Varenicline, a prescription smoking cessation aid, has had no significant impact on the rate adults successfully quit smoking, according to a new study.
The findings, published online August 17 in Tobacco Control, suggest that the primary effect of varenicline (marketed as Chantix) has been to displace the use of older tobacco addiction therapies, such as nicotine patches and the antidepressant, bupropion (Zyban).
Moreover, in this population analysis, researchers said varenicline’s enhanced effectiveness in helping smokers quit, compared with other cessation aides, appeared to be short-lived, lasting for three months, after which time varenicline users no longer had higher rates of success.
“We had hoped the new pharmacotherapy would help more people quit, but this is not what is happening,” said lead author Shu-Hong Zhu, PhD, a professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health and director of Center for Research and Intervention in Tobacco Control at UC San Diego. “Instead, varenicline is replacing other options like the patch, without having any significant population-level impact on quitting success.”