By: Angela Garrity
Quartz released an alarming article today that states that doctors are prescribing nicotine replacement therapies (NRT’s) for minors that are “addicted to vaping”. What are these parents and pediatrician’s thinking? Would either consider NRTs as an option for a minor who is smoking cigarettes when NRT’s are marked “not for use in anyone under 18?”
Who is actually thinking of the children? The ANTZ group message has touted vaping nicotine as “brain poison”, so why the fumble in their own hypocrisy? The article sums it up.
“There are currently no US guidelines—from federal organizations or medical groups—on how doctors should help young patients who want to quit vaping. The American Academy of Pediatrics is currently working with doctors to develop guidelines for national distribution. But for now, the association simply encourages doctors to follow existing guidelines to protect children from tobacco smoke, and to use their best judgement with each individual patient.”
This gap is leaving pediatricians to create their own solution on the war against vaping. Studies on NRT use in children doesn’t exist…yet.
NRTs are available over the counter for adults, but for minors, a prescription is required. NRTs haven’t been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in children. Instead, they’re considered an off-label medication for anyone under 18.
“Nicotine replacements that are available without a prescription for adults are the ones most commonly prescribed to teens. There’s even less data on the efficacy of nicotine inhalers and prescription drugs like varenicline (known as Chantix) and bupropion (known as Zyban), so they’re rarely given to children. A randomized clinical trial that wrapped up this year found that varenicline was not effective at helping people aged 14 to 21 quit smoking.”
This disturbing option sounds like “just what the doctor ordered”.