Alicia M Allen

University of Minnesota Duluth, Duluth, Minnesota, United States

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Publications (14)24.02 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: We compared smoking-related symptomatology in women by oral contraceptive (OC) use.•OC users had lower levels of positive affect during smoking cessation.•Smoking satisfaction and psychological reward varied by OC use and menstrual cycle.•OC users had more menstrual cycle variation in negative affect.
    Addictive Behaviors. 02/2015; 41.
  • Alicia M. Allen, Cheryl Oncken, Dorothy Hatsukami
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    ABSTRACT: Smoking is still the leading cause of premature morbidity and mortality. This paper examines new research on gender differences and the epidemiology of smoking, smoking-related morbidity and mortality, and factors that affect smoking cessation. The rate of decline in the prevalence of smoking has been slowing, especially among adolescent girls. New research suggests that, compared with men, women may be more susceptible to smoking-related morbidity and mortality. Gender-related barriers to smoking cessation include weight gain, sex hormones, and mood. Furthermore, the sensory aspects of smoking may have more of an effect on smoking treatment for women than for men. We discuss new studies that examine smoking-cessation interventions that may be particularly beneficial for women, including exercise (as an adjunct intervention), very low nicotine content cigarettes, and a variety of pharmacotherapy. Further research is needed to identify and target the gender-specific needs of smokers.
    Current Addiction Reports. 01/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Menstrual phase and depressive symptoms are known to minimize quit attempts in women. Therefore, the influence of these factors on smoking- and menstrual-related symptomatology during acute smoking cessation was investigated in a controlled cross-over lab-study. Participants (n = 147) completed two six-day testing weeks during their menstrual cycle with testing order randomly assigned (follicular vs. luteal). The testing week consisted of two days of ad libitum smoking followed by four days of biochemically verified smoking abstinence. Daily symptomatology measures were collected. Out of the 11 total symptoms investigated, six were significantly associated with menstrual phase and nine were significantly associated with level of depressive symptoms. Two significant interactions were noted indicating that there may be a stronger association between depressive symptoms with negative affect and premenstrual pain during the follicular phase compared to the luteal phase. Overall, these observations suggest that during acute smoking abstinence in premenopausal smokers, there is an association between depressive symptoms and symptomatology whereas menstrual phase appears to have less of an effect. Further study is needed to determine the effect of these observations on smoking cessation outcomes, as well as to define the mechanism of menstrual phase and depressive symptoms on smoking-related symptomatology.
    Addictive behaviors 01/2014; 39(5):901–906. · 2.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Post-cessation weight gain is a commonly cited barrier to smoking cessation. Some evidence suggests that nicotine replacement therapy may limit post-cessation weight gain by reducing energy intake. This project aims to assess differential changes in energy intake and body weight during smoking cessation in a sample of postmenopausal women randomized to receive 21mg nicotine or placebo patch for 12weeks. Postmenopausal women who smoked ≥10cigarettes/day were enrolled in this double-blind randomized placebo-controlled study. Total energy intake (via four-day food diaries), body mass index (BMI; kg/m(2)), cigarettes/day and smoking status (self-report verified by exhaled carbon monoxide) were assessed at three time points: 2weeks prior to quit date,12weeks after quit date, and 12months after smoking cessation treatment. Participants (n=119) were, on average, 55.8±6.7years old with a baseline BMI of 27.0±5.2 and average cigarette/day was 21.1±8.6. At Week 12, participants randomized to nicotine patch increased their mean caloric intake by 146.4±547.7kcal/day whereas those on placebo patch decreased their caloric intake by 175.3±463.2 (f-value=10.1, p-value=0.002). Despite the differences in caloric intake, body weight remained similar between groups. The results of this study indicate that nicotine patch may increase energy intake during treatment, and does not prevent post-cessation weight gain in postmenopausal smokers. Additional research is needed to replicate these findings and assess whether different forms of nicotine replacement therapy influence caloric intake and post-cessation weight gain in postmenopausal smokers.
    Eating behaviors 12/2013; 14(4):420-3.
