Varenicline, low dose naltrexone, and their combination for heavy-drinking smokers: human laboratory findings.
ABSTRACT: Heavy-drinking smokers constitute a sizeable and hard-to-treat subgroup of smokers, for whom tailored smoking cessation therapies are not yet available.The present study used a double-blind, randomized, 2?×?2 medication design, testing varenicline alone (VAR; 1 mg twice daily), low dose naltrexone alone (L-NTX; 25 mg once daily), varenicline plus naltrexone, and placebo for effects on cigarette craving and subjective response to alcohol and cigarettes in a sample (n?=?130) of heavy-drinking daily smokers (?10 cigarettes/day).All participants were tested after a 9-day titration period designed to reach a steady state on the target medication. Testing was completed at 12 h of nicotine abstinence, after consuming a standard dose of alcohol (target breath alcohol concentration?=?0.06 g/dl) and after smoking the first cigarette of the day.The combination of VAR?+?L-NTX was superior to placebo, and at times superior to monotherapy, in attenuating cigarette craving, cigarette and alcohol "high," and in reducing ad-lib consumption of both cigarettes and alcohol during the 9-day medication titration period.These preliminary findings indicate that clinical studies of the combination of VAR?+?L-NTX for heavy drinkers trying to quit smoking are warranted and may ultimately improve clinical care for this sizeable and treatment-resistant subgroup of smokers.
Project description:OBJECTIVES:Heavy-drinking tobacco users are less likely to successfully quit smoking than their moderate-drinking counterparts, even when they are prescribed smoking cessation medication. One strategy for improving treatment outcomes in this subgroup of tobacco users may be to combine medication therapies to target both alcohol and tobacco use simultaneously. Adding naltrexone to frontline smoking cessation treatments may improve treatment outcomes in this group. METHOD:This double-blind, placebo-controlled human laboratory study examined the effects of varenicline (2?mg/d) and varenicline (2?mg/d), combined with a low dose of naltrexone (25?mg/d) on alcohol-primed smoking behavior in a laboratory model of smoking relapse in heavy-drinking tobacco users (n?=?30). Participants attended a laboratory session and received an alcohol challenge (target breath alcohol concentration?=?0.030?g/dL). They completed a smoking delay task that assessed their ability to resist smoking followed by an ad libitum smoking phase (primary outcomes). They also provided ratings of subjective drug effects and craving, and carbon monoxide levels were measured after smoking (secondary outcomes). RESULTS:Participants receiving varenicline monotherapy delayed smoking longer and smoked fewer cigarettes than those on placebo. Participants receiving varenicline?+?low-dose naltrexone did not delay smoking longer than those receiving varenicline alone. Participants in both active medication arms smoked fewer cigarettes ad libitum than those receiving placebo. CONCLUSIONS:Varenicline can improve smoking outcomes even after an alcohol prime, supporting its use in heavy drinkers who wish to quit smoking. Findings did not support increased efficacy of combined varenicline?+?low-dose naltrexone relative to varenicline monotherapy.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The opioid antagonist naltrexone is not efficacious for every alcohol treatment seeker. However, various individual factors, such as genetic differences and nicotine-use/smoking status, have been suggested as predictors of naltrexone response. In a randomized clinical trial, we previously reported that nicotine-use/smoking status might be a stronger predictor of naltrexone efficacy than OPRM1 A118G single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genotype. In this report, we further characterize the nicotine-users in that trial, examine other drinking outcomes, examine the influence of smoking change on naltrexone effects on drinking, and validate the result in smokers with disialo carbohydrate-deficient transferrin (%dCDT) change as an independent biomarker of response. METHODS:Individuals (n = 146) meeting DSM-IV criteria for alcohol dependence who were genotyped for the OPRM1 A118G SNP and who did, or did not, use nicotine/cigarettes were randomized, in a balanced fashion, to naltrexone (50 mg/d) or placebo and provided medical management (MM) over a 16-week clinical trial. Alcohol use and smoking during the trial were assessed and analyzed. RESULTS:Nicotine-use/smoking status significantly interacted with medication in reducing percent heavy drinking days (PHDD) during the trial (p = 0.003), such that nicotine-users/smokers showed significantly lower PHDD on naltrexone versus placebo (p = 0.0001, Cohen's d = 0.89), while nonusers showed no significant difference between naltrexone and placebo (p = 0.95, Cohen's d = 0.02). Similar effects were shown for drinks per day and percent days drinking. The superiority of naltrexone over placebo on PHDD reduction in nicotine-users/smokers was confirmed with %dCDT (Cohen's d range 0.3 to 0.9 over the study). Naltrexone did not significantly change cigarette use in smokers, and change in use did not influence naltrexone's effect on PHDD. CONCLUSIONS:These data confirm past findings that naltrexone is more efficacious in those who use nicotine/cigarettes. Compared to previous work on the OPRM1 A118G SNP, it appears that nicotine-use might be a more salient predictor of naltrexone treatment response. While naltrexone did not change cigarette use during the study, and smoking change was not related to alcohol reduction, it should be noted that participants were not seeking smoking cessation and MM did not address this issue.
