What is the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines?

Introduction

The WHO Model List of Essential Medicines (aka Essential Medicines List or EML), published by the World Health Organisation (WHO), contains the medications considered to be most effective and safe to meet the most important needs in a health system.

The list is frequently used by countries to help develop their own local lists of essential medicines. As of 2016, more than 155 countries have created national lists of essential medicines based on the WHO’s model list. This includes countries in both the developed and developing world.

40 years of the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines was celebrated in 2017.

The list is divided into core items and complementary items. The core items are deemed to be the most cost-effective options for key health problems and are usable with little additional health care resources. The complementary items either require additional infrastructure such as specially trained health care providers or diagnostic equipment or have a lower cost–benefit ratio. About 25% of items are in the complementary list. Some medications are listed as both core and complementary. While most medications on the list are available as generic products, being under patent does not preclude inclusion.

The first list was published in 1977 and included 208 medications. The WHO updates the list every two years. The 14th list was published in 2005 and contained 306 medications. In 2015, the 19th edition of the list was published and contains around 410 medications. The 20th edition was published in 2017, and contains 433 medications. The 21st list was published in 2019 and contains 460 medications. The 22nd list was published in 2021 and contains 479 medications. Various national lists contain between 334 and 580 medications.

A separate list for children up to 12 years of age, known as the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines for Children (EMLc), was created in 2007 and is in its 8th edition. It was created to make sure that the needs of children were systematically considered such as availability of proper formulations. Everything in the children’s list is also included in the main list. The list and notes are based on the 19th to 22nd edition of the main list. An α indicates a medicine is only on the complementary list. Therapeutic alternatives with similar clinical performance are listed for some medicines and they may be considered for national essential medicines lists.

Anaesthetics, Preoperative Medicines and Medical Gases

  • General anaesthetics and oxygen:
    • Inhalational medicines.
      • Halothane.
      • Isoflurane.
      • Nitrous oxide.
      • Oxygen.
    • Injectable medicines.
      • Ketamine.
      • Propofol.
  • Local anaesthetics:
    • Bupivacaine.
    • Lidocaine.
    • Lidocaine/epinephrine (lidocaine + epinephrine).
    • Ephedrineα.
  • Preoperative medication and sedation for short-term procedures:
    • Atropine
    • Midazolam
    • Morphine
  • Medical gases:
    • Oxygen.

Medicines for Pain and Palliative Care

  • Non-opioids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIMs):
    • Acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin).
    • Ibuprofen.
    • Paracetamol.
  • Opioid analgesics:
    • Codeine.
    • Fentanyl.
    • Morphine.
    • Methadoneα.
  • Medicines for other common symptoms in palliative care:
    • Amitriptyline.
    • Cyclizine.
    • Dexamethasone.
    • Diazepam.
    • Docusate sodium.
    • Fluoxetine.
    • Haloperidol.
    • Hyoscine butylbromide.
    • Hyoscine hydrobromide.
    • Lactulose.
    • Loperamide.
    • Metoclopramide.
    • Midazolam.
    • Ondansetron.
    • Senna.

Antiallergics and Medicines used in Anaphylaxis

  • Dexamethasone.
  • Epinephrine (adrenaline).
  • Hydrocortisone.
  • Loratadine.
  • Prednisolone.

Antidotes and Other Substances used in Poisonings

  • Non-specific:
    • Charcoal, activated.
  • Specific.
    • Acetylcysteine.
    • Atropine.
    • Calcium gluconate.
    • Methylthioninium chloride (methylene blue).
    • Naloxone.
    • Penicillamine.
    • Prussian blue.
    • Sodium nitrite.
    • Sodium thiosulfate.
    • Deferoxamineα.
    • Dimercaprolα.
    • Fomepizoleα.
    • Sodium calcium edetateα.
    • Succimerα.