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    ABSTRACT: Preclinical literature indicates that allopregnanolone (ALLO), a neuroactive steroid metabolized from progesterone, may protect against drug abuse behaviors. It is important to understand how ALLO varies during smoking changes in clinical samples with depressive symptoms (DS) given they are at high risk of smoking relapse. The purpose of this article is to characterize changes in ALLO by menstrual phase during short-term smoking cessation among women with and without DS. At screening, study participants (n = 84) were classified as either having past or current DS (n = 48) or not (n = 36). In a controlled crossover trial design, participants completed 2 testing weeks in the follicular (F; low ALLO) and luteal (L; high ALLO) menstrual phases. During each testing week, blood samples were collected during ad libitum smoking and on the fourth day of biochemically verified smoking abstinence. Participants were, on average, 30.1 ± 6.7 years old, smoked 12.6 ± 5.7 cigarettes per day, and most (73%) were White. The change in ALLO during short-term smoking cessation varied significantly by menstrual phase such that it decreased by 10% in the follicular phase and increased by 31% in the luteal phase. There were no significant differences in ALLO levels by DS group. In premenopausal women, ALLO levels varied by menstrual phase and smoking status, but not DS. Given that other research has indicated L phase is associated with improved smoking cessation outcomes, an increase in ALLO during short-term cessation in the L phase may protect against relapse whereas a decrease in ALLO, as observed in the F phase, may increase risk for relapse. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved).
    Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology 09/2013; · 2.55 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: INTRODUCTION: Accumulating evidence has linked depressive symptoms and sex hormones to risk for relapse; however, the specific mechanisms involved in these associations remain unknown. This randomized crossover study assessed physiological response to nicotine by menstrual phase in female smokers with and without depressive symptoms following acute smoking abstinence. METHODS: Females, ages 18-40 years with regular menstrual cycles, not on exogenous hormones or psychotropic medications, who reported smoking ≥5 cigarettes/day were enrolled. Participants were stratified into 2 groups: no depressive symptoms (NDS; n = 23) and depressive symptoms (DS; n = 24). After 4 days of biochemically verified smoking abstinence, participants completed 2 laboratory sessions in the follicular (F) and luteal (L) phases. Participants used nicotine nasal spray at Time 0, and blood pressure, heart rate, and serum nicotine were measured at Time -1, 5, 10, 20, 30, 45, 60, and 90min. RESULTS: Participants (n = 47) were 29.1±6.8 years old and smoked an average of 12.5±5.1 cigarettes/day. The NDS group had more pronounced menstrual phase differences (F > L) in diastolic blood pressure, heart rate, and maximum concentrations of nicotine compared with the DS group (p < .05).Conclusions:This study observed an interaction between sex hormones and depressive symptoms such that those without depressive symptoms had a greater menstrual phase difference in the physiological response to nicotine. These data offer additional support for the role of sex hormones in the physiological response to nicotine, which may play a role in menstrual phase effects on smoking cessation.
    Nicotine & Tobacco Research 11/2012; · 2.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Women are at an increased risk of relapse after a smoking cessation attempt. While the reasons for this phenomenon are not fully understood, recent research indicates that both the menstrual cycle and negative symptomatology may play a role. The goal of this study was to describe the association between withdrawal symptoms during attempted smoking cessation, and to investigate the impact of these symptoms on smoking cessation outcomes as defined by 7-day point prevalence at 14 and 30 days. Negative symptoms associated with the premenstrual period were also assessed. Participants (n = 202) were 29.8 (SD +/- 6.6) years old and smoked 16.6 (SD +/- 5.6) cigarettes per day. They were randomly assigned to quit smoking in the follicular (n = 106) or luteal (n = 96) menstrual phase. We observed several significantly more severe premenstrual and withdrawal symptoms in the luteal phase. Regardless of quit phase, most withdrawal symptoms were associated with an increased risk of relapse at 14 and 30 days post quit date. Participants attempting to quit smoking in the follicular phase who had higher levels of Anger and Craving were more likely to relapse to smoking at 14-days (OR = 2.00, p-value = 0.026; OR = 2.63, p-value = 0.006; respectively). These data suggest that the menstrual cycle may play a role in smoking cessation outcome, as well as in the symptomatology experienced during a cessation attempt.
