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"Anti-smoking pill receives U.S. federal approval"

Globe and Mail

Source: Globe and Mail

Published: 12 May 2022

Category: Pharmaceutical

Rating: (2 stars)

what they said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

Associated Press
Washington - A Pfizer drug shown to help more than one in five smokers quit the habit received federal approval on Thursday, adding another option to the limited pool of effective stop-smoking prescription medicines.

Varenicline is only the second nicotine-free smoking cessation drug to gain Food and Drug Administration approval. Pfizer Inc. plans to market the twice-daily tablet as Chantix.

"It's a welcome new addition. It's like with cancer or heart disease or high blood pressure or diabetes: The more effective treatments you have, the better off patients are," said Dr. Steven Schroeder, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, who is active in smoking cessation efforts.

The original article can found in the Media Doctor archives.

how did it rate? (more information)

Criteria Rating
Total Score 4 of 10
Availability of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Novelty of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Disease Mongering Satisfactory (?)
Treatment Options Satisfactory (?)
Costs of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Evidence Not Satisfactory (?)
Quantification of Benefits of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Harms of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Sources of Information Not Satisfactory (?)
Relies on Press Release Not Applicable
Quantification of Harms of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)

what we said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

While smoking is a very common problem in most communities, some nonpharmacologic treatments (like behaviour therapy) are among the available approaches to stop smoking. This article does not mention these non-drug options, nor does it report the results of the placebo- controlled trials, which due to the psychological parameters involved in dependence, a substantial placebo effect is expected. Comparative cost of the other drugs and approaches is an important factor for choosing the appropriate treatment option. Also, information on the length of treatment would be useful as the difference between long-term and short-term 'success' with smoking cessation drugs may vary considerably.
It is not clear from the article if the drug is available in Canada, or when it would be. It is useful for Canadian readers to have this additional information.

public forum

(14 Sep 2022) Denise Highgate writes,

"I would like to know when this new drug Chantix will be available to people in Calgary, Alberta and if there are any test research trails being held. I've been a smoker for over twenty years and would like to try this new method because I have not been successful with other methods.
Thank you

Media Doctor response,

"If we review a story on this treatment we may learn when it will be available. You may wish to contact the manufacturer yourself."

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