Use of varenicline for smoking cessation treatment in UK primary care: an association rule mining analysis

Huang, Yue and Lewis, Sarah and Britton, John (2014) Use of varenicline for smoking cessation treatment in UK primary care: an association rule mining analysis. BMC Public Health, 14 . 1024/1-1024/5. ISSN 1471-2458

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BACKGROUND: Varenicline is probably the most effective smoking cessation pharmacotherapy, but is less widely used than nicotine replacement therapy. We therefore set out to identify the characteristics of numerically important groups of patients who typically do, or do not, receive varenicline in the UK.

METHODS: We used association rule mining to analyse data on prescribing of smoking cessation pharmacotherapy in relation to age, sex, comorbidity and other variables from 477,620 people aged 16 years and over, registered as patients throughout 2011 with one of 559 UK general practices in The Health Improvement Network (THIN) database, and recorded to be current smokers.

RESULTS: 46,685 participants (9.8% of all current smokers) were prescribed any smoking cessation treatment during 2011, and 19,316 of these (4% of current smokers, 41% of those who received any therapy) were prescribed varenicline. Prescription of varenicline was most common among heavy smokers aged 31–60, and in those with a diagnosis of COPD. Varenicline was rarely used among smokers who were otherwise in good health, or were aged over 60, were lighter smokers, or had psychotic disorders or dementia.

CONCLUSIONS: Varenicline is being underused in healthy smokers, or in older smokers, and in those with psychotic disorders or dementia. Since varenicline is probably the most effective available single cessation therapy, this study identifies under-treatment of substantial public health significance.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Varenicline, Primary care data, Smoking cessation, Associate rule mining
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham UK Campus > Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Medicine > Division of Epidemiology and Public Health
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Depositing User: Claringburn, Tara
Date Deposited: 06 May 2016 13:59
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2016 14:29

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