Effect of Ramelteon on Smoking Abstinence (RAP)

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details. Identifier: NCT02560324
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : September 25, 2015
Last Update Posted : August 31, 2018
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
University of Pennsylvania

Brief Summary:
This is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover study to test whether a medication called ramelteon (Brand Name: Remeron) will help smokers quit and whether it reduces sleep problems that smokers experience during a quit attempt.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Tobacco Use Disorder Drug: Ramelteon Drug: Placebo Phase 2

Detailed Description:

Ramelteon, an FDA-approved treatment for insomnia, is used to treat sleep problems (e.g., specifically sleep onset latency) by enhancing melatonin receptor function. The investigators propose a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled crossover study.

Fifty chronic smokers will complete a validated procedure for screening new medications. All subjects will receive 8mg ramelteon and placebo. The order in which ramelteon and placebo is received will be randomized across participants. This is a 6-week study consisting of two 2-week medication phases separated by a 2-week washout. Each phase includes 1 week of ad libitum smoking (baseline) and 1 week of medication (ramelteon vs. placebo) plus transdermal nicotine patches while trying to abstain from smoking (quit assessment). Subjects will complete the same procedures during each study phase. Following completion of the study, participants will be offered standard smoking cessation treatment.

For the duration of the study, subjects will be asked to keep sleep diaries and to wear an armband while sleeping, which provides objective indices of sleep duration and quality (SensewearPro® armband).

The primary outcome will be the total number of days abstinent (out of 5) during each quit assessment period. Intermediate outcomes include sleep onset latency (self-report) and sleep efficiency (SensewearPro®).

This study will provide information about the role of the melatonin system during brief abstinence and whether enhancing melatonin reduces abstinence-induced sleep problems that promote smoking relapse. Information obtained in this study may further establish the role of sleep disturbance in promoting smoking relapse.

Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Actual Enrollment : 138 participants
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Crossover Assignment
Masking: Triple (Participant, Care Provider, Investigator)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Repurposing Melatonin Receptor Agonists as Adjunct Treatments for Smoking Cessation
Actual Study Start Date : September 2015
Actual Primary Completion Date : August 2018
Actual Study Completion Date : August 2018

Resource links provided by the National Library of Medicine

Drug Information available for: Ramelteon

Arm Intervention/treatment
Experimental: Ramelteon

The study will be performed using 8mg of ramelteon, which is currently marketed for the treatment of sleep problems. The proposed study follows the typical dosing regimen for ramelteon (8mg once a day) for 5 days during each quit assessment period.

Ramelteon will be purchased and packaged into blister packs by the Investigational Drug Service (IDS) at the University of Pennsylvania. In accordance with FDA recommendations, subjects will be instructed to take study medication within 30 min prior to going to bed and avoid taking study medication with or immediately after a high fat meal.

Drug: Ramelteon
Placebo Comparator: Placebo

5-day placebo-controlled medication period.

Placebo ingredients will be purchased, encapsulated, and packaged into blister packs by the IDS at UPenn. Both active medication and placebo will look identical.

The study medication assignments for each participant in this project is randomized and counterbalanced. This means that approximately 50% of participants will take ramelteon during the first medication period, followed by the placebo in the second medication period. Alternatively, approximately 50% of participants will take the placebo during the first medication period, followed by ramelteon during the second medication period.

Drug: Placebo
Other Name: Sugar Pill

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Total number of smoke-free days (biochemically verified) during each 5-day quit assessment. [ Time Frame: Week 2 and Week 5 ]
    The quit assessment will begin the Monday morning of each quit week and will end that Friday. The total number of days of abstinence will be assessed.

Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. Subjective sleep disturbance [ Time Frame: Week 2 and Week 6 ]
    Sleep onset latency will be assessed via daily sleep diaries during each quit assessment.

  2. Objective sleep disturbance [ Time Frame: Week 2 and Week 6 ]
    Sleep efficiency (the ratio of time spent asleep to the total time in bed) will be assessed via the SensewearPro armbands during each quit assessment.

  3. Side effects of ramelteon [ Time Frame: Baseline (weeks 1 and 5); Quit assessments (weeks 2 and 6) ]
    Side effects will be assessed at each in-person visit

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Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years to 65 Years   (Adult, Older Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  1. Smokers who are between 18 and 65 years of age who self-report smoking at least 10 cigarettes per day for at least the last 6 months.
  2. Interest in quitting smoking in the next 2 to 4 months.
  3. Healthy as determined by the Study Physician, based on a medical evaluation including medical history and physical examination, and psychiatric evaluation.
  4. Capable of giving written informed consent, which includes compliance with the requirements and restrictions listed in the combined consent and HIPAA form.
  5. Women of childbearing potential must consent to use a medically accepted method of birth control while participating in the study (e.g., condoms and spermicide, oral contraceptive, Depo-provera injection, contraceptive patch, tubal ligation).

Exclusion Criteria:

Smoking Behavior:

  1. Current enrollment in a smoking cessation program, or use of other smoking cessation medications in the last month or plans to do either in the next 2 months.
  2. Daily use of chewing tobacco, snuff and/or snus, or electronic cigarettes.
  3. Provide a carbon monoxide (CO) breath sample reading less than 10 parts per million (ppm) at Intake.


  1. Self-report current alcohol consumption that exceeds 25 standard drinks/week over the past 6 months. Subjects will be told to limit or avoid the use of alcohol while in the study to avoid any adverse reactions to the study medication.
  2. Self-reports substance use disorders (abuse or dependence involving alcohol, opiates, cocaine or other stimulants, or benzodiazepines; not nicotine) in the last 6 months.
  3. Providing a breath alcohol concentration (BrAC) reading of greater than or equal to 0.01 during any session.
  4. A positive urine drug screen for cocaine, amphetamines, methamphetamines, benzodiazepines, PCP, methadone, barbiturates, marijuana, ecstasy (MDMA), oxycodone, tricyclic antidepressants, and opiates (low level cut-off 300 ng/mL) during any session.

