Tobacco dependence treatment for hospitalized smokers: A randomized, controlled, pilot trial using varenicline

Michael B. Steinberg, Jennifer Randall, Shelley Greenhaus, Amy C. Schmelzer, Donna L. Richardson, Jeffrey L. Carson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Objective: The hospital can be an important opportunity for smoking cessation interventions. This is the first randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled pilot trial utilizing varenicline and post-discharge, in-person behavioral treatment for hospitalized smokers. Method: Seventy-nine smokers admitted to a university-based hospital with various diagnoses were enrolled from 2007 to 2009. The primary outcome was biochemically confirmed abstinence at 24. weeks following discharge. Secondary outcomes included withdrawal symptoms, motivation, utilization of treatment, and medical events. Results: Overall abstinence at 24. weeks was 27% with no difference between varenicline and placebo treatment groups (23% vs. 31%). There were no significant differences in motivation to stop smoking or withdrawal symptoms. Over 40% of all subjects utilized post-discharge behavioral treatment with significantly higher abstinence rates compared with those who did not (53.1% vs. 8.5%, p < 0.01). Overall adverse events were similar in both treatment groups with the only significant difference being more nausea in the varenicline group (25% vs. 5%; p < 0.01). Twenty-three subjects were re-hospitalized with no significant differences between treatment groups (13 varenicline vs. 10 placebo). Conclusion: This pilot trial of varenicline in hospitalized smokers demonstrated feasibility of implementation, produced some hypothesis-generating findings, and suggested the potential benefit of face-to-face treatment following discharge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1127-1132
Number of pages6
JournalAddictive Behaviors
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


  • Behavioral counseling
  • Hospital
  • Smoking cessation
  • Tobacco dependence treatment
  • Varenicline


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