Likelihood of Abstinence Using Smoking Cessation Drugs

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Using varenicline, bupropion, or nicotine replacement for smoking cessation did not increase the probability of long-term smoking abstinence.
Using varenicline, bupropion, or nicotine replacement for smoking cessation did not increase the probability of long-term smoking abstinence.

HealthDay News — Pharmaceutical aids are not effective for increasing long-term smoking cessation, according to a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Eric C. Leas, PhD, from the University of California, San Diego, in La Jolla, and colleagues examined the effectiveness of medications to aid quitting among baseline adult smokers who attempted to quit before one year of follow-up in two longitudinal studies.

Data were included from pharmaceutical aid users and nonusers with complete data (2129 subjects) who were matched using propensity score models.

The researchers found that using matched samples, no evidence was found for the use of varenicline (adjusted risk difference, 0.01; 95% CI, −0.07 to 0.11), bupropion (adjusted risk difference, 0.02; 95% CI, −0.04 to 0.09), or nicotine replacement (adjusted risk difference, 0.01; 95%CI, −0.03 to 0.06) in increasing the probability of 30 days or more of smoking abstinence at one-year follow-up.

"The lack of effectiveness of pharmaceutical aids in increasing long-term cessation in population samples is not an artifact caused by confounded analyses," the authors write. "A possible explanation is that counseling and support interventions provided in efficacy trials are rarely delivered in the general population."

Reference

Leas EC, Pierce JP, Benmarhnia T, et al. Effectiveness of pharmaceutical smoking cessation aids in a nationally representative cohort of American smokers [published online December 21, 2017]. J Natl Cancer Inst. doi: 10.1093/jnci/djx240.

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