Author(s): Ferguson SG, Shiffman S
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Abstract Craving to smoke is often conceptualized and measured as a tonic, slowly changing state induced by abstinence. In this article, we review the literature on the existence, causes, and treatment of cue-induced cravings: intense, episodic cravings typically provoked by situational cues associated with drug use. In laboratory research, smokers exposed to smoking-related cues demonstrate increased craving as well as distinct patterns of brain activation. Observational field studies indicate that such cue-induced cravings are substantially responsible for relapse to smoking but that smoking can often be averted by coping responses. The effects of pharmacological interventions are mixed. Steady-state medications (bupropion, varenicline, nicotine patch) do not appear to protect smokers from cue-induced cravings. However, acutely administered nicotine medications (such as nicotine gum and lozenge), used after cue exposure as "rescue medications," can help a smoker's recovery from cue-induced cravings. Cue-induced craving plays an important role in smoking and relapse and likely in other addictions as well. Treatments to mitigate the effect of cue-induced craving are both important and needed.
This article was published in J Subst Abuse Treat
and referenced in Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy