Cytisine versus varenicline for smoking cessation

February 2016

NDARC: Prof Michael Farrell (Chief Investigator), Dr Ryan Courtney (Project Coordinator), Prof Richard Mattick, Prof Anthony Shakeshaft

Other investigators: 
  • A/Prof Natalie Walker (University of Auckland)
  • Dr Hayden McRobbie (Queen Mary University London)
  • Dr Coral Gartner (University of Queensland)
  • Prof Mohammad Siahpush (University of Nebraska Medical Center)
  • Dr Dennis Petrie (University of Melbourne)
  • A/Prof Christine Paul (University of Newcastle)
  • Prof Robyn Richmond (University of New South Wales)
  • A/Prof Stuart Ferguson (University of Tasmania)
  • Prof Piotr Tutka (University of Rzeszow)
  • Prof Christopher Doran (Central Queensland University)
  • Dr Colin Mendelsohn (University of New South Wales)
  • Prof Nicholas Zwar (University of New South Wales)
  • Prof Robert West (University College London)
  • Prof Wayne Hall (University of Queensland)
Project description: 

Tobacco smoking is a leading cause of preventable disease and death. Smoking rates are higher among disadvantaged Australians and facilitating smoking cessation in this group is a national health priority. A number of strategies can increase cessation success, but relatively few smokers use proven effective strategies on any given quit attempt. New strategies that have a greater population wide health benefit are needed, yet there are few effective evidence-based interventions. 

Worldwide scant data exists on cytisine's efficacy compared to frontline marketed smoking cessation medications; at the exception of one RCT that demonstrated superiority with nicotine patch. 

Given that no trials have compared cytisine to varenicline, the aim of this study is to conduct a world-first CONSORT-adherent, pragmatic, single-blind, noninferiority randomised controlled trial (RCT). 

The results from this study are internationally important and further evidence on cytisine's effectiveness in smoking cessation is needed. The data (cost effectiveness and safety) from this trial is imperative and if cytisine presents as an affordable and cost-effective smoking cessation aid, it has great potential to reduce health care costs, improve smoking cessation rates and save millions of lives globally.