Medline ® Abstracts for References 3-5
of 'Patient education: Quitting smoking (Beyond the Basics)'
Varenicline, an alpha4beta2 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor partial agonist, vs sustained-release bupropion and placebo for smoking cessation: a randomized controlled trial.
Gonzales D, Rennard SI, Nides M, Oncken C, Azoulay S, Billing CB, Watsky EJ, Gong J, Williams KE, Reeves KR, Varenicline Phase 3 Study Group
CONTEXT: 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.
OBJECTIVE: To assess efficacy and safety of varenicline for smoking cessation compared with sustained-release bupropion (bupropion SR) and placebo.
DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: 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.
INTERVENTION: 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.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: 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.
RESULTS: 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%]).
CONCLUSION: 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.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT00141206.
Smoking Cessation Center, Department of Medicine, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, OR 97239, USA.
Efficacy of varenicline, an alpha4beta2 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor partial agonist, vs placebo or sustained-release bupropion for smoking cessation: a randomized controlled trial.
Jorenby DE, Hays JT, Rigotti NA, Azoulay S, Watsky EJ, Williams KE, Billing CB, Gong J, Reeves KR, Varenicline Phase 3 Study Group
CONTEXT: Varenicline, a partial agonist at the alpha4beta2 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor, has the potential to aid smoking cessation by relieving nicotine withdrawal symptoms and reducing the rewarding properties of nicotine.
OBJECTIVE: To determine the efficacy and safety of varenicline for smoking cessation compared with placebo or sustained-release bupropion (bupropion SR).
DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial conducted between June 2003 and March 2005 at 14 research centers with a 12-week treatment period and follow-up of smoking status to week 52. Of 1413 adult smokers who volunteered for the study, 1027 were enrolled; 65% of randomized participants completed the study.
INTERVENTION: Varenicline titrated to 1 mg twice daily (n = 344) or bupropion SR titrated to 150 mg twice daily (n = 342) or placebo (n = 341) for 12 weeks, plus weekly brief smoking cessation counseling.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Continuous abstinence from smoking during the last 4 weeks of treatment (weeks 9-12; primary end point) and through the follow-up period (weeks 9-24 and 9-52).
RESULTS: During the last 4 weeks of treatment (weeks 9-12), 43.9% of participants in the varenicline group were continuously abstinent from smoking compared with 17.6% in the placebo group (odds ratio [OR], 3.85; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.69-5.50; P<.001) and 29.8% in the bupropion SR group (OR, 1.90; 95% CI, 1.38-2.62; P<.001). For weeks 9 through 24, 29.7% of participants in the varenicline group were continuously abstinent compared with 13.2% in the placebo group (OR, 2.83; 95% CI, 1.91-4.19; P<.001) and 20.2% in the bupropion group (OR, 1.69; 95% CI, 1.19-2.42; P = .003). For weeks 9 through 52, 23% of participants in the varenicline group were continuously abstinent compared with 10.3% in the placebo group (OR, 2.66; 95% CI, 1.72-4.11; P<.001) and 14.6% in the bupropion SR group (OR, 1.77; 95% CI, 1.19-2.63; P = .004). Treatment was discontinued due to adverse events by 10.5% of participants in the varenicline group, 12.6% in the bupropion SR group, and 7.3% in the placebo group. The most common adverse event with varenicline was nausea, which occurred in 101 participants (29.4%).
CONCLUSIONS: Varenicline is an efficacious, safe, and well-tolerated smoking cessation pharmacotherapy. Varenicline's short-term and long-term efficacy exceeded that of both placebo and bupropion SR.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT00143364.
University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention, Madison, Wis 53711, USA. email@example.com
Nicotine receptor partial agonists for smoking cessation.
Cahill K, Lindson-Hawley N, Thomas KH, Fanshawe TR, Lancaster T
Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016;
BACKGROUND: Nicotine receptor partial agonists may help people to stop smoking by a combination of maintaining moderate levels of dopamine to counteract withdrawal symptoms (acting as an agonist) and reducing smoking satisfaction (acting as an antagonist).
OBJECTIVES: To review the efficacy of nicotine receptor partial agonists, including varenicline and cytisine, for smoking cessation.
SEARCH METHODS: We searched the Cochrane Tobacco Addiction Group's specialised register for trials, using the terms ('cytisine' or 'Tabex' or 'dianicline' or 'varenicline' or 'nicotine receptor partial agonist') in the title or abstract, or as keywords. The register is compiled from searches of MEDLINE, EMBASE, and PsycINFO using MeSH terms and free text to identify controlled trials of interventions for smoking cessation and prevention. We contacted authors of trial reports for additional information where necessary. The latest update of the specialised register was in May 2015, although we have included a few key trials published after this date. We also searched online clinical trials registers.
