Pfizer New Zealand Thursday 28 October 2010, 10:13AM
Media release from Pfizer New Zealand
From 1 November, Champix® (varenicline tartrate), a
prescription-only treatment for smoking cessation in adults, will
be fully funded via PHARMAC (New Zealand Pharmaceutical Management
Agency) through a special authority application from a general
In New Zealand there are approximately 597,000 smokers over the age
of 151 and, at any one time, around 45% of smokers are trying to
"The Government's focus on tobacco control and reduction in the
incidence of smoking is an important health priority. The
ability to access fully funded Champix® is excellent news for
smokers and their families," says Frances Benge, Managing Director
of Pfizer New Zealand.
Champix® is a prescription medicine that can help break nicotine
addiction. It has a dual mode of action, and works in the
brain to help reduce the urge to smoke and make smoking less
pleasurable3. Champix® is also designed to block the action of
nicotine in the brain, therefore if a person smokes while on
Champix®, smoking might not be as rewarding, and therefore easier
to resist3. "For most people smoking is both a physical
and behavioural addiction and because of the way Champix® works it
offers a different approach to treating the addiction, which has
been used by millions of smokers around the world," says Frances
The funding criteria contained in the special authority positions
Champix® for smokers who have tried and failed to quit using
nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) on two different quit
attempts. Champix® will also be fully funded and
available to smokers who have tried and failed to quit using
Zyban®… or Norpress®¥.
Clinical trials have shown that after 12 weeks of Champix®, smokers
were about 4 times more likely to stop smoking that those who took
placebo (sugar pills). After 9 months without medicine, those who
had taken Champix® were about 3 times more likely to still be not
smoking than those who had taken the sugar pills3.
Champix® is not for everybody, and patients who want to stop
smoking using Champix® should ask their doctor if this medicine is
right for them.
Smoking cessation with or without the support of a medicine such as
Champix® can be associated with withdrawal symptoms. Smokers
who used Champix® have reported changes in mood, behaviour or
thinking, and sometimes these changes have been serious. It is not
known if those changes are related to the medicine or to stopping
smoking. Before using Champix® it is important to read the consumer
medicine information available on the Medsafe website
www.medsafe.govt.nz and to discuss the potential benefits and risks
with a doctor.
Ministry of Health Smoking Cessation guidelines emphasise the
importance of helping smokers to quit with both medicine and
support through face-to-face meetings or telephone support4.
The availability of fully funded Champix® combined with support and
counselling from health professionals provides another option for
smokers who are ready and willing to quit smoking.
Champix® is taken as an oral tablet for a period of 12 weeks.
People wanting to quit smoking should visit their doctor to see if
Champix® is right for them.