Project description:<h4>Objective</h4>Heavy drinking is common among smokers and is associated with especially poor health outcomes. Varenicline may affect mechanisms and clinical outcomes that are relevant for both smoking cessation and alcohol use. The current study examines whether varenicline, relative to nicotine replacement therapy, yields better smoking cessation outcomes among binge drinking smokers.<h4>Method</h4>Secondary data analyses of a comparative effectiveness randomized controlled trial of three smoking cessation pharmacotherapies (12 weeks of varenicline, nicotine patch, or nicotine patch and lozenge) paired with six counseling sessions were conducted. Adult daily cigarette smokers (N = 1,078, 52% female) reported patterns of alcohol use, cigarette craving, and alcohol-related cigarette craving at baseline and over 4 weeks after quitting. Smoking cessation outcome was 7-day biochemically confirmed point-prevalence abstinence.<h4>Results</h4>Binge drinkers had higher relapse rates than moderate drinkers at 4-week post-target quit day but not at the end of treatment or long-term follow up (12 and 26 weeks). Varenicline did not yield superior smoking cessation outcomes among binge drinkers, nor did it affect alcohol use early in the quit attempt. Varenicline did produce relatively large reductions in alcohol-related cigarette craving and overall cigarette craving during the first 4 weeks after quitting.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Varenicline did not yield higher smoking abstinence rates or reduce alcohol use among binge drinkers. Varenicline did reduce alcohol-related cigarette craving but this did not translate to meaningful differences in smoking abstinence. Varenicline's effects on smoking abstinence do not appear to vary significantly as a function of drinking status.
Project description:BACKGROUND AND AIMS:Despite the availability of several efficacious smoking cessation treatments, fewer than 25% of smokers who quit remain abstinent 1 year post-treatment. This study aimed to determine if varenicline and bupropion combination treatment would result in higher abstinence rates than varenicline alone. DESIGN:A double-blind, randomized, parallel-group smoking cessation clinical trial in which participants were exposed to 12 weeks of treatment and followed for 12 months. SETTING:Hospital-based out-patient clinic in Texas, USA specializing in cancer prevention. PARTICIPANTS:A total of 385 community smokers (58.44% male) who smoked 1 pack of cigarettes/day [mean = 19.66 cigarettes/day, standard deviation (SD) = 9.45]; had average carbon monoxide (CO) of 26.43 parts per million (SD = 13.74); and were moderately dependent (Fagerström Test for Cigarette Dependence = 4.79; SD = 2.07). INTERVENTIONS AND COMPARATOR:Smokers were randomized in a 3 : 1 (active: Placebo) ratio to 12 weeks of treatment as follows: placebo (n = 56), varenicline (Var; n = 166), and varenicline + bupropion (Combo; n = 163). MEASUREMENTS:A priori primary outcome: prolonged abstinence at 12 months. SECONDARY OUTCOMES:7-day point prevalence abstinence and continuous abstinence; all abstinence measures at end of treatment and 6-month follow-ups. FINDINGS:Intention-to-treat analysis: the Combo group (n = 163) failed to demonstrate superiority to the Var group (n = 166) for prolonged abstinence at 12 months [odds ratio (OR) = 0.91, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.50-1.64], supported by Bayes factor = 0.06. Both the Var (OR = 6.66, 95% CI = 1.61-59.27) and Combo groups (OR = 6.06, 95% CI = 1.45-54.09) demonstrated superiority to the Placebo group (n = 56; score = 8.38, P < 0.016). CONCLUSIONS:The addition of bupropion to varenicline treatment does not appear to increase smoking abstinence rates above that of varenicline alone. The findings support previous research showing a consistently favorable effect of both varenicline and the combination of varenicline and bupropion on smoking cessation compared with placebo.