Anticonvulsants/Antiepileptics

Anti-Infective Medicines

  • Anthelminthics:
    • Intestinal anthelminthics.
      • Albendazole.
      • Ivermectin.
      • Levamisole.
      • Mebendazole.
      • Niclosamide.
      • Praziquantel.
      • Pyrantel.
    • Antifilarials.
      • Albendazole.
      • Diethylcarbamazine.
      • Ivermectin.
    • Antischistosomals and other antinematode medicines.
      • Praziquantel.
      • Triclabendazole.
      • Oxamniquineα.
    • Cysticidal medicines.
      • Albendazoleα.
      • Mebendazoleα.
      • Praziquantelα.
  • Antibacterials:
    • Access group antibiotics.
      • Amikacin
      • Amoxicillin.
      • Amoxicillin/clavulanic acid (amoxicillin + clavulanic acid).
      • Ampicillin.
      • Benzathine benzylpenicillin.
      • Benzylpenicillin.
      • Cefalexin.
      • Cefazolin.
      • Chloramphenicol.
      • Clindamycin.
      • Cloxacillin.
      • Doxycycline.
      • Gentamicin.
      • Metronidazole.
      • Nitrofurantoin.
      • Phenoxymethylpenicillin (penicillin V).
      • Procaine benzylpenicillin.
      • Spectinomycin.
      • Sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim (sulfamethoxazole + trimethoprim).
      • Trimethoprim.
    • Watch group antibiotics.
      • Azithromycin.
      • Cefixime.
      • Cefotaxime.
      • Ceftriaxone.
      • Cefuroxime.
      • Ciprofloxacin.
      • Clarithromycin.
      • Piperacillin/tazobactam (piperacillin + tazobactam).
      • Vancomycin.
      • Ceftazidimeα.
      • Meropenemα.
      • Vancomycinα.
    • Reserve group antibiotics.
      • Cefiderocolα.
      • Ceftazidime/avibactam (ceftazidime + avibactam)α.
      • Colistinα.
      • Fosfomycinα.
      • Linezolidα.
      • Meropenem/vaborbactam (meropenem + vaborbactam)α.
      • Plazomicinα.
      • Polymyxin Bα.
    • Antileprosy medicines.
      • Clofazimine.
      • Dapsone.
      • Rifampicin.
    • Antituberculosis medicines.
      • Ethambutol.
      • Ethambutol/isoniazid/pyrazinamide/rifampicin (ethambutol + isoniazid + pyrazinamide + rifampicin).
      • Ethambutol/isoniazid/rifampicin (ethambutol + isoniazid + rifampicin).
      • Isoniazid.
      • Isoniazid/pyrazinamide/rifampicin (isoniazid + pyrazinamide + rifampicin).
      • Isoniazid/rifampicin (isoniazid + rifampicin).
      • Isoniazid/rifapentine (isoniazid + rifapentine).
      • Moxifloxacin.
      • Pyrazinamide.
      • Rifabutin.
      • Rifampicin.
      • Rifapentine.
      • Amikacinα.
      • Amoxicillin/clavulanic acid (amoxicillin + clavulanic acid)α.
      • Bedaquilineα.
      • Clofazimineα.
      • Cycloserineα.
      • Delamanidα.
      • Ethionamideα.
      • Levofloxacinα.
      • Linezolidα.
      • Meropenemα.
      • Moxifloxacinα.
      • P-aminosalicylic acidα.
      • Streptomycinα.
  • Antifungal medicines.
    • Amphotericin B.
    • Clotrimazole.
    • Fluconazole.
    • Flucytosine.
    • Griseofulvin.
    • Itraconazole.
    • Nystatin.
    • Voriconazole.
    • Micafunginα.
    • Potassium iodideα.
  • Antiviral medicines
    • Antiherpes medicines.
      • Aciclovir.
    • Antiretrovirals.
    • Nucleoside/nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitors.
      • Abacavir.
      • Lamivudine.
      • Tenofovir disoproxil fumarate.
      • Zidovudine.
    • Non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors.
      • Efavirenz.
      • [[Nevirapine].
    • Protease inhibitors.
      • Atazanavir/ritonavir (atazanavir + ritonavir).
      • Darunavir.
      • Lopinavir/ritonavir (lopinavir + ritonavir).
      • Ritonavir.
    • Integrase inhibitors.
      • Dolutegravir.
      • Raltegravir.
    • Fixed-dose combinations of antiretroviral medicines.
      • Abacavir/lamivudine (abacavir + lamivudine).
      • Dolutegravir/lamivudine/tenofovir (dolutegravir + lamivudine + tenofovir.
      • Efavirenz/emtricitabine/tenofovir.
      • Efavirenz/lamivudine/tenofovir (efavirenz + lamivudine + tenofovir).
      • Emtricitabine/tenofovir (emtricitabine + tenofovir).
      • Lamivudine/zidovudine (lamivudine + zidovudine).
    • Medicines for prevention of HIV-related opportunistic infections.
      • Isoniazid/pyridoxine/sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim (isoniazid + pyridoxine + sulfamethoxazole + trimethoprim).
    • Other antivirals.
      • Ribavirin.
      • Valganciclovir.
      • Oseltamivirα.
      • Valganciclovirα.
    • Antihepatitis medicines.
    • Medicines for hepatitis B.
    • Nucleoside/Nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitors.
      • Entecavir.
      • Tenofovir disoproxil fumarate.
    • Medicines for hepatitis C.
    • Pangenotypic direct-acting antiviral combinations
      • Daclatasvir.
      • Daclatasvir/sofosbuvir (daclatasvir + sofosbuvir).
      • Glecaprevir/pibrentasvir (glecaprevir + pibrentasvir).
      • Sofosbuvir.
      • Sofosbuvir/velpatasvir (sofosbuvir + velpatasvir).
    • Non-pangenotypic direct-acting antiviral combinations
      • Dasabuvir.
      • Ledipasvir/sofosbuvir (ledipasvir + sofosbuvir).
      • Ombitasvir/paritaprevir/ritonavir (ombitasvir + paritaprevir + ritonavir).
    • Other antivirals for hepatitis C.
      • Ribavirin.
      • Pegylated interferon-alpha-2a or pegylated interferon-alpha-2bα.
  • Antiprotozoal medicines:
    • Antiamoebic and antigiardiasis medicines
      • Diloxanide.
      • Metronidazole.
    • Antileishmaniasis medicines
      • Amphotericin B.
      • Miltefosine.
      • Paromomycin.
      • Sodium stibogluconate or meglumine antimoniate.
    • Antimalarial medicines.
    • For curative treatment.
      • Amodiaquine.
      • Artemether.
      • Artemether/lumefantrine (artemether + lumefantrine).
      • Artesunate.
      • Artesunate/amodiaquine (artesunate + amodiaquine).
      • Artesunate/mefloquine (artesunate + mefloquine).
      • Artesunate/pyronaridine tetraphosphate (artesunate + pyronaridine tetraphosphate).
      • Chloroquine.
      • Dihydroartemisinin/piperaquine phosphate (dihydroartemisinin + piperaquine phosphate).
      • Doxycycline.
      • Mefloquine.
      • Primaquine.
      • Quinine.
      • Sulfadoxine/pyrimethamine (sulfadoxine + pyrimethamine).
    • For chemoprevention.
      • Amodiaquine + sulfadoxine/pyrimethamine (Co-packaged).
      • Chloroquine.
      • Doxycycline.
      • Mefloquine.
      • Proguanil.
      • Sulfadoxine/pyrimethamine (sulfadoxine + pyrimethamine).
    • Antipneumocystosis and antitoxoplasmosis medicines.
      • Pyrimethamine.
      • Sulfadiazine.
      • Sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim (sulfamethoxazole + trimethoprim).
      • Pentamidineα.
    • Antitrypanosomal medicines.
    • African trypanosomiasis.
      • Fexinidazole.
    • Medicines for the treatment of 1st stage African trypanosomiasis.
      • Pentamidine.
      • Suramin sodium.
    • Medicines for the treatment of 2nd stage African trypanosomiasis.
      • Eflornithine.
      • Melarsoprol.
      • Nifurtimox.
      • Melarsoprolα.
    • American trypanosomiasis.
      • Benznidazole.
      • Nifurtimox.
  • Medicines for ectoparasitic infections.
    • Ivermectin.

