Champix is the best treatment for female smokers
Champix (varenicline) is known to be the most effective medication for quitting smoking. However, a recent analysis has found that it is much more effective for female smokers compared to other treatments.
The study analysed the results of 28 trials of smokers quitting with Champix, Zyban and nicotine patches and found that women had substantially better results from Champix than from other treatments.
Previous research has found that the nicotine patch and Zyban do not work as well for women as for men. However, Champix is equally effective for both men and women and therefore there is a much bigger gap in its effect in women compared to other medications.
The analysis did not examine treatment with combination nicotine products ie using the nicotine patch with nicotine gum, lozenge, spray or inhalator, which is more effective than the nicotine patch alone. Combination nicotine treatment is also a very good choice for women.
Women find it harder to quit smoking than men. Women break down nicotine more quickly than men and need larger doses to have the same effect. Nicotine patches are about half as effective in women as they are in men.
Also, women smoke more for relief of stress, to control weight, in social situations and due to other triggers, making quitting harder. For these and other reasons women need to try harder to quit and need to be sure of using the most effective treatments.
In men, quit rates with Champix, Zyban and nicotine patch were similar.
Smith PH. Sex Differences in Smoking Cessation Pharmacotherapy Comparative Efficacy. A Network Meta-analysis. Nicotine Tobacco Research 2016
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