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Prescribing Advice for GPs

An NHS Prescribing Advisers' Blog

Varenicline safety update

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has announced an update to the product information for varenicline (Champix®) highlighting concerns over suicidal thoughts and behaviour.

Following a European review in conjunction with the European Medicines Agency (EMEA) it has been recommended that:

  • Clinicians should already be aware of the risk of using varenicline in patients who have an underlying mental illness
  • Clinicians should advise patients who are trying to stop smoking that they can develop symptoms of depression
  • Patients who develop suicidal thoughts while taking varenicline should stop their treatment and contact their doctor immediately

Action: Clinicians should avoid using varenicline in patients with underlying mental illness. Patients who are prescribed varenicline should be advised as recommended above.

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