Objective To understand the dynamic relations among tobacco withdrawal symptoms to inform the development of effective smoking cessation treatments. Dynamical system models from control engineering are introduced and utilized to evaluate complex treatment effects. We demonstrate how dynamical models can be used to examine how distinct withdrawal-related processes are related over time and how treatment influences these relations. Method Intensive longitudinal data from a randomized placebo-controlled smoking cessation trial (N = 1504) are used to estimate a dynamical model of withdrawal-related processes including momentary craving, negative affect, quitting self-efficacy, and cessation fatigue for each of six treatment conditions (nicotine patch, nicotine lozenge, bupropion, patch + lozenge, bupropion + lozenge, and placebo). Results Estimation and simulation results show that (1) withdrawal measurements are interrelated over time, (2) nicotine patch + nicotine lozenge showed reduced cessation fatigue and enhanced self-efficacy in the long-term while bupropion + nicotine lozenge was more effective at reducing negative affect and craving, and (3) although nicotine patch + nicotine lozenge had a better initial effect on cessation fatigue and self-efficacy, nicotine lozenge had a stronger effect on negative affect and nicotine patch had a stronger impact on craving. Conclusions This approach can be used to provide new evidence illustrating (a) the total impact of treatment conditions (via steady state values) and (b) the total initial impact (via rate of initial change values) on smoking-related outcomes for separate treatment conditions, noting that the conditions that produce the largest change may be different than the conditions that produce the fastest change.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Pharmacology (medical)