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Low-dose naltrexone augmentation of nicotine replacement for smoking cessation with reduced weight gain: a randomized trial



Fear of weight gain is a significant obstacle to smoking cessation, preventing some smokers from attempting to quit. Several previous studies of naltrexone yielded promising results for minimization of post-quit weight gain. Given these encouraging findings, we endeavored to test whether minimization of weight gain might translate to better quit outcomes for a population that is particularly concerned about gaining weight upon quitting.


Smokers (N=172) in this investigation were prospectively randomized to receive either 25 mg naltrexone or placebo for 27 weeks (1 week pre-, 26 weeks post-quit) for minimization of post-quit weight gain and smoking cessation. All participants received open label therapy with the nicotine patch for the first 8 weeks post-quit and behavioral counseling over the 27-week treatment. The 2 pre-specified primary outcomes were change in weight for continuously abstinent participants and biologically verified end-of-treatment 7-day point-prevalence abstinence at 26 weeks after the quit date.


The difference in weight at 26 weeks post-quit between the naltrexone and placebo groups (naltrexone: 6.8 lbs ± 8.94 vs placebo: 9.7 lbs ± 9.19, p = 0.45) was not statistically different. Seven-day point-prevalence smoking abstinence rates at 26 weeks post-quit was not significantly different between the 2 groups (naltrexone: 22% vs placebo: 27%, p = 0.43).


For smokers high in weight concern, the relatively small reduction in weight gain with low-dose naltrexone is not worth the potential for somewhat lower rates of smoking abstinence.

Toll BA1White MWu RMeandzija BJatlow PMakuch RO'Malley SS.

Author information

1  Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06519, USA; Yale Cancer Center, New Haven, CT 06519, USA.

Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

PMID: 20542391
PMCID: PMC3771701
DOI: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2010.04.015
[Indexed for MEDLINE] 

Free PMC Article