Smoking cessation therapies increase abstinence rates

But relapse rates remain high

SMOKING cessation therapies were found effective in increasing abstinence rates at the initial stage; but, they falter the longer the therapies were applied. A second study, meanwhile, found that combination therapies were effective in smokers with serious mental illness.

Varenicline as a pharmacotherapy for smoking cessation was examined in two studies to determine its efficacy in combination and maintenance therapies.

The first study, by Ebert, J et al. combined varenicline with bupropion or placebo and were given to 500 randomized adult smokers for 12 weeks.

The study aimed to determine the safety and efficacy of combination therapy.

After the 52-week follow-up, the therapy produced higher biochemically confirmed, prolonged abstinence rates at 12 and 26 weeks, but not at 52 weeks. Previous seven days smoking abstinence did not differ between groups at any follow-up point.

A second study aimed to find out if smokers with schizophrenia and bipolar disease have higher rates of prolonged tobacco abstinence with maintenance therapy compared to standard treatment. The study was done by Evins et al.

“Among smokers with serious mental illness who attained initial abstinence with standard treatment maintenance pharmacotherapy with varenicline and cognitive behavioral therapy improved prolonged tobacco abstinence rates compared with cognitive behavioral therapy alone after one year of treatment and six months after treatment discontinuation,” said the researchers in the study.

Earlier studies have shown that standard course of pharmacotherapeutic cessation of smoking improved short-term abstinence but relapsed rapidly after discontinuation.

The study examined a sample size of 247 smokers with schizophrenia or bipolar disease using an openlabel varenicline and cognitive behavioral therapy. The abstinence criteria were met by 87 participants who later entered the relapse prevention intervention. With a JAMA report

VitalSigns Issue 61 Vol. 3, March 1-31, 2014