Smoking is the world's leading cause of premature death. Smokers who quit are able to significantly reduce their risk of premature death and other health issues – almost completely if they quit by age thirty and by fifty percent if they quit after age fifty. Because it's so difficult to quit smoking, many are turning to smoking cessation drugs, such as varenicline, to help minimize cravings and other withdrawal symptoms. Since elderly patients may handle medications differently than their younger counterparts, it's important to study a medicine's reactions in elderly people before recommendations are made regarding its use in the entire population.
In a recent study published in the November issue of SAGE Publications' The Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, Dr. Aaron Burstein and his colleagues from Pfizer Global Research and Development, report on the first clinical trial studying the safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetics of the drug varenicline on 65-75 year-old smokers. The researchers conducted a double blind study providing two random groups of participants with either varenicline or a placebo. Those receiving varenicline reported just mild adverse reactions, such as nausea, but since the reactions were so mild, no one withdrew from the study.
"It is important to evaluate the tolerability of a potential treatment for smoking cessation," write the authors. "The normal physiologic processes associated with aging can have diverse effects, particularly in the elderly population." The researchers concluded that the pharmacokinetics evident in elderly smokers with normal renal function taking varenicline were similar to that of younger, healthy persons and that the drug was well tolerated in this population, therefore it was unnecessary to adjust the dose of varenicline based solely on age.
The article "Pharmacokinetics, Safety, and Tolerability After Single and Multiple Oral Doses of Varenicline in Elderly Smokers" can be accessed at no-charge for a limited time at The Journal of Clinical Pharmacology's web site at www.jclinpharm.org/cgi/reprihttp://1234.
About The Journal of Clinical Pharmacology (JCP)
For over 45 years, clinical pharmacologists, clinical and pharmaceutical researchers, drug development specialists, physicians, nurses, and other medical professionals have relied on The Journal of Clinical Pharmacology for original research, special reviews, commentaries, and case reports on all phases of drug development. One of the most highly cited journals in the field, it features up to-the-minute and pertinent clinical information about the safety, tolerability, efficacy, therapeutic applications, toxicology, and total evaluation of new and established drugs for humans. JCP is the official journal for the American College of Clinical Pharmacology. www.jclinpharm.org
SAGE Publications is a leading international publisher of journals, books, and electronic media for academic, educational, and professional markets. Since 1965, SAGE has helped inform and educate a global community of scholars, practitioners, researchers, and students spanning a wide range of subject areas including business, humanities, social sciences, and science, technology and medicine. SAGE Publications, a privately owned corporation, has principal offices in Thousand Oaks, California, London, United Kingdom, and New Delhi, India. www.sagepublications.com
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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