Psychiatric Exclusion (as determined by self-report on phone screen and/or through MINI during Intake):

  1. Current psychiatric disorders (depression, bipolar, schizophrenia, hypomanic/manic episode) as determined by self-report and/or MINI psychological interview.
  2. Past history of psychiatric disorders (including suicide attempt) other than depression as determined by self-report and/or MINI psychological interview.
  3. Suicide risk score on MINI greater than 1.


  1. Females who are currently pregnant, planning a pregnancy during the study, or currently breastfeeding/lactating. All female subjects shall undergo a urine pregnancy test at the Intake and must agree in writing to use an approved method of contraception. Following enrollment, pregnancy tests will be conducted at the beginning of each baseline week.
  2. For those with a history of jaundice/liver disease: liver function tests more than 20% outside of the normal range; Gamma-glutamyl Transpepsidase (GGT) values more than 20% outside of the normal range. If Albumin/Globulin ratios are 20% outside of normal range the abnormal value will be evaluated for clinical significance by the Study Physician and eligibility will determined on a case-by-case basis.
  3. Heart/Cardiovascular disease (e.g., angina, coronary heart disease, stroke, etc.) in the past 6 months.
  4. Endocrine or metabolic disorders (e.g., Type-I diabetes).
  5. Blood disorders (e.g., anemia or hemophilia).
  6. Uncontrolled hypertension (BP systolic greater than 159 and/or diastolic greater than 99)*.
  7. Clinically significant dyssomnia (except insomnia; e.g. sleep apnea syndrome, narcolepsy).

    • Participants presenting with SBP greater than 159 mmHg and/or DBP greater than 99 mmHg at the Intake visit will be instructed to sit quietly for 10 minutes. Then the participant will have a second blood pressure reading taken after a 10 minute period. If, after the second reading the SBP greater than 159 mmHg and the DBP greater than 99 mmHg, the individual will be instructed to sit comfortably for 10 minutes and then have a third blood pressure reading. If, after the third reading the SBP greater than 159 mmHg and the DBP greater than 99 mmHg, the individual will be ineligible to participate.


  1. Current use or recent discontinuation (within the past month) of any of the following medications:

    1. Anti-anxiety or panic disorder medications (e.g., clonazepam, alprazolam).
    2. Anti-psychotic medications (e.g., thorazine, Seroquel).
    3. Mood-stabilizers (e.g., Lithium, Lamictal/lamotrigine, valproic acid, Neurontin/gabapentin, Topamax/topiramate, Tegretol/carbamazepine).
    4. Prescription stimulants (e.g., Provigil, Ritalin, Adderall).
    5. Medications contraindicated with ramelteon (e.g., fluvoxamine, buprenorphine or other medications metabolized by certain cytochrome P450 enzymes)
  2. Current use or recent discontinuation (within the past 2 weeks) of any of the following medications (subjects must agree to refrain from using any other sleep aids while enrolled in the study):

    1. Sleep medications (e.g., zolpidem/Ambien, eszopiclone/Lunesta)
    2. Over-the-counter sleep aids (e.g., melatonin, diphenhydramine/Benadryl)
  3. Daily use of opiate-containing medications for chronic pain (Duragesic/fentanyl patches, Percocet, Oxycontin). Smokers who report taking opiate-containing medications on an "as-needed" basis will be instructed to refrain from use until their study participation is over and that they will be tested to ensure they have complied with this requirement.
  4. Known allergy to study medication (e.g., angioedema).

Subjects will be instructed to refrain from using any study prohibited drugs/medications (both recreational and prescription) throughout their participation in the study. After final eligibility is confirmed, subjects who report taking contraindicated medication(s) over the course of the study period may only remain eligible if the Study Physician and/or Principal Investigator determines that the contraindicated medication(s) do/did not impact the study design, data quality, and/or subject safety/welfare. Subjects are permitted to take necessary prescription medications not included within the exclusion list during the study.

General Exclusion:

  1. Current, anticipated, or pending enrollment in another research program over the next 2-3 months that could potentially affect subject safety and/or the study data/design as determined by the Principal Investigator and/or Study Physician.
  2. Not planning to live in the area for the next two months.
  3. Currently working night shift or rotating shift or other habitual alteration of the sleep/wake cycle.
  4. Allergy to latex or adhesive tape.
  5. Inability to provide informed consent or complete any of the study tasks as determined by the Principal Investigator.
  6. Not able to effectively communicate in English (reading, writing, speaking).
  7. Missing 2 or more doses during the medication period determined by self-report.

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its identifier (NCT number): NCT02560324

United States, Pennsylvania
Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Nicotine Addiction, School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States, 19104
Sponsors and Collaborators
University of Pennsylvania
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Principal Investigator: Rebecca Ashare, Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania

Responsible Party: University of Pennsylvania Identifier: NCT02560324     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: 823286
R21DA040902 ( U.S. NIH Grant/Contract )
First Posted: September 25, 2015    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: August 31, 2018
Last Verified: August 2018

Keywords provided by University of Pennsylvania:
Nicotine dependence
Tobacco Dependence

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Tobacco Use Disorder
Substance-Related Disorders
Chemically-Induced Disorders
Mental Disorders
Ganglionic Stimulants
Autonomic Agents
Peripheral Nervous System Agents
Physiological Effects of Drugs
Nicotinic Agonists
Cholinergic Agonists
Cholinergic Agents
Neurotransmitter Agents
Molecular Mechanisms of Pharmacological Action