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Varenicline can help patients with COPD

By Lilian Anekwe

Varenicline is an effective and safe smoking cessation treatment in patients with mild to moderate COPD, the first randomised controlled trial has found.

Less than three per cent of patients in two pivotal placebo-controlled varenicline studies had a COPD diagnosis, warranting this separate study, the US researchers said.

Their study randomised 504 patients with a FEV1/FVC ratio of less than 70% and a FEV1 of 50% or more predicted normal to either varenicline or placebo for 12 weeks, with a 40 week non-treatment follow-up.

At 12 weeks the confirmed continuous absence rate with varenicline was significantly higher, at 42.3%, compared with the 8.8% seen in the placebo group and it remained significantly higher than placebo through to a year, when it was 18.6% compared with 5.6%. Reports of psychiatric adverse events were similar in both groups.

Dr Donald Taskin, medical director of the pulmonary function laboratory at the University of California Los Angeles, concluded: ‘Among smokers with mild to moderate COPD varenicline demonstrated superior efficacy compared with placebo. It was also found to be generally safe versus placebo.'

Chest, online 23 September

Varenicline encourages smoking cessation in patients with COPD

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