Champix Name Change

5 Mar 2019

CHAMPIX® (VARENICLINE TARTRATE) has changed brand name and simplified the packaging format; now branded as VARENECLINE PFIZER

The funded course includes the same doses as before but now provided as a 4 week initial then 2 x 4 week continuation packs:

  • Initiation pack is 4 weeks 
  • Continuation packs are 4 weeks
  • Total funded course is 12 weeks
  • Evidence based benefit for 24 weeks (12 weeks unfunded)

A maximum of 12 weeks varenicline will be subsidised on each Special Authority approval, including the starter pack.

Varenicline will not be funded in amounts less than 4 weeks of treatment.

There is evidence that a further 12 weeks provides benefit for sustained smoking cessation – a prescription is required, and the patient cost at the pharmacy for an extra 12 week course is currently approximately  $100 - $200.

Patient information on varenecline Pfizer is available at:

https://medsafe.govt.nz/consumers/cmi/v/vareniclinePfizer.pdf

The dosing regimen remains unchanged. The dosing starts with 0.5mg daily and increases to 1 mg twice daily by 2 weeks, then continues at 1mg twice daily.

How to use varenecline to help patients stop smoking

There are three ways you can help your patients attempt to quit smoking with varenecline:

  • 12 week fixed quit – for patients who want to quit now and choose a quit date, start varenecline 2 weeks before the quit date
  • 12 week flexible quit – for patients who want to quit soon – start varenecline then choose a quit date within the first 4 weeks
  • 24 week gradual quit – for patients who are not willing or able to quit abruptly – start varenecline and anticipate a quit within the course

(12 weeks of this course is unfunded = 3 x continuation packs)

Prescribing instructions for Varenecline Pfizer

0A prescription can be provided for either 4 weeks with 2 repeats, or for 12 weeks. A 12 week course will be dispensed as a 4 week initiation pack followed by two continuation packs

Don’t forget behavioral support:

Behavioural support doubles quit rates, refer your patient to the practice quit support programme; or the your local Stop Smoking Service, or to Quitline.

Questions or comments to:

Dr John McMenamin

GP and Primary Care Adviser Tobacco

john.mcmenamin@wickmed.co.nz