(HealthDay News) — Use of nicotine patches, compared with placebo patches, does not increase the smoking cessation rate among pregnant women, according to research published March 11 in BMJ.

Ivan Berlin, M.D., PhD, of the Université Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris, and colleagues randomly assigned pregnant smokers, ≥18 years, who were between 12–20 weeks of gestation, to nicotine patches (203 women) or placebo patches (199 women).

The researchers found that 5.5% of pregnant women in the nicotine-patch group and 5.1% of those in the placebo-patch group achieved complete abstinence from smoking (odds ratio, 1.08; 95% confidence interval, 0.45–2.60). The mean birth weight and frequency of serious adverse events did not differ significantly between the groups. Non-serious adverse events, particularly skin reactions, occurred more frequently among women in the nicotine-patch group.

“A much greater effort is still needed to identify, test, and deliver more effective treatments for pregnant smokers who struggle to quit,” writes the author of an accompanying editorial.

One author disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies.

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