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New medication appears effective in helping smokers kick the habit

first week, and two with a non-titrated, or fixed, dosing schedule, for promoting smoking cessation. Healthy smokers aged 18 to 65 years randomly received varenicline, .5 milligrams twice daily non-titrated, .5 milligrams twice daily titrated, 1 milligram twice daily non-titrated, 1 milligram twice daily titrated or placebo for 12 weeks, then with a 40-week follow-up period to assess long-term efficacy.

"In this study, treatment with varenicline tartrate at doses of .5 milligrams and 1 milligram twice daily, was associated with significantly higher smoking cessation rates compared with placebo," the authors report. At weeks nine to 52, the abstinence rates were 22.4 percent in the 1-milligram group, 18.5 percent in the .5-milligram group and 3.9 percent in the placebo group.

Among those who were treated with varenicline, 16 percent to 42 percent experienced nausea. Reports of nausea were lower among those who received progressive dosing.

"In summary, varenicline tartrate (.5-milligram and 1-milligram doses taken twice daily for 12 weeks) significantly improved short- and long-term abstinence rates compared with placebo," the authors conclude. "Future studies are warranted to compare the efficacy of varenicline to other smoking cessation pharmacotherapies and to determine whether a longer duration of medication treatment improves smoking cessation rates." (Arch Intern Med. 2006;166:1571-1577. Available pre-embargo to the media at http://www.jamamedia.org.)

Editor's Note: Pfizer Inc. provided funding for this study and was involved in all elements of the study, including, but not limited to, the study design and monitoring. Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.

Editorial: "No More Excuses to Delay Treatment"

The results of the
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Contact: Media Relations
mediarelations@jama-archives.org
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JAMA and Archives Journals
14-Aug-2006


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