    Addictive behaviors 01/2010; 35(6):549-52. · 2.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Recent research suggests nicotine metabolism may be influenced by sex hormones. Thus, we hypothesized that circadian smoking patterns would vary by menstrual phase. Healthy female smokers (n = 31) between the ages of 18 and 40 with regular menstrual cycles, and not using hormones or psychotropic medications, were recruited for a randomized clinical study. Subjects recorded the time of each cigarette smoked and their menstrual phase with daily diaries prospectively for one complete menstrual cycle of ad libitum smoking. Analyses included Poisson regression to assess variations in the rate of smoking during waking hours (i.e., 6:00 a.m. and 12:00 midnight) and circadian smoking patterns by menstrual phase. Participants were 29.61 +/- 5.44 years of age and smoked 16.93 +/- 5.37 cigarettes per day. Participants had a lower rate of smoking during waking hours in the follicular phase as compared to the menses phase. There were no significant menstrual phase differences in the circadian smoking patterns. These results offer further support for the influence of sex hormones on smoking behavior, but not on circadian patterns of smoking. Additional research is needed to study the direct relationship between nicotine metabolism, sex hormones, menstrual phase, and smoking behavior.
    Human Psychopharmacology Clinical and Experimental 06/2009; 24(6):503-6. · 2.10 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Clinical studies are emerging which suggest that sex hormones may play a role in quit attempts and relapse. The present study aim is to determine if menstrual phase plays a role on a second self-selected quit attempt and subsequent relapse during a twenty-six week follow-up. Participants (n=138) were 29.7+/-6.5 years old and smoked 16.1+/-4.8 cigarettes per day. Participants were more likely to self-select a second quit date during the Follicular (F) phase (59.4%) than Luteal (L) phase (40.6%, p=0.033) and were also more likely to relapse during the F phase than the L phase (59.7% vs. 40.3%, p=0.043, respectively). Those who self-selected to quit in the L phase experienced a significantly longer time to relapse than those who chose the F phase (median of 3 days vs. 2 days, respectively; Hazard Ratio=1.599, p-value=0.014). This confirms previous work suggesting quit dates in the F phase are associated with worse smoking cessation outcomes. Additional research is needed to investigate how this relationship may vary with the use of pharmacotherapy.
    Addictive behaviors 06/2009; 34(11):928-31. · 2.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Research indicates stress, craving and menstrual phase may play a role in relapse to smoking. It remains unknown how these factors may interact during cessation. This study describes the relationship between craving and cortisol concentrations by menstrual phase during ad libitum smoking and investigates the impact of this relationship on time to relapse. Five assessments of cortisol concentrations and craving levels were collected the day before smoking cessation in female smokers (n=38) during either the follicular (n=21; F) or luteal (n=17; L) phase. Craving at wake-up was significantly greater in the F phase than the L phase (2.5+/-1.9 vs. 1.1+/-1.4; p=0.018; respectively). Decreased levels of morning cortisol concentrations and a greater decline from morning to the nadir levels in cortisol were associated with increased craving at bedtime in the L (r=-0.68, p=0.002; r=-0.67, p=0.003; respectively), but not in the F phase. Craving at wake-up was a significant predictor of time to relapse (p=0.008). Our results indicate that menstrual phase may play a role in the relationship among craving, cortisol concentrations, and risk for relapse.
    Addictive behaviors 04/2009; 34(8):632-5. · 2.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Smokers with depressive symptoms are more likely to relapse after attempting to quit than those without depressive symptoms. Little is known about the relationship between depressive symptoms and relapse during the postpartum period; thus the aim of the present study is to assess the relationship between postpartum smoking relapse and depressive symptoms. Analysis of 2004 Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) data from women in 16 states who reported smoking 3 months before pregnancy and reported abstinence from smoking during the last 3 months of pregnancy (n=2566). For women experiencing postpartum depressive symptoms, chi-square tests were computed for homogeneity of distribution between two groups (sustained abstinence versus relapsed) and an OR for relapsing during the postpartum period. Potential confounders, including demographic characteristics, intensity of smoking before pregnancy, and time since delivery, were computed. Compared to women who did not experience postpartum depressive symptoms, women who did were 1.86 (95% CI=1.31, 2.65) times as likely to relapse during the postpartum period. After adjusting for demographic characteristics, intensity of smoking, and time since delivery, the association decreased slightly (adjusted OR=1.77, 95% CI=1.21, 2.59). Women who quit smoking during pregnancy may be more likely to relapse if they experience depressive symptoms. Further research is needed into the screening and treatment of postpartum depressive symptoms as a possible method for preventing postpartum smoking relapse.
