Researchers found no significant differences in rates of smoking abstinence at 26 or 52 weeks following a 12-week treatment with a nicotine patch, varenicline, or combination nicotine replacement therapy (nicotine patch + nicotine lozenge [C-NRT]), in adults trying to quit smoking. Findings from the study are published in JAMA.

In the study, smokers were assigned to 1 of 3 smoking cessation pharmacotherapy groups for 12 weeks: nicotine patch only (n=241); varenicline only (with 1 prequit week; n=424); and C-NRT (n=421). Participants were offered six counseling sessions. The study’s primary outcome measure was carbon monoxide-confirmed self-reported 7-day point-prevalence abstinence at 26 weeks. 

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Study authors found that the cessation therapies did not significantly differ among any outcome measure at 26 or 52 weeks. Point-prevalence abstinence at 26 weeks was 23% for the nicotine patch arm, 24% for the varenicline arm, and 27% for the C-NRT arm. AT 52 weeks, point-prevalence abstinence was 21% for the nicotine patch arm, 19% for the varenicline arm, and 20% for the C-NRT arm. Treatment with varenicline resulted in more adverse events than the nicotine patch regarding vivid dreams, insomnia, nausea, constipation, sleepiness, and indigestion. 

Findings from the study “raise questions about the relative effectiveness of intense smoking pharmacotherapies,” added the authors.

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