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Prescribing Advice for GPs

An NHS Prescribing Advisers' Blog

MTRAC reviews varenicline

The Midlands Therapeutic Review and Advisory Committee (MTRAC) has published a review of varenicline (Champix®) for smoking cessation.

Varenicline has been assessed as a Q3 drug, having a lower place in therapy and strong evidence. The reason given for the lower placing in therapy is the lack of comparative efficacy data versus nicotine replacement therapy. The overall advice is that varenicline is "suitable for prescribing in primary care for healthy adult smokers with no serious medical conditions (e.g. major depression, cardiovascular disease, uncontrolled hypertension)".

Action: As already discussed, nicotine replacement therapy remains the first line choice. Varenicline (and bupropion) are suitable alternatives where NRT treatment fails.

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