(HealthDay News) – Combination treatment with varenicline plus bupropion sustained-release is initially more effective than varenicline alone in promoting smoking abstinence, but the results are not long-lasting, according to a study published in the Jan. 8 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, a theme issue on tobacco control.

Jon O. Ebbert, MD, from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, and colleagues randomly assigned 506 adult cigarette smokers (of whom 315 completed the study) to varenicline plus placebo or varenicline plus bupropion sustained-release for 12 weeks.

The researchers found that a significantly greater percentage of the varenicline plus bupropion group achieved prolonged smoking abstinence (no smoking from two weeks after the target quit date) after 12 weeks (53% vs. 43.2%; odds ratio 1.49) and 26 weeks (36.6% vs. 27.6%; odds ratio 1.52). There was no significant improvement at either time point for seven-day point-prevalence smoking abstinence (no smoking in the past seven days). Both outcomes did not differ significantly between groups after 52 weeks.

“Further research is required to determine the role of combination therapy in smoking cessation,” Ebbert and colleagues write.

Varenicline was provided by Pfizer; several authors disclosed financial ties to Pfizer or other pharmaceutical companies. One author also disclosed providing expert testimony in Florida tobacco litigation cases.

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