Many patients with alcohol use disorder are also cigarette smokers, and management of both health risks is a significant challenge. A recent trial has demonstrates the value of varenicline, in conjunction with medical management, in reducing heavy drinking and increasing abstinence from cigarettes in men. This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial evaluated heavy drinking and smoking abstinence in both men and women, and found a statistically significant decrease in heavy drinking in men, but no effect in women. However, prolonged smoking abstinence was improved in both men and women taking the drug.
Given the frequency of these two health risks co-occuring, and the challenges faced in treating them, these findings are particularly encouraging.
Additional information about Varenicline can be found in the Top 300 Pharmacy Drug Cards. If you or your institution subscribes to AccessPharmacy, use or create your MyAccess Profile to sign-in to the Top 300 Pharmacy Drug Cards. If your institution does not provide access, ask your medical librarian about subscribing.
O'Malley SS, Zweben A, Fucito LM, et al. Effect of varenicline combined with medical management on alcohol use disorder with comorbid cigarette smoking: A randomized clinical trial. [Epub ahead of print]. JAMA Psychiatry. 2017 Dec 20. doi: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2017.3544.