A Review of Varenicline's Efficacy and Tolerability in Smoking Cessation Studies in Subjects with SchizophreniaMahtab Karkhane Yousefi1, Timothy D. Folsom1 and S. Hossein Fatemi1,2*
2Department of Pharmacology, University of Minnesota Medical School, 310 Church St. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455, United States and Department of Neuroscience, University of Minnesota Medical School, 310 Church St. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA
- *Corresponding Author:
- S. Hossein Fatemi
Department of Psychiatry, Division of Neuroscience Research
University of Minnesota Medical School, 420 Delaware St. SE
MMC 392, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA
Tel: 612-626-3633 Fax: 612-624-8935
E-mail: [email protected]
Received October 07, 2011; Accepted December 15, 2011; Published December 20, 2011
Citation: Karkhane Yousefi M, Folsom TD, Fatemi SH (2011) A Review of Varenicline’s Efficacy and Tolerability in Smoking Cessation Studies in Subjects with Schizophrenia. J Addict Res Ther S4:001. doi: 10.4172/2155-6105.S4-001
Copyright: © 2011 Karkhane Yousefi M, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Schizophrenia is a severe psychiatric disorder affecting 1% of the world’s population. Nicotine addiction is one of the most important health concerns for patients with schizophrenia. An extensive body of evidence points to a high prevalence rate of comorbid nicotine addiction in people with schizophrenia (70-90%), which contributes to significant cardiovascular and cancer risks in this vulnerable population. Therefore, effective smoking cessation strategies could play a major role in preventing significant morbidity and mortality in this population. Two of the most common pharmacological approaches to smoking cessation, bupropion and nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), have been used in psychiatric patients to reduce their smoking. In 2006, varenicline, a partial agonist of α4β2 acetylcholine receptor, was approved for smoking cessation by the FDA. This drug not only has the beneficial effects on withdrawal symptoms, but also reduces craving and rewarding effects of smoking. While varenicline has been shown to be an effective, safe medication for the general population, its efficacy and safety for subjects with schizophrenia is less well characterized. A number of case studies have prompted FDA warnings about the potential exacerbation of psychiatric symptoms. However, other case studies and pilot studies have shown varenicline to be a safe and effective treatment for smoking cessation in subjects with schizophrenia. Varenicline has the potential to reduce smoking in subjects with schizophrenia, however, clinicians should carefully monitor patients receiving varenicline for potential exacerbation of psychiatric symptoms.