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Sun 21 Oct 2007 05:45 PM

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Champix approved for UAE release

A prescription drug that claims to help people quit smoking is now available across the country.

A prescription drug that claims to help people quit smoking has been approved by the UAE Ministry of Health and is now available across the country. Champix - a non-nicotine treatment - is designed to help smokers stay off cigarettes and to avoid relapsing into the damaging and potentially fatal activity, said a statement from drug developer Pfizer.

"Smoking is not only a habit, as many people believe. It is a real addiction that often requires medical support to fully defeat," said Dr Bassam Mahboub, xonsultant pulmonologist-allergy & immunology and head of the national smoking cessation committee.

Patients who received Champix had almost four times more chance of quitting smoking compared to patients who simply received a placebo, over a 12-week course of therapy, the statement said.

The UAE is the first country in the Middle East and Africa to make the medication available. It was launched in the US last year and had over two million patients receiving a prescription within the first 11 months.

Champix is designed to reduce the smoker's urge to smoke and reduce withdrawal symptoms. According to World Health Organisation (WHO) statistics, around half of adult males in the Middle East are smokers.

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