Sphenopalatine Ganglion Blocks for the Treatment of Nicotine Addiction

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The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of sphenopalatine ganglion block upon the physical symptoms of nicotine withdrawal in a double-blind placebo-controlled study. Seventeen patients completed a course of treatment which involved daily intranasal application of local anesthetic (bupivacaine or cocaine) or saline over the sphenopalatine ganglion. The reported numbers of daily symptoms of physical discomfort were recorded during the preprocedure period. Analysis of variance results indicated that patients in all three groups experienced a significant decline in the number of symptoms of physical discomfort over the six-day withdrawal period. Further findings provided evidence of significantly fewer symptoms of discomfort for patients in the anesthetic treatment groups than in the placebo control group, though no statistically significant difference emerged between the two anesthetic treatment groups. Accelerated alleviation of discomfort during nicotine withdrawal may increase the success of smoking cessation.

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