UK National Smoking Cessation Conference - UKNSCC
2010 UK National Smoking Cessation Conference - Glasgow more...

Prescribing of smoking cessation medication since the introduction of varenicline


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Tessa Langley, Yue Huang and Sarah Lewis

Tessa Langley
Research Associate, Division of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Nottingham, UK

Varenicline, a new smoking cessation aid, became available on NHS prescription in December 2006. We used data from The Health Improvement Network (THIN), a database of UK electronic primary care
records, to investigate the impact of the introduction of varenicline on recent trends in prescribing of smoking cessation medications in England.

We calculated monthly rates of prescribing of varenicline, Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) and bupropion per 100,000 population from June 2000 to June 2009. The total rate of prescribing of smoking cessation medications has not increased since the introduction of varenicline. Prescribing of NRT has declined since the new medication was introduced, while prescribing of bupropion, which has declined since reaching a peak in 2001, has continued to decline. Varenicline has rapidly become the second most commonly prescribed stop smoking drug after NRT, and appears to have displaced some prescribing for existing smoking cessation medications, with the overall rate of prescribing of these medications largely unaffected.

These results suggest that varenicline may be viewed as a good alternative by GPs who are giving fewer prescriptions for NRT and bupropion, and that its introduction may not have led to a greater proportion of smokers using smoking cessation medication.

Source of funding: Tessa Langley is funded by the National Prevention Research Initiative (NPRI). Relevant NPRI funding partners: British Heart Foundation; Cancer Research UK; Department of Health; Diabetes UK; Economic and Social Research Council; Medical Research Council;
Research and Development Office for the Northern Ireland Health and Social Services; Chief Scientist Office, Scottish Executive Health Department; The Stroke Association; Welsh Assembly Government and World Cancer Research Fund. Tessa Langley, Yue Huang and Sarah Lewis are members of the UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies, a UKCRC Public Health Research: Centre of Excellence. Funding from British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, Economic and Social Research Council,
Medical Research Council, and the National Institute for Health Research, under the auspices of the UK Clinical Research Collaboration, is gratefully acknowledged.

Declaration of interest: none

About the presenter

Tessa Langley is a Research Associate at the UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies based at the University of Nottingham. She is working on a project funded by the National Prevention Research Initiative which aims to combine existing sources of data to evaluate the impact of recent tobacco control policies on smoking cessation behaviour in England.


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