Friday, January 27, 2012

Chantix/Champix- A Review

© 2012 Ema Uko-Abasi

Chantix/Champix (Varenicline)- A Review

Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death in the world today. The CDC global report on tobacco states that about 5.4 million deaths occur every year from tobacco-related illness. In the U.S , it responsible for 443,000 deaths annually(650,000 for the EU) and concerted effort is being made by both public and private enterprises and institutions to put a firmer control on this public scourge. More deaths are caused each year by tobacco use than by all deaths from human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, suicides, and murders combined (CDC). Smoking causes an estimated 90% of all lung cancer deaths in men and 80% of all lung cancer deaths in women. An estimated 90% of all deaths from chronic obstructive lung disease are caused by smoking. The World Health Organization warns that unless urgent steps are taken to control tobacco use the number of people dying from tobacco use could reach 8 million by 2030!

When compared with non-smokers, smoking increases the risk of coronary heart diseases and stroke 2-4 times, men developing lung cancer 23 times women developing lung cancer 13 times and dying from chronic obstructive airway disease such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema, 12-13 times!

The CDC has reported that smoking causes the following types of cancers:
  • Acute myeloid leukemia
  • Bladder cancer
  • Cancer of the cervix
  • Cancer of the esophagus
  • Kidney cancer
  • Cancer of the larynx (voice box)
  • Lung cancer
  • Cancer of the oral cavity (mouth)
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Cancer of the pharynx (throat)
  • Stomach cancer 

Other health risks include infertility, preterm delivery, stillbirth, low birth weight, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Varenicline, marketed as Chantix in the U.S and Champix in Europe and Canada, has proven to be a very effective adjunct to smoking cessation management. It was discovered through research by Pfizer and approved for use in the U.S by the FDA in may 2006, and by the EU in September 2006.

How it works
Chantix works by decreasing the effects of nicotine (from cigarette/tobacco) on the brain. This causes a decrease in the craving for the substance, thus decreasing its addiction; and consequently increases the likelihood of abstinence from smoking for as long as one year compared to treatment with placebo(FDA).

Usage in the U.S
Approximately 21.8 million Chantix prescriptions were dispensed and approximately 8.9 million patients received Chantix prescriptions from U.S outpatient retail pharmacies from approval in May 2006 through July 2011(FDA).

Side effects
Postmarketing reports on Chantix have included changes in mood and behavior during and after its use.
Based on FDA’s assessment of currently available data, the Agency continues to believe that the drug’s benefits outweigh the risks and the current warnings in the Chantix drug label are appropriate.

Ema Uko-Abasi

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

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