Is cytisinicline an effective and safe pharmacotherapy to promote smoking cessation?
In a randomized clinical trial that included 810 adults who smoked, both a 6-week and a 12-week course of a novel cytisinicline dosing regimen were more effective than placebo and were well tolerated, producing significantly higher continuous smoking abstinence rates compared with placebo during the last 4 weeks of drug treatment and from the end of treatment to 24 weeks.
Both 6- and 12-week cytisinicline schedules, with behavioral support, demonstrated smoking cessation efficacy and excellent tolerability, offering a new nicotine dependence treatment option.
Cytisinicline (cytisine) is a plant-based alkaloid that, like varenicline, binds selectively to α4β2 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, which mediate nicotine dependence. Although not licensed in the US, cytisinicline is used in some European countries to aid smoking cessation, but its traditional dosing regimen and treatment duration may not be optimal.
To evaluate the efficacy and tolerability of cytisinicline for smoking cessation when administered in a novel pharmacokinetically based dosing regimen for 6 or 12 weeks vs placebo.
Design, Setting, and Participants
A 3-group, double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial (ORCA-2) compared 2 durations of cytisinicline treatment (6 or 12 weeks) vs placebo, with follow-up to 24 weeks, among 810 adults who smoked cigarettes daily and wanted to quit. It was conducted at 17 US sites from October 2020 to December 2021.
Participants were randomized (1:1:1) to cytisinicline, 3 mg, 3 times daily for 12 weeks (n = 270); cytisinicline, 3 mg, 3 times daily for 6 weeks then placebo 3 times daily for 6 weeks (n = 269); or placebo 3 times daily for 12 weeks (n = 271). All participants received behavioral support.
Main Outcomes and Measures
Biochemically verified continuous smoking abstinence for the last 4 weeks of cytisinicline treatment vs placebo (primary) and from end of treatment to 24 weeks (secondary).
Of 810 randomized participants (mean age, 52.5 years; 54.6% female; mean of 19.4 cigarettes smoked daily), 618 (76.3%) completed the trial. For the 6-week course of cytisinicline vs placebo, continuous abstinence rates were 25.3% vs 4.4% during weeks 3 to 6 (odds ratio [OR], 8.0 [95% CI, 3.9-16.3]; P < .001) and 8.9% vs 2.6% during weeks 3 to 24 (OR, 3.7 [95% CI, 1.5-10.2]; P = .002). For the 12-week course of cytisinicline vs placebo, continuous abstinence rates were 32.6% vs 7.0% for weeks 9 to 12 (OR, 6.3 [95% CI, 3.7-11.6]; P < .001) and 21.1% vs 4.8% during weeks 9 to 24 (OR, 5.3 [95% CI, 2.8-11.1]; P < .001). Nausea, abnormal dreams, and insomnia occurred in less than 10% of each group. Sixteen participants (2.9%) discontinued cytisinicline due to an adverse event. No drug-related serious adverse events occurred.
Conclusions and Relevance
Both 6- and 12-week cytisinicline schedules, with behavioral support, demonstrated smoking cessation efficacy and excellent tolerability, offering new nicotine dependence treatment options.
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT04576949