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Prescribing Advice for GPs

An NHS Prescribing Advisers' Blog

Varenicline launch

Varenicline (Champix®) has been launched on the UK market according to the BBC and PharmaTimes.

Further clinical details are available in the summary of product characteristics. Varenicline is available as follows:

  • Initiation pack (11 x 0.5mg tablets and 14 x 1mg tablets) at £27.30
  • Maintenance pack (28 x 1mg tablets) at £27.30
  • Maintenance pack (56 x 1mg tablets) at £54.60

A complete treatment course should last for 12 weeks at a total cost of £163.80. At the end of this first course clinicians can choose to extend the treatment by a further 12 weeks to maintain continued abstinence.

Demand for information about this product is likely to be very high due to press coverage, imminent smoking bans in public places and the time of year (many smokers quit as part of their new years resolutions).

Action: As previously discussed, NRT is first line choice to aid smoking cessation in motivated individuals. Bupropion and then varenicline can be considered where NRT fails to achieve successful smoking cessation.

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