Project description:<h4>Importance</h4>The US Food and Drug Administration recognizes total abstinence and no heavy drinking days as outcomes for pivotal pharmacotherapy trials for alcohol use disorder (AUD). Many patients have difficulty achieving these outcomes, which can discourage seeking treatment and has slowed the development of medications that affect alcohol use.<h4>Objective</h4>To compare 2 drinking-reduction outcomes with total abstinence and no heavy drinking outcomes.<h4>Design, setting, and participants</h4>Data were obtained from 3 multisite, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials of medications for treating alcohol dependence (naltrexone, varenicline, and topiramate) in adults with DSM-IV-categorized alcohol dependence.<h4>Main outcomes and measures</h4>Within each trial, the percentage of participants in active and placebo conditions who met responder definitions of abstinence, no heavy drinking days, a WHO 1-level reduction, and a WHO 2-level reduction was computed by month with corresponding effect sizes (Cohen h).<h4>Results</h4>Across the 3 trials (N = 1169; mean [SD] age, 45  years; 824 [70.5%] men), the percentage of participants classified as responders during the last 4 weeks of treatment was lowest for abstinence (naltrexone, 34.7% [100 of 288]; varenicline, 7.3% [7 of 96]; topiramate, 11.7% [21 of 179]) followed by no heavy drinking days (naltrexone, 51.0% [147 of 288]; varenicline, 24.0% [23 of 96]; topiramate, 20.7% [37 of 179]), WHO 2-level reduction (naltrexone, 75.0% [216 of 288]; varenicline, 55.2% [53 of 96]; topiramate, 44.7% [80 of 179]), and WHO 1-level reduction (naltrexone, 83.3% [240 of 288]; varenicline, 69.8 [67 of 96]; topiramate, 54.7% [98 of 179]) outcomes. Standardized treatment effects observed for the WHO 2-level reduction outcomes (naltrexone, Cohen h = 0.214 [95% CI, 0.053 -0.375]; varenicline, 0.273 [95% CI, -0.006 to 0.553]; topiramate, 0.230 [95% CI, 0.024-0.435]) and WHO 1-level reduction (naltrexone, Cohen h = 0.116 [95% CI, -0.046 to 0.277]; varenicline, 0.338 [95% CI, 0.058-0.617]; topiramate, 0.014 [95% CI, -0.192 to 0.219]) were comparable with those obtained using abstinence (naltrexone, Cohen h = 0.142 [95% CI, -0.020 to 0.303]; varenicline, 0.146 [95% CI, -0.133 to 0.426]; topiramate, 0.369 [95% CI, 0.163-0.574]) and no heavy drinking days (naltrexone, Cohen h = 0.140 [95% CI, -0.021 to 0.302]; varenicline, 0.232 [95% CI, -0.048 to 0.511]; topiramate, 0.207 [95% CI, 0.002-0.413]).<h4>Conclusions and relevance</h4>WHO drinking risk level reductions appear to be worthwhile indicators of treatment outcome in AUD pharmacotherapy trials. These outcomes may align with drinking reduction goals of many patients and capture clinically meaningful improvements experienced by more patients than either abstinence or no heavy drinking days.<h4>Trial registration</h4>ClinicalTrials.gov identifiers: NCT00006206; NCT01146613; NCT00210925.
Project description:Cigarette demand is a behavioral economic measure of the relative value of cigarettes. Decreasing the value of cigarette reinforcement may help with quitting smoking.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.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.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.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.https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00756275.
Project description:<h4>Rationale</h4>Emerging evidence suggests that the ?4?2 form of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) modulates the rewarding effects of alcohol. The nAChR ?4?2 subunit partial agonist varenicline (Chantix™), which is approved by the Food and Drug Administration for smoking cessation, also decreases ethanol consumption in rodents (Steensland et al., Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 104:12518-12523, 2007) and in human laboratory and open-label studies (Fucito et al., Psychopharmacology (Berl) 215:655-663, 2011; McKee et al., Biol Psychiatry 66:185-190 2009).<h4>Objectives</h4>We present a randomized, double-blind, 16-week study in heavy-drinking smokers (n?=?64 randomized to treatment) who were seeking treatment for their smoking. The study was designed to determine the effects of varenicline on alcohol craving and consumption. Outcome measures included number of alcoholic drinks per week, cigarettes per week, amount of alcohol craving per week, cumulative cigarettes and alcoholic drinks consumed during the treatment period, number of abstinent days, and weekly percentage of positive ethyl glucuronide and cotinine screens.<h4>Results</h4>Varenicline significantly decreases alcohol consumption (? (2)?=?35.32, p?<?0.0001) in smokers. Although varenicline has previously been associated with suicidality and depression, side effects were low in this study and declined over time in the varenicline treatment group.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Varenicline can produce a sustained decrease in alcohol consumption in individuals who also smoke. Further studies are warranted to assess varenicline efficacy in treatment-seeking alcohol abusers who do not smoke and to ascertain the relationship between varenicline effects on smoking and drinking.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>HIV, heavy drinking, and smoking are all pro-inflammatory and increase risk for coronary heart disease (CHD). Interventions that reduce alcohol use, smoking, or both in HIV-positive people could lower inflammation, CHD and death risk. Varenicline and cytisine are proven therapies for smoking cessation and may also reduce alcohol consumption. The comparative efficacy of varenicline and cytisine to reduce alcohol consumption has not been tested, nor has their comparative effectiveness been reported for smoking.<h4>Objective</h4>This paper describes the protocol of the Studying Partial agonists for Ethanol and Tobacco Elimination in Russians with HIV (St PETER HIV), a four-arm parallel-group randomized controlled trial comparing effects of varenicline, cytisine, and nicotine replacement therapy (NRT).<h4>Methods</h4>The study is recruiting four hundred HIV-positive heavy drinking smokers interested in cutting down on alcohol and/or tobacco in St. Petersburg, Russia. Participants are randomly assigned to receive either active varenicline + NRT placebo, varenicline placebo + active NRT, active cytisine + NRT placebo, cytisine placebo + active NRT. All participants receive evidence-based counseling for alcohol and tobacco use, one active medication, and one placebo. Outcomes are: 1) % heavy drinking days in the past month (primary study outcome at three months) and alcohol craving; 2) cigarettes per day (primary smoking outcome at 3 months) and 7-day point prevalence abstinence and; 3) inflammation, CHD risk, and mortality risk.<h4>Conclusion</h4>St PETER HIV addresses the paucity of randomized controlled trial data to guide treatment of alcohol consumption and smoking in HIV-positive heavy drinking smokers.
