Champix changes

The TGA has approved the use of Champix for up to 24 weeks – providing patients with a more gradual approach to quitting

Its decision will allow smoker patients to take a more gradual approach to quitting over 12 weeks instead of more abruptly over four weeks.

Pfizer-funded research has found that among cigarette smokers not willing or able to quit within the next month, but willing to reduce cigarette consumption and make a quit attempt at three months, use of Champix (varenicline) for 24 weeks compared with placebo significantly increased smoking cessation rates at the end of treatment, and also at one year.

In a ‘gradual approach to quitting’, patients taking Champix reduce smoking consumption by 50% within the first four weeks, and a further 50% in the next four weeks, continuing with the goal of reaching complete abstinence by 12 weeks.

Patients then continue taking Champix for an additional 12 weeks for a total of 24 weeks of treatment.

“This new gradual approach to quitting with Champix provides doctors another therapeutic option when considering smoking cessation treatment in patients not willing or able to quit abruptly,” says Dr Krishan Thiru, Country Medical Director of Pfizer Australia.

In addition to the approval of this new approach, Champix is changing from an ‘Authority Required’ listing to an ‘Authority Required’ (STREAMLINED) listing effective 1 May 2017.

It is indicated as an aid to smoking cessation in adults over the age of 18 years.

“We are delighted with the government’s decision,” says Dr Thiru.

“The streamlined authority process is designed to reduce the administrative burden on prescribers. This new change to the listing will allow prescribers more time for patient care to discuss their individual requirements with the intention to improve the patient outcomes.”

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