Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

Varenicline, low dose naltrexone, and their combination for heavy-drinking smokers: human laboratory findings

  • Author(s): Ray, LA
  • Ray, LA
  • Courtney, KE
  • Ghahremani, DG
  • Miotto, K
  • Brody, A
  • Brody, A
  • London, ED
  • London, ED
  • et al.

Rationale Heavy-drinking smokers constitute a sizeable and hard-to-treat subgroup of smokers, for whom tailored smoking cessation therapies are not yet available. Objectives The present study used a double-blind, randomized, 2 × 2 medication design, testing varenicline alone (VAR; 1 mg twice daily), low dose naltrexone alone (L-NTX; 25 mg once daily), varenicline plus naltrexone, and placebo for effects on cigarette craving and subjective response to alcohol and cigarettes in a sample (n = 130) of heavy-drinking daily smokers (≥10 cigarettes/day). Methods All participants were tested after a 9-day titration period designed to reach a steady state on the target medication. Testing was completed at 12 h of nicotine abstinence, after consuming a standard dose of alcohol (target breath alcohol concentration = 0.06 g/dl) and after smoking the first cigarette of the day. Results The combination of VAR + L-NTX was superior to placebo, and at times superior to monotherapy, in attenuating cigarette craving, cigarette and alcohol "high," and in reducing ad-lib consumption of both cigarettes and alcohol during the 9-day medication titration period. Conclusions These preliminary findings indicate that clinical studies of the combination of VAR + L-NTX for heavy drinkers trying to quit smoking are warranted and may ultimately improve clinical care for this sizeable and treatment-resistant subgroup of smokers. © 2014 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC Academic Senate's Open Access Policy. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
Current View