Project description:Combination of non-nicotine pharmacotherapies has been underexamined for cigarette smoking cessation. A randomized, double-blind, parallel-group double-dummy study evaluated two medications, bupropion (BUP) and naltrexone (NTX), in treatment-seeking cigarette smokers (N = 121) over a 7-week treatment intervention with 6-month follow-up. Smokers were randomized to either BUP (300 mg/day) + placebo (PBO) or BUP (300 mg/day) + NTX (50 mg/day). The primary outcome was biochemically verified (saliva cotinine, carbon monoxide) 7-day, point-prevalence abstinence. BUP + NTX was associated with significantly higher point-prevalence abstinence rates after 7-weeks of treatment (BUP + NTX, 54.1%; BUP + PBO, 33.3%), P = 0.0210, but not at 6-month follow-up (BUP + NTX, 27.9%; BUP + PBO, 15.0%), P = 0.09. Continuous abstinence rates did not differ, P = 0.0740 (BUP + NTX, 26.2%; BUP + PBO, 13.3%). Those receiving BUP + NTX reported reduced nicotine withdrawal, P = 0.0364. The BUP + NTX combination was associated with elevated rates of some side effects, but with no significant difference in retention between the groups.
Project description:Glutamate and opioid systems play important roles in alcohol drinking behaviors. We examined if combined treatment with the NMDA antagonist memantine and the opioid antagonist naltrexone, when compared with naltrexone alone, would have a greater influence on alcohol drinking behaviors. Fifty-six, non-treatment-seeking heavy drinkers, with alcohol dependence and a positive family history (FHP) of alcoholism, participated in a randomized, double-blind, crossover trial, including two 6-8 days treatment periods, separated by a 6-day washout, and 3 alcohol drinking paradigm (ADP) sessions. After the first baseline (BAS) ADP1 session, participants were randomized to receive either naltrexone (NTX; 50?mg/day)?+?placebo memantine, or NTX (50?mg/day)?+?memantine (MEM; 20?mg/day), during the first treatment period, following which they completed ADP2. After a 6-day washout, participants were crossed over to the treatment they did not receive during the first treatment period, following which they completed ADP3. During each ADP, participants received a priming drink of alcohol followed by 3 1-hour, self-administration periods during which they had ad-lib access to 12 drinks. Individually, both NTX and NTX?+?MEM, when compared to BAS ADP1, significantly reduced the number of drinks consumed (p's?<?0.001) and craving (p's?<?0.001). When comparing NTX?+?MEM vs. NTX on number of drinks consumed, there was a significant treatment* sequence interaction (p?=?0.004). Specifically, when NTX?+?MEM followed NTX alone, NTX?+?MEM resulted in a further reduction in drinking (mean: -1.94; 95% CI: -2.6, -0.8, p?=?0.0005). However, when NTX alone followed NTX?+?MEM, NTX alone did not lead to further reduction in drinking (mean: 0.59; 95% CI: -0.67, 1.43, p?=?0.47). Similar patterns were observed for alcohol craving; specifically, a significant reduction in craving was observed when NTX?+?MEM followed NTX alone (p?=?0.009), but craving reduction was maintained when NTX?+?MEM was followed by NTX alone. Neither treatment condition significantly influenced alcohol-induced stimulation or sedation. Memantine (at a dose of 20?mg/day) enhances the efficacy of naltrexone (50?mg/day) in reducing alcohol drinking and craving among FHP drinkers with beneficial effects that appear to carryover after discontinuation of memantine treatment.