People with serious mental health issues such as schizophrenia have higher rates of cigarette smoking than the general population, with estimates suggesting more than 50% are current smokers. When people in this population do manage to quit during treatment we then see particularly high rates of relapse after treatment ends.
A new randomised control trial (Evins et al , 2014) was published in JAMA last month as part of a special issue on “50 years of tobacco control”. The RCT aimed to reduce relapse rates in smokers with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. The researchers provided an extended treatment programme of varenicline (also known as Champix) and assessed whether patients achieved longer abstinence from cigarettes compared to placebo.
Varenicline partially stimulates nicotine receptors in the brain, thereby reducing the strong cigarette cravings and withdrawal symptoms abstinent smokers experience, while also reducing the pleasurable effects of smoking. A typical course lasts 12 weeks, but in this trial patients were given an extended ‘maintenance’ dose for one year.
- See more at: http://www.thementalelf.net/mental-health-conditions/substance-misuse/extended-therapy-with-varenicline-reduces-rates-of-smoking-relapse-in-people-with-serious-mental-health-issues/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=extended-therapy-with-varenicline-reduces-rates-of-smoking-relapse-in-people-with-serious-mental-health-issues#sthash.KmZR19N9.dpuf