Effects of varenicline versus transdermal nicotine replacement therapy on cigarette demand on quit day in individuals with substance use disorders
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RATIONALE: Cigarette demand is a behavioral economic measure of the relative value of cigarettes. Decreasing the value of cigarette reinforcement may help with quitting smoking. OBJECTIVES: This study aimed to evaluate the effects of initial use of varenicline (VAR) versus nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) on demand for cigarettes on quit day among smokers with substance use disorders (SUD) and to determine whether reduced demand was associated with subsequent abstinence from smoking at 1 and 3 months. METHODS: Participants (N = 110) were randomized to double-blind, double-placebo conditions: VAR with placebo NRT or NRT with placebo capsules. The cigarette purchase task (CPT) was used to assess demand for cigarettes at baseline and on quit day, following a 1-week medication dose run-up/placebo capsule lead-in and first day use of the patch. RESULTS: Demand for cigarettes decreased from baseline to quit day without significant differences between medications. Reductions in CPT intensity (number of cigarettes that would be smoked if they were free) and CPT breakpoint (lowest price at which no cigarettes would be purchased) predicted greater likelihood of abstaining on quit day. Reduced intensity predicted length of abstinence at 1 and 3 months while reduced breakpoint predicted only 1 month length of abstinence. CONCLUSIONS: Initial therapeutic doses of VAR and NRT resulted in similar reductions in cigarette reinforcement. Larger initial reductions in demand on quit day were associated with early success with abstaining from cigarettes. Behavioral economic approaches may be useful for identifying individuals who benefit less from pharmacotherapy and may need additional treatment resources. TRIAL REGISTRATION: https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00756275.
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