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Addict Behav. 2014 Oct;39(10):1484-90. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2014.05.008. Epub 2014 May 28.

The impact of pre-cessation varenicline on behavioral economic indices of smoking reinforcement.

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychology, State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY, United States. Electronic address: schlienz@buffalo.edu.
  • 2Department of Psychology, State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY, United States; Center for Children and Families, State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY, United States.
  • 3Department of Psychology, State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY, United States.
  • 4Departments of Medicine and Health Behavior, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, NY, United States.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Varenicline was developed to aid smoking cessation by reducing smoking reinforcement. The present study tests this reinforcement-reduction hypothesis among smokers preparing to quit.

METHOD:

After a one-week baseline, treatment-seeking smokers were randomized to receive three weeks of varenicline or placebo (Weeks 2-4). During each of the four weeks of the study, smokers completed a hypothetical cigarette purchase task (CPT) via handheld devices in their natural environment. Behavioral economic measures of simulated smoking if cigarettes were free (demand intensity), sensitivity of consumption to increasing price (elasticity), and price at which purchases would drop to 0 (breakpoint) were estimated.

RESULTS:

The exponential demand equation fit the purchase task data well across subjects and time. As predicted, demand intensity decreased and sensitivity to price (elasticity) increased over time. However, changes in demand intensity did not differ by treatment group. Contrary to our hypothesis that varenicline would increase sensitivity to price, the placebo group tended to become more elastic in their purchases during Weeks 2 and 3; the groups did not differ in elasticity at Week 4. Breakpoint did not vary by group, time, or their interaction.

CONCLUSION:

Simulated smoking demand can be validly assessed in the natural environment of treatment-seeking smokers. Simulated demand indices of smoking reinforcement diminished as smokers approached their target quit date. However, there was no evidence that varenicline facilitated these changes over a three-week period, leaving open the mechanisms by which varenicline reduces smoking rate prior to cessation and improves long-term abstinence.

Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

KEYWORDS:

Behavioral economics; Cigarette purchase task; Smoking reinforcement; Smoking reward; Varenicline

PMID:
24949949
[PubMed - in process]
PMCID:
PMC4109268
[Available on 2015-10-01]
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