Varenicline’s effects on acute smoking behavior and reward and their association with subsequent abstinence
- First Online:
- 100 Downloads
Varenicline may aid smoking cessation by attenuating smoking behavior and reward. We compared the effects of varenicline versus placebo on smoking behavior and reward, assessed both prospectively and retrospectively, and related these effects to subsequent success in a brief simulated quit attempt with medication.
Materials and methods
Smokers (n = 124) with high or low interest in quitting smoking participated in a double-blind crossover study of varenicline versus placebo effects on smoking behavior and reward. In each of two phases, subjects received a week of medication run-up with varenicline (0.5 mg, b.i.d.) or placebo while continuing to smoke, followed the next week by an attempt to quit while on medication. At the end of each run-up week, subjects completed retrospective measures of smoking reward (liking) and number of cigarettes over the prior 24 hrs, and they provided an expired air carbon monoxide (CO) measure. They then completed a prospective session in which they ad lib smoked and rated the rewarding effects of one of their preferred cigarettes while blind to brand.
Varenicline decreased smoking reward significantly in the prospective assessment, but only marginally in the retrospective assessment. Varenicline did not alter smoking behavior prospectively, but did reduce CO and retrospective report of smoking amount. None of these effects of varenicline predicted subsequent days of abstinence due to varenicline.
During medication run-up, varenicline decreases acute smoking reward and may attenuate smoking behavior, but these effects do not appear to directly predict varenicline’s influence on smoking abstinence in a short-term test.
KeywordsSmoking Varenicline Reward Smoking cessation Nicotine dependence
- Huitema BE (1980) Analysis of covariance and alternatives. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- Perkins KA (2009) Sex differences in nicotine reinforcement and reward: influences on the persistence of tobacco smoking. In: Bevins R, Caggiula AR (eds) The motivational impact of nicotine and its role in tobacco use. Springer, New York, pp 143–169Google Scholar
- Perkins KA, Lerman C, Fonte CA, Mercincavage M, Stitzer ML, Chengappa KRN, Jain A (2010) Cross-validation of a new procedure for early human screening of cessation medications. Clin Pharmacol Ther, in pressGoogle Scholar
- Rollema H, Chambers LK, Coe JW, Glowa J, Hurst RS, Lebel LA, Lu Y, Mansbach RS, Mather RJ, Rovetti CC, Sands SB, Schaeffer E, Schulz DW, Tingley FD, Williams KE (2007) Pharmacological profile of the α4β2 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor partial agonist varenicline, an effective smoking cessation aid. Neuropharmacol 52:985–994CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Wakefield M, Morley C, Horan JK, Cummings KM (2002) The cigarette pack as image: new evidence from tobacco industry documents. Tob Control 22:173–180Google Scholar