Varenicline and the Evaluation of Neuropsychiatric Adverse Events in Smokers

Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06517, USA.
Biological psychiatry (Impact Factor: 10.26). 06/2011; 69(11):1017-8. DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2011.04.012
Source: PubMed
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    • "Cohort studies can be subject to several forms of biases, including stimulated reporting through media awareness (Moore et al, 2011). Placebo-controlled trials exclude these biases, but do not have enough power to detect rare side effects (O'Malley, 2011). "
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    ABSTRACT: Varenicline is an effective and increasingly prescribed drug for smoking cessation, but has been associated with depressive symptoms and suicidal behavior. However, it remains unclear whether those changes in mood and behavior are directly related to varenicline use, or caused by smoking cessation itself or reflects depression and suicidality rates in smokers, independent of treatment. To investigate the influence of varenicline on mood and behavior independent of smoking and smoking cessation, we assessed the effects of varenicline on emotional processing (a biomarker of depressogenic effects), emotion-potentiated startle reactivity, impulsivity (linked with suicidal behavior), and cognitive performance in non-smoking subjects. We used a randomized, double-blind design, in which we administered varenicline or placebo to healthy subjects over 7 days (0.5 mg/day first 3 days, then 1 mg/day). Cognitive and emotional processing was assessed by a battery of computerized tasks and recording of emotion-potentiated startle response. A total of 41 subjects were randomized, with 38 subjects included in the analysis. The varenicline group did not differ from placebo in terms of negative biases in emotional processing or mood. However, compared with placebo, the varenicline group scored higher on working and declarative memory. In conclusion, short-term varenicline use did not influence negative biases in emotional processing or impulsivity in non-smoking subjects, thereby not supporting direct depressogenic or suicidal risk behavior-inducing effects. In contrast, varenicline may have cognitive-enhancing effects.Neuropsychopharmacology advance online publication, 17 October 2012; doi:10.1038/npp.2012.205.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2012 · Neuropsychopharmacology: official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology
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    ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE The authors evaluated an adaptive smoking cessation treatment strategy in which nicotine patch treatment was initiated before a quit date, and then, depending on initial therapeutic response, either the nicotine patch was continued or alternative pharmacotherapies were provided. METHOD The study was a double-blind, parallel-arm adaptive treatment trial. A total of 606 cigarette smokers started open-label nicotine patch treatment 2 weeks before the quit date. Those whose ad lib smoking did not decrease by >50% after 1 week were randomly assigned to one of three double-blind treatments: nicotine patch alone (control condition); "rescue" treatment with bupropion augmentation of the patch; or rescue treatment with varenicline alone. Participants whose precessation smoking decreased >50% but who lapsed after the quit date were also randomly assigned to the two rescue treatments or to nicotine patch alone. Logistic regression analyses compared each rescue treatment against the control condition in terms of abstinence at the end of treatment (weeks 8-11) and at 6 months. RESULTS Smokers who did not respond adequately to precessation nicotine patch benefited from bupropion augmentation; abstinence rates at end of treatment were 16% with nicotine patch alone and 28% with bupropion augmentation (odds ratio=2.04, 95% CI=1.03-4.01). Switching to varenicline produced less robust effects, but point abstinence at 6 months was 6.6% with the patch alone and 16.5% with a switch to varenicline (odds ratio=2.80, 95% CI=1.11-7.06). Postquit adaptive changes in treatment had no significant effects on any abstinence outcome. CONCLUSIONS It is possible to rescue a significant portion of smokers who would have failed to achieve abstinence if left on nicotine patch alone by identifying these smokers before their quit date and implementing adaptive changes in treatment.
    Preview · Article · May 2013 · American Journal of Psychiatry