September 16, 2005

Nicotine and Schizophrenia

Read more... Schizophrenia Coping

There is a new study out that links improved cognitive functioning with nasal nicotine spray use by people who have schizophrenia. Smoking is not recommended for anyone, however, because it causes cancer.

The study reports:

"Schizophrenics have among the highest rates of cigarette smoking. Some studies indicate that cigarette smoking or nicotine may ameliorate some of the cognitive or theoretically related neurophysiological deficits seen in schizophrenic patients.

This study investigated the effects of nicotine nasal spray on measures of attention, verbal memory, and visual-spatial memory in schizophrenic patients who were chronic smokers, using a double-blind placebo-controlled pre-post experimental design. Compared to placebo, active nicotine spray significantly decreased reaction time on the Conner's CPT and improved scores on a measure purported to reflect spatial working memory on a dot task.

There were trends for the increased number of hits and decreased number of errors in pre-post comparisons on the CPT task in the active nicotine session. There were no effects of active nicotine nasal spray on verbal memory. Our results suggest that nicotine may modestly enhance attention and spatial working memory in schizophrenic patients who are cigarette smokers and have been abstinent overnight."

Source: Neuropsychopharmacology. 2005 Sep 14; Effects of Nicotine Nasal Spray on Cognitive Function in Schizophrenia


i have been diagnosed with schizophrenia since 1995 and quit smoking since 1992. In 2005 i started occasionally using nicotine chewing gum while working. I use it only when i have trouble concentrating and continuing working since i am afraid of abusing it. It works great for cognition or concentration. It's the only thing that really helps me with my work.
since i read about the problems with nicotine i am really looking forward to the many nicotinic drugs in the pipeline.
cheers joost

Posted by: joost vandeputte at September 18, 2005 01:11 PM

i would like to comment the fact that cigarette smoking really helps me. i wash dishes part time at a local pizzaria. sometimes i get very stressed out and a cigarette helps me calm down.

Posted by: andrew heroux at September 19, 2005 01:11 PM

I am a Mom with a Son who has schizo and epilepsy and severe
asthma and add and who smokes and smokes an awful lot for being only 18 and we are all worried about him that he will
have a very bad asthma attack and also have to have a hole cut in his throat to breathe or he might not make it at all.My son finds butts all over the place and he walks everywhere to find them and when he has money he buys smokes and finishes a whole pack in a couple of hours and then goes to get more.Help I dont know what else to do we have tried everything to help him.I love my son and do not want him dieing on me.Thank you Sincerely Anna

Posted by: Anna at September 19, 2005 02:31 PM

To the Mom with the schizo son:

Recommend your son to use Swedish snus or chewing tobacco instead of cigarettes to reduce the cancer risk.

Posted by: Alexander at March 4, 2008 03:02 PM

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