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Combination Extended Smoking Cessation Treatment Plus Home Visits for Smokers With Schizophrenia: A Randomized Controlled Trial



The majority of people with schizophrenia have a diagnosis of tobacco dependence during their lifetime. A major obstacle to reducing the burden of cigarette smoking in this population is that these smokers have lower quit rates when undergoing standard treatment compared to smokers with no mental illness. We sought to determine if combination extended treatment (COMB-EXT) and home visits (HV) would lead to improved outcomes in smokers with schizophrenia.


Thirty-four cigarette smokers with schizophrenia completed either COMB-EXT with HV, COMB-EXT without HV, or treatment as usual (TAU) (random assignment). COMB-EXT consisted of group cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), bupropion, nicotine patch, and nicotine lozenge, which were initiated within 2 weeks and continued for 26 weekly visits. HV consisted of biweekly visits to the home with assessment of secondhand smoke (SHS) exposure and brief behavioral therapy with participants and others in the home environment. TAU consisted of group CBT plus serial single or combination medication trials as per standard care.


Smokers with schizophrenia who received COMB-EXT (with or without HV) had greater reductions in cigarettes per day than those treated with TAU (both ps < .01). In addition, 7-day point prevalence abstinence rates for the three groups were 45%, 20%, and 8%, respectively, which was significantly higher for COMB-EXT plus HV than TAU (χ2(1) = 4.8, p = .03). Groups did not differ significantly in the number of adverse events, and HV were easily scheduled.


COMB-EXT improves outcomes for smokers with schizophrenia. HV appeared to provide additional benefit for smoking cessation in this treatment-resistant population.


The clear benefit found here of rapidly initiated, combination, extended treatment over TAU suggests that aggressive and extended treatment should be considered in clinical practice for smokers with schizophrenia. Furthermore, HV to address SHS exposure showed initial promise for assisting smokers with schizophrenia in maintaining abstinence, indicating that this intervention may be worthy of future research.

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