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      Varenicline and Bupropion for Long-Term Smoking Cessation (the MATCH Study): Protocol for a Real-World, Pragmatic, Randomized Controlled Trial


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          Varenicline and bupropion are efficacious, prescription-only pharmacotherapies for smoking cessation; however, their real-world impact is limited by prescriber knowledge, affordability, and accessibility.


          The primary objective of the MATCH (Medication Aids for Tobacco Cessation Health) study was to evaluate the real-world, long-term effectiveness of mailed bupropion and varenicline in a sample of interested smokers with the utilization of Web-based recruitment and follow-up. In addition, the study aims to investigate the genotypic and phenotypic predictors of cessation.


          This is a two-group, parallel block, randomized (1:1) open-label clinical trial. This study will be conducted online with the baseline enrollment through the study’s website and follow-up by emails. In addition, medication prescriptions will be filled by the study contract pharmacy and couriered to participants. Individuals who smoke ≥10 cigarettes per day and intend to quit within the next 30 days will be recruited through Public Health Units and Tobacco Control Area Networks throughout Ontario by word-of-mouth and the internet. Eligible participants will receive an email with a prescription for 12-week assigned medication and a letter to take to their physician. The recruitment and randomization will continue until 500 participants per arm have received medication. All participants will receive weekly motivational emails during the treatment phase. The primary outcome measure is the smoking status after 6 months, biochemically confirmed by mailed-in salivary cotinine. Follow-ups will be conducted through emails after 4, 8, 12, 26, and 52 weeks of starting the treatment to assess the smoking prevalence and continuous smoking abstinence. In addition, mailed-in saliva samples will be used for genetic and nicotine metabolism analyses. Furthermore, personality characteristics will be assessed using the Big Five Aspect Scales.


          The project was funded in 2014 and enrollment was completed in January 2017. Data analysis is currently underway.


          To the best of our knowledge, this is the first randomized controlled trial to mass distribute prescription medications for smoking cessation. We expect this method to be logistically feasible and cost effective with quit outcomes that are comparable to published clinical trials.

          Trial Registration

          ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02146911; https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02146911 (Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/72CZ6AvXZ)

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          Most cited references11

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          Smoking cessation with varenicline, a selective alpha4beta2 nicotinic receptor partial agonist: results from a 7-week, randomized, placebo- and bupropion-controlled trial with 1-year follow-up.

          Currently available smoking cessation therapies have limited success rates. Varenicline tartrate is a novel, selective nicotinic receptor partial agonist developed specifically for smoking cessation. This study evaluated the efficacy, tolerability, and safety of 3 varenicline doses for smoking cessation. Bupropion hydrochloride was included as an active control. A phase 2, multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of healthy smokers (18-65 years old). Subjects were randomized to varenicline tartrate, 0.3 mg once daily (n = 128), 1.0 mg once daily (n = 128), or 1.0 mg twice daily (n = 127), for 6 weeks plus placebo for 1 week; to 150-mg sustained-release bupropion hydrochloride twice daily (n = 128) for 7 weeks; or to placebo (n = 127) for 7 weeks. During the treatment phase, the continuous quit rates for any 4 weeks were significantly higher for varenicline tartrate, 1.0 mg twice daily (48.0%; P<.001) and 1.0 mg once daily (37.3%; P<.001), than for placebo (17.1%). The bupropion rate was 33.3% (P = .002 vs placebo). The carbon monoxide-confirmed continuous quit rates from week 4 to week 52 were significantly higher in the varenicline tartrate, 1.0 mg twice daily, group compared with the placebo group (14.4% vs 4.9%; P = .002). The bupropion rate was 6.3% (P = .60 vs placebo). Discontinuation owing to treatment-emergent adverse events was 15.9% for bupropion, 11.2% to 14.3% for varenicline, and 9.8% for placebo. No dose-related increases occurred in adverse events for varenicline. Varenicline tartrate demonstrated both short-term (1 mg twice daily and 1 mg once daily) and long-term efficacy (1 mg twice daily) vs placebo. Varenicline was well tolerated and may provide a novel therapy to aid smoking cessation.
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            Effectiveness of interventions to help people stop smoking: findings from the Cochrane Library.

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              Antidepressants for smoking cessation.

