Relationship between drug exposure and the efficacy and safety of bupropion sustained release for smoking cessation

J A Johnston, J Fiedler-Kelly, E D Glover, D P Sachs, T H Grasela, J DeVeaugh-Geiss
Nicotine & Tobacco Research 2001, 3 (2): 131-40
A population pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic analysis evaluated the relationships of dose, plasma concentrations of bupropion and metabolites, and patient covariates with the safety and efficacy of bupropion sustained release (SR) for smoking cessation. A total of 519 outpatient chronic cigarette smokers were randomized to one of three bupropion SR doses: 100, 150, or 300 mg/day or placebo. The bupropion plasma concentration time data were fit and subject-specific bayesian estimates of clearance were obtained. Logistic regression analyses evaluated the role of dose, concentrations, and covariates in predicting efficacy and safety endpoints. For the evaluation of efficacy, patients were classified as quitters or non-quitters on the basis of a 4-week quit variable (defined as complete abstinence for weeks 4-7 of the study). For the evaluation of safety, patients were classified into two categories for each adverse event evaluated, corresponding to whether the patient ever experienced the adverse event during the course of the study or never experienced the event, regardless of whether the event was treatment-emergent. The efficacy of bupropion SR in facilitating smoking cessation was found to be related to dose and a mean metabolite concentration, and quitting in general was found to be related to the number of cigarettes smoked per day at baseline. Smoking cessation was 1.42, 1.69, and 2.84 times more likely in patients receiving 100, 150, and 300 mg/day of bupropion SR, respectively, as compared to placebo (p = 0.0001). As the baseline number of cigarettes smoked per day increased, the likelihood of quitting decreased regardless of the treatment condition. Insomnia and dry mouth were positively associated with mean metabolite concentrations, and dry mouth was inversely related to patient weight. Anxiety was inversely related to predicted steady-state concentration (Cpss), suggesting a positive effect on this withdrawal symptom. Bupropion SR exhibits a statistically significant dose/plasma level-response relationship for smoking cessation. Dry mouth and insomnia, related to concentrations, may be managed with dose reduction, with the realization that smoking cessation may be impaired.

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