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Varenicline, novel drug entity, available for smoking cessation

KEY POINT

Varenicline tartrate (Chantix—Pfizer), a highly selective alpha-4, beta-2 subtype nicotinic acetylcholine receptor partial agonist, has been approved by FDA for smoking cessation and will be available this summer. When varenicline is bound to the specific nicotinic receptor, it produces nicotine-like effects (which minimizes withdrawal symptoms) and simultaneously inhibits nicotine binding at that receptor (thereby blocking cigarette nicotine effects).

SOURCES

Chantix (varenicline) [package insert]. Pfizer, Inc.; New York, NY. May 2006.

U.S. Public Health Service. Treating tobacco use and dependence. June 2000.

West R et al. Smoking cessation guidelines for health professionals: an update. Thorax. 2000;55:987–99.