Pharmacotherapies for smoking cessation: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

Eisenberg, Mark J.; Filion, Kristian B.; Yavin, Daniel; Bélisle, Patrick; Mottillo, Salvatore; Joseph, Lawrence; Gervais, André; O'Loughlin, Jennifer; Paradis, Gilles; Rinfret, Stephane; Pilote, Louise
July 2008
CMAJ: Canadian Medical Association Journal;7/15/2008, Vol. 179 Issue 2, p135
Academic Journal
Background: Many placebo-controlled trials have demonstrated the efficacy of individual pharmacotherapies approved for smoking cessation. However, few direct or indirect comparisons of such interventions have been conducted. We performed a meta-analysis to compare the treatment effects of 7 approved pharmacologic interventions for smoking cessation. Methods: We searched the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Tobacco Information and Prevention database as well as MEDLINE, EMBASE and the Cochrane Library for published reports of placebo-controlled, double-blind randomized controlled trials of pharmacotherapies for smoking cessation. We included studies that reported biochemically validated measures of abstinence at 6 and 12 months. We used a hierarchical Bayesian random-effects model to summarize the results for each intervention. Results: We identified 70 published reports of 69 trials involving a total of 32 908 patients. Six of the 7 pharmacotherapies studied were found to be more efficacious than placebo: varenicline (odds ratio [OR] 2.41, 95% credible interval [CrI] 1.91-3.12), nicotine nasal spray (OR 2.37, 95% CrI 1.12-5.13), bupropion (OR 2.07, 95% CrI 1.73-2.55), transdermal nicotine (OR 2.07, 95% CrI 1.69-2.62), nicotine tablet (OR 2.06, 95% CrI 1.12-5.13) and nicotine gum (OR 1.71, 95% CrI 1.35-2.21). Similar results were obtained regardless of which measure of abstinence was used. Although the point estimate favoured nicotine inhaler over placebo (OR 2.17), these results were not conclusive because the credible interval included unity (95% CrI 0.95-5.43). When all 7 interventions were included in the same model, all were more efficacious than placebo. In our analysis of data from the varenicline trials that included bupropion control arms, we found that varenicline was superior to bupropion (OR 2.18, 95% CrI 1.09-4.08). Interpretation: Varenicline, bupropion and the 5 nicotine replacement therapies were all more efficacious than placebo at promoting smoking abstinence at 6 and 12 months.


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