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Varenicline shades NRT on smoking quit rate

Varenicline has a better quit rate than NRT patches, but differences between the two treatments are fairly modest, a year-long trial has reported.

It is the second head-to-head, clinical practice study this year showing varenicline is superior than NRT.

The randomised controlled trial of 700 smokers has found that after four weeks 56% of smokers on varenicline had completely abstained compared with 43% using an NRT patch.

At one year, the proportion of ex-smokers who remained abstinent was 26% for varenicline compared with 20% for NRT although this was not significant..

Like previous studies, the most frequent adverse reaction was nausea and this was more common in patients on varenicline.

Dr Brian Crichton, a GP in Solihull and an honorary lecturer in therapeutics and pharmacology at the University of Warwick said the original studies had compared varenicline with buproprion so the new evidence was welcome.

But he added: "We still have to tailor the treatment to the individual but it shows we shouldn't just look at the short-term quit rate we need to look at the long-term cost-effectiveness.'

‘From an economic point of view, NRT would still be the first-line treatment.'

The new study has been published online in Thorax.

Smoker

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