New York: Nicotine patches don`t help pregnant women quit smoking, suggests a new study from the UK -- in part because so few women use them as prescribed.While there`s evidence that the patch ups the chance most people will be able to kick the habit, researchers generally haven`t found the same benefit in pregnant women."I don`t think it`s an issue so much with the way the nicotine patch works. The big issue is whether people are going to use it and adhere to it," said Dr. Gideon Koren, head of the Motherisk program at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, who wasn`t involved in the new report.Without extra counselling encouraging women to stick to their quitting plan, he said, "the typical attempt is likely to fail."Pregnant women may be extra likely to give up on the patch because as their metabolism increases, women`s bodies process the nicotine in the patch much faster than they otherwise would -- making the therapy less effective at reducing cravings and withdrawal symptoms.The good news, researchers said, is that nicotine-replacement therapy didn`t seem to increase the risk of a miscarriage or stillbirth, or cause babies to be born any earlier or lighter.That means that conducting an experiment with a higher-dose nicotine patch could be a next step, according to Dr. Tim Coleman from the University of Nottingham and his colleagues.
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