Background: The efficacy of perioperative tobacco interventions on long-term abstinence and the safety of smoking cessation less than 4 weeks before surgery is unclear. Our objective was to determine the efficacy and safety of a perioperative smoking cessation intervention with varenicline to reduce smoking in elective surgical patients.
Methods: In a prospective, multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, 286 patients were randomized to receive varenicline or placebo. Both groups received in-hospital and telephone counseling during 12 months. The primary outcome was the 7-day point prevalence abstinence rate 12 months after surgery. Secondary outcomes included abstinence at 3 and 6 months after surgery. Multivariable logistic regression was used to identify independent variables related to abstinence.
Results: The 7-day point prevalence abstinence at 12 months for varenicline versus placebo was 36.4% versus 25.2% (relative risk: 1.45; 95%: CI: 1.01-2.07; P = 0.04). At 3 and 6 months, the 7-day point prevalence abstinence was 43.7% versus 31.9% (relative risk: 1.37; 95% CI: 1.01 to 1.86; P = 0.04), and 35.8% versus 25.9% (relative risk: 1.43; 95%: CI 1.01-2.04; P = 0.04) for varenicline versus placebo, respectively. Treatment with varenicline (odds ratio: 1.76; 95% CI: 1.03-3.01; P = 0.04), and preoperative nicotine dependence (odds ratio: 0.82, 95% CI: 0.68 to 0.98; P = 0.03) predicted abstinence at 12 months. The adverse events profile in both groups was similar except for nausea, which occurred more frequently for varenicline versus placebo (13.3% vs. 3.7%, P = 0.004).
Conclusions: A perioperative smoking cessation intervention with varenicline increased abstinence from smoking 3, 6, and 12 months after elective noncardiac surgery with no increase in serious adverse events.