Journal ‘Chest’: News briefs from the March 2011 issue

SMOKING CESSATION HIGHER WITH VARENICLINE COMPARED WITH PLACEBO IN PATIENTS WITH COPD

New research shows that patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) have higher smoking cessation rates with varenicline compared with placebo. In a multinational study involving 27 centers, researchers from UCLA followed 504 patients with mild to moderate COPD who were randomized to receive either varenicline (N=250) or placebo (N=254). At weeks 9-12, abstinence rates for patients treated with varenicline were higher than for the placebo group (42.3 percent vs 8.8 percent), and they remained higher through 52 weeks (18.6 percent vs 5.6 percent). Nausea, abnormal dreams, upper respiratory tract infection, and insomnia were the most commonly reported events with varenicline; however, serious adverse events were infrequent in both treatment groups. Researchers conclude that varenicline was more effective than placebo for smoking cessation in patients with mild to moderate COPD. This article is published in the March issue of Chest, the peer-reviewed journal of the American College of Chest Physicians: Chest 2011; 139(3):591-599.

CHILDREN WITH HIGH-RISK ASTHMA MAY BENEFIT FROM ENVIROMENTAL TOBACCO SMOKE INTERVENTION

Children who have a high risk of asthma exacerbations may benefit from caregiver education about environmental tobacco smoke, shows a new study. Researchers from the Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute in California followed 352 children with asthma who had significant exposure to smoke as they received the Lowering Environmental Tobacco Smoke (LET’S) intervention (N=178) or usual care (N=174). The LET’S intervention included three in-person counseling sessions and three follow-up phone calls for caregivers, in addition to feedback regarding a child’s urine cotinine level, a biomarker of tobacco exposure, at each in-person session. Overall, the LET’S intervention was not associated with significant reduction in tobacco smoke exposure or health-care utilization; however, the intervention appeared to reduce smoke exposure in children at high risk for asthma exacerbations. The article is published in the March issue of Chest, the peer-reviewed journal of the American College of Chest Physicians: Chest 2011; 139(3):581-590.

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