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by Robert MacKay, Wednesday, 03 October 2012 | Categories: Champix | Smoking

Among the many factors that can contribute to successful smoking cessation, medications such as Champix and Zyban appear to increase the likelihood of maintaining a continuous six month period of abstinence. This is according to a recent article in the journal Addiction, which claimed that smoking cessation is more likely to be successful if using medication.

The study, which included interviews with 2550 smokers from UK, Australia, USA and Canada, found that individuals using medications such as Champix were six times more likely to sustain their abstinence than smokers who had gone “cold turkey”.

The biggest problem that we encounter in helping patients giving up smoking is that they stop the medication too soon. Champix is supposed to be taken for 12 weeks and we recommend that patients complete the course. We see so many people who stop the medication as soon as they quit and they are back on the cigarettes before too long. Champix is a serious medication and it does work if used properly.




by Robert MacKay, Wednesday, 07 March 2012 | Categories: Champix

Champix, the successful smoking cessation aid, may also help to quell the desire for alcohol. A range of study participants considered moderate to heavy drinkers were given the drug 3 hours before consuming alcohol and the participants disliked the alcohol and experienced the unpleasant effects associated with it in a much more magnified way than the placebo control group.

No long term study has been carried out so it would be difficult to prove that this drug would work long term for the treating of alcohol abuse but considering smoking and alcohol addictions are often experienced simultaneously, it is enough reason to continue research in this area in our view.




by Robert MacKay, Thursday, 28 July 2011 | Categories: Champix

The Food and Drug Administration in the US has added to the label of varenicline, (Champix), new safety information and the European Medicines Agency, the European drugs regulator, has said that the benefits of Champix outweigh the risks, thus quashing recent concerns regarding the safety and efficacy of this smoking cessation product.

Earlier in the year, the Food and Drug Administration published a warning about the drug after a meta-analysis was carried out by researchers at the John Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore and subsequently published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

The European Medicines Agency’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use, stated that the meta-analysis carried out and the evidence gathered was not sufficient to put the safety and efficacy of the drug into question as it only reported a small number of adverse events among those who took the Champix and that among those who were taking the placebo, there were much higher dropout rates than among those on the smoking cessation product.

However, the Food and Drug Administration have also said that varenicline is successful when used by patients who suffer from cardiovascular illness who want to quit smoking but that it is also associated with a small increased risk of cardiovascular events in those patients.

The European Medicines Agency tell doctors that the risk/benefit profile of varenicline is positive still and that the meta-analysis carried out in Baltimore included too many limitations, especially the fact that there were an extremely low number of events recorded. However, the agency requested that the manufacturer submit more information on cardiovascular outcomes that might be added to the information accompanying the product.




by Robert MacKay, Tuesday, 21 June 2011 | Categories: Champix

Pfizer’s smoking cessation product, Chantix (Champix) will be relabelled after the FDA’s (Food and Drug Administration) latest recommendation. The drug has been associated with heart problems in those who suffer from cardiovascular disease.

The FDA is changing the label in order to highlight the danger of the drugs active ingredient, Varenicline Tartrate, and its association with increased risk of heart problems after results of a new clinical trial were announced. It is important to stress however that the drug was found to increase risk only in those who had a pre-existing cardiovascular condition.

The FDA make sure that Chantix carries a black box warning which is the most serious label used by the regulators. After the news regarding such side effects and also an association with depression and suicidal ideation and erratic behaviour, the FDA decided that all of these side effects needed to be included on the warning label. Side effects relating to depression, reports of feelings of aggression and suicidal behaviour have not been found in clinical trials to be of a significant enough number to suggest the drug is dangerous but nevertheless, they must be listed as possible side effects.

An independent trial took place where 700 smokers, who already had cardiovascular disease, were observed. They were treated with either the drug in question or a placebo. The results show that the drug was successful in helping patients to stop smoking. Those who took the drug were also more inclined to suffer a cardiovascular problem than those who were taking the placebo.

The FDA will require Pfizer to carry out a large-scale trial in order to assess the risk associated and would later discuss the outcomes with the manufacturer. The risk-benefit profile of this drug is under scrutiny now but perhaps this will mean that it is merely contraindicated for those who suffer from cardiovascular illness.




by Robert MacKay, Sunday, 19 September 2010 | Categories: Champix | Smoking

There is a lot of discussion about the electronic cigarette industry at the moment; cartridges of nicotine and some other chemicals with no tobacco that have been marketed as replacements for cigars and cigarettes. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned the companies behind such devices that the products must be regulated and submitted for FDA approval. This has sparked fear of withdrawal of the products among the e- cigarette companies however the FDA is only interested in examining the safety and efficacy of this alternative smoking cessation product.

Upon inhalation, the liquid in the e-cigarette is vaporized by a battery and water vapour creates the illusion of smoke. The FDA seeks regulation of this product as it is a device used to carry a drug into the body and if a product can be labelled as a drug or a drug delivery device, it must be approved. In addition, they want to ensure the manufacturing of these cigarettes is carried out safely.

Five companies have been warned that they have 15 days to respond to the FDA. So far the companies have argued that it is unnecessary to be preapproved since they are replacing tobacco products and so should be treated in the same way that the tobacco products are. They are marketed as both alternatives to cigarettes and an aid to help one stop smoking. The nicotine hit from these cigarettes is 10 times faster than that of Nicorette gum or patches.

Champix on the other hand is a regulated prescription drug with no nicotine and it serves to bind to nicotine receptors, thus decreasing withdrawal symptoms of quitters. E-cigarettes are being marketed with a choice of flavours, which may attract children to use the product. Those who are not addicted to cigarettes could begin a new addiction. In the case of Champix however, it may only be prescribed to those who have a smoking addiction and removes the cravings whereas the e- cigarettes can perpetuate the feelings of addiction. Regulated smoking cessation aids are safer to use and Champix has a proven success rate.




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