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Varenicline More Effective When Combined with Nicotine Replacement Therapy — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
July 9, 2014

Varenicline More Effective When Combined with Nicotine Replacement Therapy

By Kristin J. Kelley

Edited by David G. Fairchild, MD, MPH, and Richard Saitz, MD, MPH, FACP, FASAM

Combining varenicline (Chantix) with nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) is more effective at achieving smoking cessation than varenicline alone, according to a randomized trial published in JAMA.

More than 400 adults (mean age: 46 years) who smoked at least 10 cigarettes per day during the past year were randomized to receive varenicline plus either a 15-mg nicotine patch or placebo patch. Roughly 62% of participants finished the study. Those who received the varenicline/NRT combination achieved higher continuous abstinence rates than those who took varenicline plus placebo at both 12 weeks (55% vs. 41%) and 24 weeks (49% vs. 33%). At 6 months, the point prevalence abstinence rate for the combination group was 65%, compared with 47% for the varenicline-alone group.

The combination group experienced more constipation, disturbed sleep, depression, and nausea, but the difference was statistically significant only for skin reactions.

Reader Comments (1)

J Ross Hester, PA-CH Other Healthcare Professional, Psychiatry, Edcom Associates Holistic Health

This result is intriguing because the equivalent to this in opioids would be to show giving heroin addicts on naloxone mso4 replacement therapy. Either there is in interaction between varenicline and NRT that's more complex or this validates my experience of pts self-medicating ADD with tobacco products' stimulant effects. The NRT met those needs better even in the presence of varenicline.

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