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New Quit-smoking treatment launched in Singapore

Dr Ong describing 'the smoking scene in Singapore'
to the media

Smokers who find it difficult to kick the habit now have a new oral medication to help them. As the first new anti-smoking treatment here in nearly ten years, Champix, a non-nicotine agent, helps to relieve nicotine cravings as well as the withdrawal symptoms. And, its effect is said to last over time.

Dr Ong with Professor Fagerstrom, world-renown expert on nicotine addiction, at the media launch of Champix

"The other effect that Champix has, if the person on Champix decides to take a puff or two, the person will not experience any pleasure effect of smoking," said respiratory specialist Ong Kian Chung.

In clinical trials of 12 weeks of therapy, 44 per cent of smokers who took Champix - developed by pharmaceutical firm Pfizer - stopped smoking. This is four times higher than those who are not on any medication.

Dr Ong, a consultant at Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre, also recommended counseling to increase the likelihood of quitting the habit.

when asked if smokers might then become addicted to Champix, the name give for varenicline, Dr Ong said that after more than four years of testing, patients have shown no such signs of addiction. He added that when patients were taken off the drug after 12 weeks, they showed no withdrawal symptoms.

Nicotine replacement therapy was first approved by the Health Sciences Authority in 1991 while bupriopion, marketed as Zyban, was approved in 1999.




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