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Drucker-Colin, R; Haro, R (2004)

A TWO-YEAR STUDY ON THE EFFECTS OF NICOTINE AND ITS WITHDRAWAL ON MOOD AND SLEEP

PHARMACOPSYCHIATRY 37(5):221-227
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Acute administration of nicotine has beneficial effects on a variety of neurological and psychiatric disorders. The purpose of this study was to determine the long-term effects of transdermal nicotine on sleep and major depression. Under a single blind protocol study where patients initially received nicotine and then switched to placebo. Fourteen non-smoking patients with major depression (Hamilton Rating greater than or equal to 18) served as subjects. Transdermal nicotine (17.5 mg), was administered five days weekly for six months, three days weekly on month 7 and one day per week on month 8. From the 9(th) to the 24(th) month, once a week a patch without nicotine substituted the nicotine patch. Sleep and depression was assessed throughout. REM sleep latency changed from 32.6 min. to 78.2 min. at the end of the study, wakefulness decreased, slow wave sleep increased throughout the study and a transient decrease of REM sleep duration upon nicotine withdrawal was observed. Hamilton scores went from an initial mean score of 29.7 to a final score of 10.8. The results support the possible therapeutical effects of long-term transdermal nicotine on sleep and mood, with a carryover effect into the withdrawal period, even though, the conclusions should be taken with caution due to the design applied.