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Systematic review
Varenicline increases smoking abstinence at 6 months to a year compared with placebo or bupropion; nausea is the most commonly reported adverse effect
  1. Mehmet Sofuoglu1,
  2. Dianne Duffey1,
  3. Marc E Mooney2
  1. 1VA Connecticut Healthcare System & Yale Department of Psychiatry, West Haven, Connecticut, USA
  2. 2Department of Psychiatry, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
  1. Correspondence to Mehmet Sofuoglu
    950 Campbell Avenue, Building 35, Mailcode 151-D, West Haven, CT 06516, USA; mehmet.sofuoglu{at}

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Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable premature death in the world, with an estimated 5 million smoking-related deaths worldwide. Quitting substantially reduces the health risk associated with smoking. Treatments available for smoking cessation include nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs), bupropion and the most recently marketed, varenicline. Varenicline, an analogue of cytisine, is a partial agonist for the α4β2 subtype of nicotinic cholinergic receptors, which are associated with the addictive effects of nicotine. Varenicline may help smokers quit smoking by reducing the rewarding effects of nicotine as well as attenuating the withdrawal symptoms.1 This meta-analysis evaluated the efficacy and safety of partial nicotine agonists, varenicline or cytisine, compared with placebo or other treatments in clinical trials conducted worldwide.


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  • Competing interests MEM has received unrestricted research grants, including salary support, from Pfizer. MS and DD have no conflicting interests.