Varenicline for Smoking Cessation in Hospitalized Patients With Acute Coronary Syndrome
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BACKGROUND: Less than one-third of smokers hospitalized with an acute coronary syndrome (ACS) remain abstinent following discharge. We assessed whether varenicline, begun in-hospital, is efficacious for smoking cessation following ACS. METHODS AND RESULTS: We conducted a multi-center, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial in which smokers hospitalized with an ACS were randomized to varenicline or placebo for 12 weeks. All patients received low-intensity counseling. The primary end point was point-prevalence smoking abstinence assessed at 24 weeks by 7-day recall and biochemical validation using expired carbon monoxide. A total of 302 patients were randomized (mean age 55±9 years; 75% male; 56% ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction; 38% non-ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction; 6% unstable angina). Patients smoked a mean of 21±11 cigarettes/d at the time of hospitalization and had been smoking for a mean of 36±12 years. At 24 weeks, patients randomized to varenicline had significantly higher rates of smoking abstinence and reduction than patients randomized to placebo. Point-prevalence abstinence rates were 47.3% in the varenicline group and 32.5% in the placebo group (P=0.012; number needed to treat=6.8). Continuous abstinence rates were 35.8% and 25.8%, respectively (P=0.081; number needed to treat=10.0), and rates of reduction ≥50% in daily cigarette consumption were 67.4% and 55.6%, respectively (P=0.05; number needed to treat=8.5). Adverse event rates within 30 days of study drug discontinuation were similar between groups (serious adverse events: varenicline 11.9%, placebo 11.3%; major adverse cardiovascular events: varenicline 4.0%, placebo 4.6%). CONCLUSIONS: Varenicline, initiated in-hospital following ACS, is efficacious for smoking cessation. Future studies are needed to establish safety in these patients. CLINICAL TRIAL REGISTRATION: URL: http://www.clinicaltrials.gov. Unique identifier: NCT00794573.
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