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Smoking drug gains initial approval

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NICE has gone ahead with initial moves to approve a new anti-smoking drug called varenicline (Champix).

NICE has gone ahead with initial moves to approve a new anti-smoking drug called varenicline (Champix).

Final approval of the drug on the NHS is expected in July. But specialist nurses warn that demand for varenicline will add to the pressure on services from the public smoking ban in England, as revealed by NT in May (NT News, 8 May, p2).

Draft guidance, published last week, recommended varenicline as an option for smokers who have expressed a desire to quit smoking, but should normally be prescribed only as part of a programme of behavioural support.

However, a NICE spokesperson added: Â'If such support is not available, this should not stop smokers receiving treatment with varenicline.Â'

Nurses can contribute to a consultation on the draft guidance at www.nice.org.uk.

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