeks
Drug: placebo
placebo patch
Experimental: 42mg transdermal nicotine
42mg transdermal nicotine
Drug: Nicoderm CQ transdermal nicotine
Transdermal nicotine patch (21mg vs. 42mg), 8 weeks

Detailed Description:

Novel approaches to treating nicotine dependence remain a priority. The transdermal nicotine patch is the most widely used form of tobacco dependence treatment, but only ~1 in 5 smokers who use this treatment achieve cessation. One factor that may contribute to a poor response to transdermal nicotine is inter-individual variability in the rate of nicotine metabolism, which can be measured in saliva by the ratio of 3'hydroxycotinine (3-HC) to its precursor cotinine.

Two clinical trials with transdermal nicotine have shown that the 3-HC/cotinine ratio predicts response to transdermal nicotine such that faster metabolizers of nicotine (higher 3-HC/cotinine ratios) have lower quit rates, vs. slower nicotine metabolizers. Among abstainers in these trials, the 3-HC/cotinine ratio also predicts therapeutic levels of nicotine on transdermal nicotine, with faster metabolizers of nicotine exhibiting lower nicotine. Thus, faster metabolizers of nicotine may require higher nicotine doses to achieve the same therapeutic benefit from transdermal nicotine as do slow nicotine metabolizers.

To date, clinical trials have shown that, compared to the standard dose of transdermal nicotine (21mg), higher doses (42mg) have no significant effect on quit rates. However, no trial of high dose transdermal nicotine considered inter-individual variability in the rate of nicotine metabolism. Thus, as a preliminary step toward conducting a fully-powered, randomized clinical trial to assess standard vs. high dose transdermal nicotine for slow vs. fast metabolizers of nicotine, we propose to evaluate, for the first time, the efficacy of high-dose transdermal nicotine (vs. standard dose) among fast metabolizers of nicotine (i.e., upper quartile of the 3-HC/cotinine ratio distribution).

We chose only fast metabolizers of nicotine for this trial since: 1) slow metabolizers of nicotine exhibit high quit rates on standard transdermal nicotine and may experience adverse effects from higher doses; and 2) as a "proof of concept" R21 application, our primary objective is to test whether high doses of nicotine increase quit rates among fast metabolizers of nicotine. Specifically, smokers who are fast metabolizers of nicotine will receive counseling and will be randomized to: 1) standard (1 X 21mg patch and 1 X placebo patch), or 2) high dose (2 x 21mg patches) transdermal nicotine.

The primary outcome is biochemically-verified 7-day point prevalence cessation after 8 weeks of treatment. Differences in patch-related side effects and mediators of transdermal nicotine effects (e.g., nicotine levels, withdrawal) across the study conditions will also be assessed.

Ultimately, this line of research hopes to provide the evidence necessary to translate research on the 3-HC/cotinine ratio to clinical practice for the treatment of tobacco dependence. Specifically, this research may show that a measure of nicotine metabolism rate could be used to maximize the therapeutic benefits of transdermal nicotine by providing slow metabolizers of nicotine with a standard patch dose and fast metabolizers of nicotine with high dose transdermal nicotine. Identifying an effective treatment for faster metabolizers of nicotine is also critical since these individuals are at increased risk for lung cancer.


Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years to 45 Years   (Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes

Inclusion Criteria:

  1. Males and females age 18-45 who smoke > 10 cigarettes/ day;
  2. Able to communicate in English;
  3. Able to use NRT safely (e.g., no allergy to latex);
  4. Able to provide written informed consent for study procedures;
  5. Residing in the geographic area for at least 6 months; and
  6. A 3-HC/cotinine ratio in the top quartile of the distribution (Schnoll et al., 2008). Age 45 was selected as an upper limit to reduce the likelihood of adverse effects from high dose transdermal nicotine.

Exclusion Criteria:

  1. History of substance abuse or currently receiving treatment for substance abuse (e.g., alcohol, opioids, cocaine, marijuana);
  2. Current (last 6-months) alcohol consumption that exceeds 25 standard drinks/week.
  3. Current use or discontinuation within last 14 days of:

    • Smoking cessation medications (bupropion, Chantix, NRT);
    • Antipsychotics, atypicals, mood-stabilizers, anti-depressants (tricyclics, SSRIs, MAOIs), anti-panic agents, anti-obsessive agents, anti-anxiety agents, stimulants);
    • Medication for pain;
    • Anti-coagulants;
    • Heart medications;
    • Daily medication for asthma or diabetes.
  4. Women who are pregnant, planning a pregnancy, or lactating;
  5. History or current diagnosis of psychosis, major depression or bipolar disorder, psychotic disorder, or generalized anxiety disorder;
  6. Serious/unstable disease within the past 6 months (e.g., cancer [but melanoma], HIV/AIDS);
  7. History of epilepsy or seizure disorder;
  8. History or diagnosis within the last 6 months of abnormal rhythms and/or tachycardia (>100 beats/minute); history or current diagnosis of COPD, cardiovascular disease (stroke, angina), heart attack in the last 6 months, uncontrolled hypertension (SBP>150 or DBP>90);
  9. History of kidney or liver failure.
  10. Any medical condition or medication that could compromise safety as determined by a study physician;
  11. Inability to provide informed consent or complete the study tasks as determined by the Principal Investigator or study physician.
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Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00956943

United States, Pennsylvania
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States, 19104
Sponsors and Collaborators
University of Pennsylvania
Principal Investigator: Robert A Schnoll, PhD University of Pennsylvania
  More Information

Responsible Party: Robert Schnoll, Associate Professor, University of Pennsylvania Identifier: NCT00956943     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: 809716
R21DA026889 ( US NIH Grant/Contract Award Number )
Study First Received: July 23, 2009
Results First Received: January 14, 2013
Last Updated: August 12, 2014

Keywords provided by University of Pennsylvania:
nicotine dependence
nicotine replacement therapy
transdermal nicotine
nicotine metabolism
high dose

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Tobacco Use Disorder
Substance-Related Disorders
Chemically-Induced Disorders
Mental Disorders
Ganglionic Stimulants
Autonomic Agents
Peripheral Nervous System Agents
Physiological Effects of Drugs
Nicotinic Agonists
Cholinergic Agonists
Cholinergic Agents
Neurotransmitter Agents
Molecular Mechanisms of Pharmacological Action processed this record on April 21, 2017