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Systematic review and meta-analysis
Varenicline and combination nicotine replacement therapy are the most effective pharmacotherapies for treating tobacco use
  1. Jon O Ebbert
  1. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jon O Ebbert
    Mayo Clinic, 200 First Street SW, Rochester, MN 55905, USA; ebbert.jon{at}

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If current trends continue, tobacco use will cause one billion premature deaths globally this century.1 Predominantly in the form of cigarettes, smoking causes 12% of male and 6% female deaths around the world annually.2 Preventing tobacco-related diseases in cigarette smokers commonly requires treatment; and pharmacotherapy is a cornerstone of therapy. Several pharmacotherapies are currently available and others have been evaluated and abandoned. Understanding their comparative efficacies and risks will help guide treatment, policy and future research.


Cahill and colleagues searched the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR) from inception through to November 2012. Cochrane systematic reviews include only randomised clinical trials. The quality was assessed using standardised methodologies. Network meta-analyses were conducted, which use information across all available comparisons …

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  • Competing interests JOE has received research funding support from Pfizer, manufacturer of varenicline and consulting fees from GlaxoSmithKline, manufacturer of nicotine replacement products.

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