Varenicline Effects on Cue Reactivity and Smoking Reward/Reinforcement
We proposed the following primary hypotheses:
1. Tonic (i.e., non-cue-provoked) craving levels would be lower in participants receiving
varenicline versus placebo.
2. Cue-provoked cravings (self-report and physiological responding) would be lower in
participants receiving varenicline versus placebo. (Secondary indices of craving
include heart rate and skin conductance.)
3. The two primary indices of nicotine reward/reinforcement (mCEQ and choice index) would
be lower in participants receiving varenicline versus placebo. (Secondary indices of
nicotine reinforcement include smoking topography variables.)
A final sample of 100 non-treatment seeking daily smokers were recruited from the Tampa-St.
Petersburg-Clearwater Metropolitan Area via paid advertisements in, and press releases to,
local newspapers, as well as targeted outdoor advertising via flyers (e.g., on public
Following the screening session, participants were randomly assigned to receive either
varenicline or placebo medication.
Allocation: Randomized, Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment, Masking: Double Blind (Subject, Caregiver, Investigator)
Tonic Craving Score (QSU) Based on Self Reports
Tonic Craving 1 (lowest) to 7 (highest). The Questionnaire of Smoking Urges (QSU), our primary measure of tonic craving, is a 32-item instrument, including 2 separate factor scales that roughly correspond to the desire to smoke for its pleasurable effects (positive reinforcement) or to remove unpleasant feelings of negative affect or withdrawal (negative reinforcement) (Tiffany and Drobes 1991). Following overnight abstinence, each session included assessment of tonic craving, reactivity (including craving) to smoking cues.
3 weeks per participant
Thomas Brandon, Ph.D.
H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute
United States: Institutional Review Board
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