A randomised trial of glucose tablets to aid smoking cessation
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Oral glucose has been found to decrease tobacco craving among abstaining smokers. One study has demonstrated an effect of glucose on short-term abstinence. There is a need to examine any long-term benefit of glucose on abstinence.
To assess whether glucose tablets improve 6-month continuous abstinence rates compared with low-calorie placebo tablets.
Smokers attempting to stop (n = 928) were randomised to receive glucose or sorbitol (placebo) in a double-blind placebo-controlled trial. All participants received group-based psychological support, and approximately half (n = 474) received nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), buproprion, or both. Smokers were seen weekly for 5 weeks and used tablets ad libitum, with a recommended minimum of 12 per day. Participants were recruited through general practitioner referral, word of mouth, and advertising. The participants were 38% male, smoked an average of 23.5 cigarettes per day, and had a mean age of 44 years. There were no significant pretreatment differences between groups. The primary outcome measure was continuous, CO-verified abstinence from the target quit date for 6 months.
No significant effect of glucose tablets on abstinence was found (14.6% vs 13.4% abstinence in the glucose and placebo groups, respectively). However, there was a significant interaction with a glucose effect observed in smokers also receiving other medication (18.2% vs 12.6%, p < 0.05) but not otherwise (10.7% vs 14.3% ; p < 0.05 for the interaction).
No significant effect of glucose tablets over and above sweet tasting tablets could be detected overall, but the possibility of an effect as an adjunct to NRT or bupropion merits further investigation.