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Human Laboratory Study Of Varenicline in Smokers

This study has been completed.
Information provided by:
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Identifier:
First received: July 1, 2008
Last updated: January 26, 2010
Last verified: December 2009

The purpose of this study is to test the ways that a drug called varenicline helps smokers to quit smoking. Varenicline is also called Chantix® and is approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to help people quit smoking. We will test how varenicline works by having you quit smoking and complete tasks that assess how you think and feel. We predict that varenicline help reduce anxiety, improve attention and concentration, and reduce how satisfying cigarettes are.

Condition Intervention
Nicotine Dependence
Drug: Placebo
Drug: Varenicline

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Double Blind (Subject, Investigator)
Official Title: Human Laboratory Study Of Varenicline in Smokers

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA):

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Point-prevalence abstinence [ Time Frame: Every visit ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]

Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • Side effects [ Time Frame: every visit ] [ Designated as safety issue: Yes ]

Estimated Enrollment: 20
Study Start Date: April 2008
Study Completion Date: December 2009
Primary Completion Date: December 2009 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Placebo Comparator: 1
Placebo Varenicline
Drug: Placebo
Days 1 - 3 (0.5 mg tablet, q.d.), Days 4 - 7 (0.5 mg tablet, b.i.d.), and Day 8 - 21 (1 mg tablet, b.i.d.).
Other Name: Chantix
Active Comparator: 2
Drug: Varenicline
Days 1 - 3 (0.5 mg tablet, q.d.), Days 4 - 7 (0.5 mg tablet, b.i.d.), and Day 8 - 21 (1 mg tablet, b.i.d.).
Other Name: Chantix

Detailed Description:

The purpose of this study is to understand the therapeutic mechanisms of varenicline, a novel nicotinic analogue, through focused measures of potential psychological and physiological mediators. Varenicline is an FDA-approved pharmacotherapy for smoking cessation that is believed to provide relief from craving and withdrawal through agonism and antagonism of some central nervous system nicotinic acetylcholinergic receptors. However, no controlled studies have established the physiological and psychological processes that mediate the efficacy of varenicline in humans. The main goal of the proposed pilot study is to evaluate and compare the effects of varenicline on subjective, cognitive, and physiological outcomes, using a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind between-groups design. The study will combine both brief clinical trial methodology with human laboratory approaches. A secondary goal is to validate the utility of the laboratory paradigms for the identification of future smoking cessation agents.


Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years to 60 Years
Genders Eligible for Study:   Both
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes

Inclusion Criteria:

1.1. Who. Subjects will be women and men between the ages of 18 and 40 who have smoked at least 10 cigarettes per day for at least 1 year. They will respond to requests in the public media for individuals who are interested in quitting smoking.

1.2. Total sample/Number per group. The total randomized sample size will equal 20 subjects, equally distributed across the two medication groups.

1.3. Inclusion Criteria.

  1. 18 years to 60 years.
  2. Smoke Marlboro Lights (This criterion was selected to reduce inter-subject variation in response variables as has been done in many human laboratory studies of smoking behavior. Over 40% of all smokers smoke some type of the Marlboro brand of cigarette (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2005). Based on telephone screen data for 767 subjects collected at TURC, Marlboro Light cigarettes are the most common type of Marlboro smoked in our sampling population (158/252 Marlboro users [63%]). Therefore, we have decided to only enroll those smoking Marlboro Light cigarettes, non-menthol).
  3. Smoked at least 10 cigarettes/day for at least 1 year.
  4. English speaking and reading.
  5. Females who are of childbearing potential must practice effective contraception and meet the following criteria:

    1. Are instructed to avoid pregnancy through 30 days after the last dose of study medication.
    2. Have a negative urine pregnancy test at baseline.
    3. Agree to use of the birth control methods listed: an oral contraceptive agent, an intrauterine device (IUD), an implantable contraceptive (e.g., Norplant), or an injectable contraceptive (e.g., Depo-Provera) for at least one month prior to entering the study and will continue its use through at least 30 days after the last dose of the study medication. A barrier method of contraception (e.g., condom or diaphragm with spermicide) while participating in the study and 30 days after the last dose of study medication.
  6. Willingness to not use illicit drugs during study period including marijuana.

Exclusion Criteria:

  1. Concurrent use of tobacco products (other than cigarettes) or nicotine products.
  2. Medications that might affect the outcome measures of nicotine reward, cognition, anxiety, and stress will also be a basis for exclusion. These medications include psychotropic drugs (i.e., anti-psychotic, anti-depressant, anti-anxiety, or stimulant), anti- hypertensive agents (e.g., beta-blockers), and other drugs that can influence the outcome domains.
  3. History of kidney disease or renal impairment since varenicline is primarily excreted by the kidney and thus such patients are vulnerable to increased and potentially toxic levels of varenicline.
  4. Treatment for drug or alcohol dependence during the last year, or evidence of alcohol abuse so severe that the patient is judged potentially unable to comply with the protocol.
  5. Suicidal or homicidal ideation.
  6. History of bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, attention deficit disorder, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
  7. Current major depression or anxiety disorder.
  8. Pregnant or lactating or planning pregnancy during treatment period.
  9. Having plans to leave the immediate geographical area within 2 months.
  10. Unwillingness or inability to give written informed consent.
  Contacts and Locations
Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the Contacts provided below. For general information, see Learn About Clinical Studies.

Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00709696

United States, Minnesota
Tobacco Use Research Center
Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States, 55414
Sponsors and Collaborators
Principal Investigator: Marc E Mooney, Ph.D. University of Minnesota - Clinical and Translational Science Institute
Study Director: Andrew Oliver, B.A. University of Minnesota - Clinical and Translational Science Institute
  More Information


Responsible Party: Marc E. Mooney, Ph.D., University of Minnesota Identifier: NCT00709696     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: 0702M02324, K01DA019446, DPMCDA
Study First Received: July 1, 2008
Last Updated: January 26, 2010
Health Authority: United States: Federal Government

Keywords provided by National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA):
human laboratory study
stress tolerance
startle response
cognitive assessment
progressive ratio

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Cholinergic Agents
Cholinergic Agonists
Molecular Mechanisms of Pharmacological Action
Neurotransmitter Agents
Nicotinic Agonists
Pharmacologic Actions
Physiological Effects of Drugs processed this record on November 24, 2014