Champix (varenicline) is approved for smoking cessation in adults.
12 weeks of treatment with varenicline results in smoking cessation in weeks 9-12 in 44 %. In comparison, treatment with bupropion results in smoking cessation in 30 % of the treated, and placebo in 18 %.
The long-term effect is of high interest when evaluating smoking cessation products. With varenicline 23 % are still abstinent in week 52. The corresponding results for bupropion and placebo are 16 % and 9 % respectively.
Champix has not been tested in patients with increased health risks (e.g. cardiovascular disease) who would probably benefit more from smoking cessation.
The most frequently seen side effects include nausea, headache, insomnia and abnormal dreams. The safety profile in the elderly and those with health problems is unknown.
Treatment with Champix is 2,5 times more costly than treatment with other products for smoking cessation. Champix is not reimbursed.
According to IRF, nicotine replacement is still first choice when treatment for smoking cessation is indicated.
Champix was marketed 4 December 2006.
Institue for Rational Pharmacotherapy, 24 January 2007