    American journal of preventive medicine 02/2009; 36(1):9-12. · 4.24 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Prevention of early weight gain may be critical to avoid relapse among women with a fear of weight gain. Menstrual phase has physiological fluctuation of fluid resulting in short-term weight gain, suggesting menstrual phase of smoking cessation may impact short-term weight gain. This study examined the effect of smoking abstinence and menstrual cycle on short-term weight gain. Women were randomized to quit smoking during the follicular or luteal phase of their cycle and followed for four weeks. Weight, among other measures, was recorded at five post-quit date visits (days 2, 5, 9, 12 and week 4). Participants (n=152) were grouped based on randomized quit phase and smoking status after assigned quit date: 1) follicular (F), quit < 24 h, 2) F, quit > or = five days, 3) luteal (L), quit < 24 h, and 4) L, quit > or = five days. Participants who quit smoking experienced significantly more weight gain than those who quit for less than 24 h. There were no significant increases in short-term weight gain based on menstrual cycle phase during attempted smoking cessation.
    Eating behaviors 02/2009; 10(1):52-5.
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    ABSTRACT: Emerging evidence suggests that women have a more difficult time quitting smoking than men-possibly due, in part, to sex hormones. The present study characterized mood, premenstrual symptomatology, and smoking withdrawal, as well as smoking behavior, in the follicular and luteal phases during ad libitum smoking in 25 women intending to quit. We also investigated the possible influence of phase-related variability in these measures on likelihood of study adherence and smoking cessation. We found that premenstrual symptomatology, as well as some measures of mood and smoking withdrawal, were significantly higher during the luteal phase than in the follicular phase. Cigarettes/day did not vary by menstrual cycle phase. Phase-related variability in premenstrual symptomatology [F(3, 20)=2.82, p=0.0650)] and urge to smoke [F(2, 21)=4.85, p=0.0186)] were associated with relapse. These data support the inference that sex hormones influence smoking cessation outcome. This knowledge may contribute to the development of more rational and effective smoking cessation interventions for women.
    Addictive behaviors 09/2008; 34(1):107-11. · 2.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This study provided a population-based estimate of the prevalence of smoking during pregnancy by combining information from two data sources: birth certificates (BCs) and a self-administered questionnaire. We analyzed data from 39,345 women who delivered live births in one of 24 states and responded to a questionnaire from the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS), an ongoing, state- and population-based surveillance system. We compared prevalence of smoking during pregnancy based on the BC, the PRAMS questionnaire, and the two data sources combined. Data were weighted to represent all women delivering live births in each of the 24 states during 2004. The combined estimate indicated that 15.1% of women reported smoking during pregnancy, whereas the BCs alone reported 10.4% and the PRAMS questionnaires alone reported 13.4%. Based on the combined BC and PRAMS questionnaire data, the number of infants exposed to tobacco in-utero may be 31% higher than is currently reported on the BCs. Combining the data from the two different sources led to higher ascertainment of prenatal smoking.
    Public Health Reports 01/2008; 123(5):586-92. · 1.42 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

98 Citations
24.02 Total Impact Points


  • 2008–2014
    • University of Minnesota Duluth
      • • Department of Family Medicine and Community Health
      • • Medical School
      Duluth, Minnesota, United States
    • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
      • Division of Reproductive Health
      Druid Hills, GA, United States
  • 2010
    • University of Minnesota Twin Cities
      • Department of Family Medicine and Community Health
      Minneapolis, MN, United States