AFP – Nicotine patches fail to help pregnant women to stop smoking, according to a study published by the British Medical Journal (BMJ) Tuesday.
Researchers in France asked more than 400 women who smoked at least five cigarettes a day to try either a nicotine patch or a dummy patch called a placebo.
Only 11 women – 5.5% – in the nicotine patch group quit smoking by the time they gave birth, compared with 10 women, or 5.1%, in the placebo group.
The average birthweight of the babies was about the same in both groups, but blood pressure was significantly higher among the nicotine-patch users.
The scientists, led by Ivan Berlin, a pharmacologist at the Pitie-Salpetriere University Hospital in Paris, said they were disappointed.
The results show that drugs to help wean pregnant women off smoking do not work and “behavioural support” – help from counsellors or quit-smoking groups – remains essential, they said.