Pathbreaking clinical trial in India demonstrates the effectiveness of nicotine replacement therapy in smoking cessation

First ever study in India to also explore the efficacy of NRT in tobacco users


Bhubaneswar : A groundbreaking clinical trial conducted at S.C.B. Dental College & Hospital, Cuttack, Odisha has established compelling evidence on the efficacy of Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) in helping tobacco consumers successfully quit the habit. The study has reaffirmed that NRT, when combined with behavioral intervention, significantly increases the chances of successful smoking cessation.

The trial, conducted with 93 participants of whom nearly 70% were consumers of tobacco products, were drawn into three cohorts. The first group received nicotine gums, the second group got nicotine patches, while all underwent concurrent behavioral intervention in the form of counseling. The groups that received nicotine patches and nicotine gums in combination with behavioral counseling were 5.2 and 4.6 times respectively, more likely to successfully quit the habit than the group with behavioral counseling (data on file). The researchers also ensured a comprehensive follow-up period of up to 26 weeks, exceeding the recommended 12-week duration of NRT therapy. Importantly, none of the participants extended their NRT therapy beyond the recommended period, negating concerns of abuse of or addiction to these products.

As per the study, for individuals striving to quit smoking or tobacco use, NRT represents their first port of call. This research underscores the effectiveness of NRT in helping tobacco users quit and also addresses the needs of smokeless tobacco users, a population that has often been overlooked in cessation studies globally. The extensive follow-up of participants, well beyond the recommended duration of NRT therapy, ensures that we have gained invaluable insights into its long-term usage and impact.

Charudutta Panigrahi, Mentor, Forum for Integrated Development and Research (FIDR), a civil society organization that actively works towards developmental initiatives in Odisha added, “This trial is a leap towards comprehensive solutions that can save lives. Ensuring unhindered access to vital tools like NRT, especially for our youth, is not just a choice, but a paramount responsibility to safeguard their health and future that is free from addiction. Tobacco cessation and GDP growth are undeniably and directly correlated.”

Amid the escalating global drive against tobacco addiction, NRT emerges as a proven approach. To that effect, various international drug regulatory agencies have moved NRT from prescription-only to over-the-counter, facilitating its reach to those determined to quit.

Note: Results of the clinical trial conducted at S.C.B. Dental College & Hospital, Cuttack, Odisha are yet to be published. Findings cited below are as per data on file.

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