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      Varenicline in the treatment of tobacco dependence

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          Abstract

          Varenicline, a partial agonist of α 4β 2 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, is the most recently approved drug for smoking cessation. This paper reviews the outcomes of Phase 2 and Phase 3 clinical trials that assess the efficacy of varenicline in comparison to placebo and other smoking cessation pharmacotherapies, ie, sustained-release bupropion (bupropion SR) and nicotine transdermal patch. Varenicline has higher abstinence rates than placebo and the alternative active treatments at the end of standard regimen treatment periods. Significantly higher abstinence rates were also found with varenicline in comparison to both placebo and bupropion SR at the end of a 40-week non-treatment follow-up period. Varenicline typically tripled the abstinence rates compared with placebo. In addition, varenicline reduced craving and withdrawal symptoms as well as some of the positive experiences associated with smoking to a greater extent than placebo, bupropion SR, and nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). These findings are consistent with the proposed agonist/antagonist effects of varenicline. Preliminary studies assessing individual variables such as smoking dependency level and smoking reinforcement types provide justification to examine further the effects of varenicline according to these individual factors. Outcomes from such research could improve our understanding of varenicline’s mechanism of action and could ultimately help clinicians to develop individualized smoking cessation programs. Also, given varenicline’s ability to reduce the reward from smoking, it might be helpful to use it before cessation to motivate or prepare smokers for a quit attempt.

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          Most cited references 71

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          Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders.

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            The Fagerström Test for Nicotine Dependence: a revision of the Fagerström Tolerance Questionnaire.

            We examine and refine the Fagerström Tolerance Questionnaire (FTQ: Fagerström, 1978). The relation between each FTQ item and biochemical measures of heaviness of smoking was examined in 254 smokers. We found that the nicotine rating item and the inhalation item were unrelated to any of our biochemical measures and these two items were primary contributors to psychometric deficiencies in the FTQ. We also found that a revised scoring of time to the first cigarette of the day (TTF) and number of cigarettes smoked per day (CPD) improved the scale. We present a revision of the FTQ: the Fagerström Test for Nicotine Dependence (FTND).
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              Varenicline, an alpha4beta2 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor partial agonist, vs sustained-release bupropion and placebo for smoking cessation: a randomized controlled trial.

              The alpha4beta2 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) are linked to the reinforcing effects of nicotine and maintaining smoking behavior. Varenicline, a novel alpha4beta2 nAChR partial agonist, may be beneficial for smoking cessation. To assess efficacy and safety of varenicline for smoking cessation compared with sustained-release bupropion (bupropion SR) and placebo. Randomized, double-blind, parallel-group, placebo- and active-treatment-controlled, phase 3 clinical trial conducted at 19 US centers from June 19, 2003, to April 22, 2005. Participants were 1025 generally healthy smokers (> or =10 cigarettes/d) with fewer than 3 months of smoking abstinence in the past year, 18 to 75 years old, recruited via advertising. Participants were randomly assigned in a 1:1:1 ratio to receive brief counseling and varenicline titrated to 1 mg twice per day (n = 352), bupropion SR titrated to 150 mg twice per day (n = 329), or placebo (n = 344) orally for 12 weeks, with 40 weeks of nondrug follow-up. Primary outcome was the exhaled carbon monoxide-confirmed 4-week rate of continuous abstinence from smoking for weeks 9 through 12. A secondary outcome was the continuous abstinence rate for weeks 9 through 24 and weeks 9 through 52. For weeks 9 through 12, the 4-week continuous abstinence rates were 44.0% for varenicline vs 17.7% for placebo (odds ratio [OR], 3.85; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.70-5.50; P<.001) and vs 29.5% for bupropion SR (OR, 1.93; 95% CI, 1.40-2.68; P<.001). Bupropion SR was also significantly more efficacious than placebo (OR, 2.00; 95% CI, 1.38-2.89; P<.001). For weeks 9 through 52, the continuous abstinence rates were 21.9% for varenicline vs 8.4% for placebo (OR, 3.09; 95% CI, 1.95-4.91; P<.001) and vs 16.1% for bupropion SR (OR, 1.46; 95% CI, 0.99-2.17; P = .057). Varenicline reduced craving and withdrawal and, for those who smoked while receiving study drug, smoking satisfaction. No sex differences in efficacy for varenicline were observed. Varenicline was safe and generally well tolerated, with study drug discontinuation rates similar to those for placebo. The most common adverse events for participants receiving active-drug treatment were nausea (98 participants receiving varenicline [28.1%]) and insomnia (72 receiving bupropion SR [21.9%]). Varenicline was significantly more efficacious than placebo for smoking cessation at all time points and significantly more efficacious than bupropion SR at the end of 12 weeks of drug treatment and at 24 weeks. clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT00141206.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat
                Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment
                Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment
                Dove Medical Press
                1176-6328
                1178-2021
                April 2008
                April 2008
                : 4
                : 2
                : 353-363
                Affiliations
                [1 ]simpleSmokers Information Centre, Fagerström Consulting AB Berga Alle 1, 25452 Helsingborg, Sweden
                [2 ]simpleUniversity of Vermont Burlington, Vermont, USA
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Karl Fagerström Smokers Information Centre, Fagerström Consulting AB, Berga Alle 1, 25452, Helsingborg, Sweden Tel +46 42 150650 Fax +46 42 165760 Email karl.fagerstrom@ 123456swipnet.se
                Article
                2518383
                18728741
                © 2008 Dove Medical Press Limited. All rights reserved
                Categories
                Expert Opinion

                Neurology

                nicotinic partial agonist, smoking cessation, varenicline

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