Progesterone May Help Prevent Postpartum Smoking Relapse

The study included abstinent individuals who were randomized to either progesterone or placebo
The study included abstinent individuals who were randomized to either progesterone or placebo

Data from a pilot randomized trial published in Nicotine & Tobacco Research showed that administering exogenous progesterone may potentially prevent postpartum smoking relapse. 

There has been increasing evidence suggesting sex hormones may play a role in drug abuse behavior. The significant reduction of sex hormones seen at delivery may affect postpartum smoking relapse. Researchers from the University of Minnesota conducted a 12-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized pilot trial (n=46) that assigned abstinent postpartum women to active progesterone 200mg twice daily or placebo for 4 weeks. Study patients were followed for relapse for 12 weeks. The main outcomes included abstinence, feasibility, and self-reported acceptability. Also, depressive symptom scores, adverse events, and breastfeeding was assessed for safety outcomes.  

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The data indicated an overall retention rate of 87% at Week 12. At Week 4, the progesterone group showed 75% abstinence rate compared with 68.2% in the placebo group (P=0.75). The study authors found the medication adherence rate was 68% and clinic visit attendance was at 80% with no differences by randomization. Depressive symptom scores, adverse events, and breastfeeding also did not vary by randomization.

Overall, a higher rate of abstinence at Week 4 was seen in the progesterone group. Exogenous progesterone was well tolerated with no adverse impact on depressive symptoms or breastfeeding. The study's findings support additional research of progesterone as a postpartum relapse prevention treatment. 

For more information visit ntr.oxfordjournals.org.

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