Clinical trial tests varenicline to help adolescents, young adults quit smoking

Bottom Line: Many adult cigarette smokers start before they turn 21 and this randomized clinical trial of volunteer participants tested how effective the smoking-cessation medication varenicline was in helping adolescents and young adults to quit. The 157 volunteers seeking treatment to quit ranged in age from 14 to 21; 77 participants received a 12-week course of varenicline and 80 received placebo but both groups received weekly smoking cessation counseling. The authors report the medicine was well tolerated but abstinence rates at the end of treatment, which was the trial’s primary outcome, didn’t differ between the two groups. However, secondary findings suggest varenicline helped smokers achieve self-reported abstinence earlier and better self-reported overall abstinence during treatment and at posttreatment follow-up. A potential limitation of the study was that biomarkers used to verify smoking abstinence may have been affected by participants who used marijuana or electronic cigarettes.

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Authors: Kevin M. Gray, M.D., Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, and coauthors

(doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2019.3553)

Editor’s Note: The article contains conflict of interest and funding/support disclosures. Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.

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Media advisory: To contact corresponding author Kevin M. Gray, M.D., email Montez Seabrook at [email protected] The full study and editorial are linked to this news release.

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