              There are at least two theoretical reasons to believe antidepressants might help in smoking cessation. Nicotine withdrawal may produce depressive symptoms or precipitate a major depressive episode and antidepressants may relieve these. Nicotine may have antidepressant effects that maintain smoking, and antidepressants may substitute for this effect. Alternatively, some antidepressants may have a specific effect on neural pathways underlying nicotine addiction, (e.g. blocking nicotine receptors) independent of their antidepressant effects. The aim of this review is to assess the effect of antidepressant medications in aiding long-term smoking cessation. The medications include bupropion; doxepin; fluoxetine; imipramine; moclobemide; nortriptyline; paroxetine; sertraline, tryptophan and venlafaxine. We searched the Cochrane Tobacco Addiction Group trials register which includes trials indexed in MEDLINE, EMBASE, SciSearch and PsycINFO, and other reviews and meeting abstracts, in September 2006. We considered randomized trials comparing antidepressant medications to placebo or an alternative pharmacotherapy for smoking cessation. We also included trials comparing different doses, using pharmacotherapy to prevent relapse or re-initiate smoking cessation or to help smokers reduce cigarette consumption. We excluded trials with less than six months follow up. We extracted data in duplicate on the type of study population, the nature of the pharmacotherapy, the outcome measures, method of randomization, and completeness of follow up. The main outcome measure was abstinence from smoking after at least six months follow up in patients smoking at baseline, expressed as an odds ratio (OR). We used the most rigorous definition of abstinence available in each trial, and biochemically validated rates if available. Where appropriate, we performed meta-analysis using a fixed-effect model. Seventeen new trials were identified since the last update in 2004 bringing the total number of included trials to 53. There were 40 trials of bupropion and eight trials of nortriptyline. When used as the sole pharmacotherapy, bupropion (31 trials, odds ratio [OR] 1.94, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.72 to 2.19) and nortriptyline (four trials, OR 2.34, 95% CI 1.61 to 3.41) both doubled the odds of cessation. There is insufficient evidence that adding bupropion or nortriptyline to nicotine replacement therapy provides an additional long-term benefit. Three trials of extended therapy with bupropion to prevent relapse after initial cessation did not find evidence of a significant long-term benefit. From the available data bupropion and nortriptyline appear to be equally effective and of similar efficacy to nicotine replacement therapy. Pooling three trials comparing bupropion to varenicline showed a lower odds of quitting with bupropion (OR 0.60, 95% CI 0.46 to 0.78). There is a risk of about 1 in 1000 of seizures associated with bupropion use. Concerns that bupropion may increase suicide risk are currently unproven. Nortriptyline has the potential for serious side-effects, but none have been seen in the few small trials for smoking cessation. There were six trials of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors; four of fluoxetine, one of sertraline and one of paroxetine. None of these detected significant long-term effects, and there was no evidence of a significant benefit when results were pooled. There was one trial of the monoamine oxidase inhibitor moclobemide, and one of the atypical antidepressant venlafaxine. Neither of these detected a significant long-term benefit. The antidepressants bupropion and nortriptyline aid long-term smoking cessation but selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (e.g. fluoxetine) do not. Evidence suggests that the mode of action of bupropion and nortriptyline is independent of their antidepressant effect and that they are of similar efficacy to nicotine replacement. Adverse events with both medications are rarely serious or lead to stopping medication.

                Author and article information

                JMIR Res Protoc
                JMIR Res Protoc
                JMIR Research Protocols
                JMIR Publications (Toronto, Canada )
                October 2018
                18 October 2018
                : 7
                : 10
                : e10826
                [1 ] Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology University of Toronto Toronto, ON Canada
                [2 ] Nicotine Dependence Service Centre for Addiction and Mental Health Toronto, ON Canada
                [3 ] Translational Addiction Research Laboratory Centre for Addiction and Mental Health Toronto, ON Canada
                [4 ] Department of Family and Community Medicine Faculty of Medicine University of Toronto Toronto, ON Canada
                [5 ] Department of Psychiatry University of Toronto Toronto, ON Canada
                [6 ] Department of Institute of Medical Sciences University of Toronto Toronto, ON Canada
                [7 ] Acute Care Program Centre for Addiction and Mental Health Toronto, ON Canada
                [8 ] Campbell Family Mental Health Research Institute Centre for Addiction and Mental Health Toronto, ON Canada
                [9 ] Dalla Lana School of Public Health University of Toronto Toronto, ON Canada
                Author notes
                Corresponding Author: Laurie Zawertailo laurie.zawertailo@ 123456camh.ca
                Author information
                ©Laurie Zawertailo, Tara Mansoursadeghi-Gilan, Helena Zhang, Sarwar Hussain, Bernard Le Foll, Peter Selby. Originally published in JMIR Research Protocols (http://www.researchprotocols.org), 18.10.2018.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work, first published in JMIR Research Protocols, is properly cited. The complete bibliographic information, a link to the original publication on http://www.researchprotocols.org.as well as this copyright and license information must be included.

                : 19 April 2018
                : 24 May 2018
                : 1 June 2018
                : 29 June 2018

                bupropion,genetics,internet,personality traits,smoking cessation,tobacco,varenicline


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