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Nicotine Replacement Therapy, Bupropion and Varenicline for Tobacco Cessation: A Review of Clinical Effectiveness

Last updated: March 8, 2016
Project Number: RC0747-000
Product Line: Rapid Response
Research Type: Drug
Report Type: Summary with Critical Appraisal
Result type: Report

Question

  1. What is the comparative clinical effectiveness of nicotine replacement therapy versus bupropion or varenicline in the general population of tobacco users?
  2. What is the comparative clinical effectiveness of nicotine replacement therapy, bupropion or varenicline versus placebo in the general population of tobacco users?

Key Message

Ten relevant studies are included in this review. The clinical effectiveness of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) compared to bupropion was found to be similar. Studies that compared varenicline to NRT reported higher rates for abstinence for participants in the varenicline group. There is some evidence to suggest that participants using bupropion, and those using varenicline achieved higher rates of abstinence when compared to placebo. Findings for NRT versus placebo or control were mixed, with some studies reporting no difference and one study reporting higher rates of abstinence for those on NRT.