Relationships of PROP taste phenotype, taste receptor genotype, and oral nicotine replacement use

Karen Ahijevych, Beverly J. Tepper, Margaret C. Graham, Christopher Holloman, William A. Matcham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Introduction: Recommended dosage of oral nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) product is often not achieved in smoking cessation attempts. n-6-propylthiouracil (PROP) bitter taste phenotype may be a potential risk factor for non-adherence to oral NRT products due to their bitter taste. There is limited literature on this phenotype in the context of smoking and none in relation to oral NRT pharmacotherapy. Methods: The association of PROP taste phenotype with NRT usage and sensory response to products was examined. In a cross-over experimental design, 120 participants received a 1 week supply of nicotine inhalers and 1 week of nicotine lozenges with random assignment to order. Mixed effects linear model analyses were conducted. Results: PROP taste phenotype and taste receptor genotype were not associated with NRT usage or sensory response to NRT, after adjusting for other factors. However, PROP non-tasters used a higher number of lozenges per day (continuous exposure) than nicotine cartridges (intermittent exposure). Unexpectedly, half of baseline PROP non-tasters shifted to taster phenotype 2 weeks after smoking cessation or reduction. Menthol cigarette smokers identified higher NRT strength of sensation scores than nonmenthol smokers. Taste receptor genotype was related to PROP taste phenotype (Kendall τ =.591, p =.0001). Conclusions: A nonsignificant relationship of PROP phenotype and NRT usage may be associated with NRT under-dosing and limited variance in the outcome variable. PROP non-tasters' greater use of lozenges is consistent with nicotine exposure being less aversive to non-tasters. Further research of this and other factors impacting NRT usage are warranted to effectively inform smoking cessation pharmacotherapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1149-1155
Number of pages7
JournalNicotine and Tobacco Research
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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