Impact of symptoms experienced by varenicline users on tobacco treatment in a real world setting

Abigail C. Halperin, Timothy A. McAfee, Lisa M. Jack, Sheryl L Catz, Jennifer B. McClure, T. Mona Deprey, Julie Richards, Susan M. Zbikowski, Gary E. Swan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


This article examines reported symptoms, nonsmoking rates, and medication use among 1,018 smokers using varenicline in a randomized trial comparing three forms of behavioral support for smoking cessation (phone, Web, or phone + Web). One month after beginning varenicline, 168 people (17%) had discontinued the medication. Most (53%) quit due to side effects and other symptoms. The most common side effect among all users was nausea (reported by 57% of users). At 1 month post medication initiation, those not taking varenicline were more likely to report smoking than those who continued the medication (57% vs. 16%, p < .001). Women reported more symptoms but did not discontinue medication at higher rates. Participants who received any telephone counseling (n = 681) were less likely to discontinue their medication than those with Web support only (15% vs. 21%, p < .01). Counseling may improve tolerance of this medication and reduce the rate of discontinuation due to side effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)428-434
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Substance Abuse Treatment
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Smoking cessation
  • Tobacco dependence treatment
  • Varenicline

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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