SELECTION CRITERIA: We included randomised controlled trials which compared the treatment drug with placebo. We also included comparisons with bupropion and nicotine patches where available. We excluded trials which did not report a minimum follow-up period of six months from start of treatment.
DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: We extracted data on the type of participants, the dose and duration of treatment, the outcome measures, the randomisation procedure, concealment of allocation, and completeness of follow-up.The main outcome measured was abstinence from smoking at longest follow-up. We used the most rigorous definition of abstinence, and preferred biochemically validated rates where they were reported. Where appropriate we pooled risk ratios (RRs), using the Mantel-Haenszel fixed-effect model.
MAIN RESULTS: Two trials of cytisine (937 people) found that more participants taking cytisine stopped smoking compared with placebo at longest follow-up, with a pooled risk ratio (RR) of 3.98 (95% confidence interval (CI) 2.01 to 7.87; low-quality evidence). One recent trial comparing cytisine with NRT in 1310 people found a benefit for cytisine at six months (RR 1.43, 95% CI 1.13 to 1.80).One trial of dianicline (602 people) failed to find evidence that it was effective (RR 1.20, 95% CI 0.82 to 1.75). This drug is no longer in development.We identified 39 trials that tested varenicline, 27 of which contributed to the primary analysis (varenicline versus placebo). Five of these trials also included a bupropion treatment arm. Eight trials compared varenicline with nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). Nine studies tested variations invarenicline dosage, and 13 tested usage in disease-specific subgroups of patients. The included studies covered 25,290 participants, 11,801 of whom used varenicline.The pooled RR for continuous or sustained abstinence at six months or longer for varenicline at standard dosage versus placebo was 2.24 (95% CI 2.06 to 2.43; 27 trials, 12,625 people; high-quality evidence). Varenicline at lower or variable doses was also shown to be effective, with an RR of 2.08 (95% CI 1.56 to 2.78; 4 trials, 1266 people). The pooled RR for varenicline versus bupropion at six months was 1.39 (95% CI 1.25 to 1.54; 5 trials, 5877 people; high-quality evidence). The RR for varenicline versus NRT for abstinence at 24 weeks was 1.25 (95% CI 1.14 to 1.37; 8 trials, 6264 people; moderate-quality evidence). Four trials which tested the use of varenicline beyond the 12-week standard regimen found the drug to be well-tolerated during long-term use. The number needed to treat with varenicline for an additional beneficial outcome, based on the weighted mean control rate, is 11 (95% CI 9 to 13). The most commonly reported adverse effect of varenicline was nausea, which was mostly at mild to moderate levels and usually subsided over time. Our analysis of reported serious adverse events occurring during or after active treatment suggests there may be a 25% increase in the chance of SAEs among people using varenicline (RR 1.25; 95% CI 1.04 to 1.49; 29 trials, 15,370 people; high-quality evidence). These events include comorbidities such as infections, cancers and injuries, and most were considered by the trialists to be unrelated to the treatments. There is also evidence of higher losses to follow-up in the control groups compared with the intervention groups, leading to a likely underascertainment of the true rate of SAEs among the controls. Early concerns about a possible association between varenicline and depressed mood, agitation, and suicidal behaviour or ideation led to the addition of a boxed warning to the labelling in 2008. However,subsequent observational cohort studies and meta-analyses have not confirmed these fears, and the findings of the EAGLES trial do not support a causal link between varenicline and neuropsychiatric disorders, including suicidal ideation and suicidal behaviour. The evidence is not conclusive, however, in people with past or current psychiatric disorders. Concerns have also been raised that varenicline may slightly increase cardiovascular events in people already at increased risk of those illnesses. Current evidence neither supports nor refutes such an association, but we await the findings of the CATS trial, which should establish whether or not this is a valid concern.
AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: Cytisine increases the chances of quitting, although absolute quit rates were modest in two recent trials. Varenicline at standard dose increased the chances of successful long-term smoking cessation between two- and three-fold compared with pharmacologically unassisted quit attempts. Lower dose regimens also conferred benefits for cessation, while reducing the incidence of adverse events. More participants quit successfully with varenicline than with bupropion or with NRT. Limited evidence suggests that varenicline may have a role to play in relapse prevention. The most frequently recorded adverse effect of varenicline is nausea, but mostly at mild to moderate levels and tending to subside over time. Early reports of possible links to suicidal ideation and behaviour have not been confirmed by current research.Future trials of cytisine may test extended regimens and more intensive behavioural support.
Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford, Radcliffe Observatory Quarter, Woodstock Road, Oxford, UK, OX2 6GG.