Antimigraine Medicines

  • For treatment of acute attack:
    • Acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin).
    • Ibuprofen.
    • Paracetamol (acetaminophen).
    • Sumatriptan.
  • For prophylaxis:
    • Propranolol.

Immunomodulators and Antineoplastics

  • Immunomodulators for non-malignant disease:
    • Adalimumabα.
    • Azathioprineα.
    • Ciclosporinα.
    • Tacrolimusα.
  • Antineoplastics and supportive medicines:
    • Cytotoxic medicines.
      • Arsenic trioxideα.
      • Asparaginaseα.
      • Bendamustineα.
      • Bleomycinα.
      • Calcium folinateα.
      • Capecitabineα.
      • Carboplatinα.
      • Chlorambucilα.
      • Cisplatinα.
      • Cyclophosphamideα.
      • Cytarabineα.
      • Dacarbazineα.
      • Dactinomycinα.
      • Daunorubicinα.
      • Docetaxelα.
      • Doxorubicinα.
      • Etoposideα.
      • Fludarabineα.
      • Fluorouracilα.
      • Gemcitabineα.
      • Hydroxycarbamideα.
      • Ifosfamideα.
      • Irinotecanα.
      • Melphalanα.
      • Mercaptopurineα.
      • Methotrexateα.
      • Oxaliplatinα.
      • Paclitaxelα.
      • Pegaspargaseα.
      • Procarbazineα.
      • Realgar Indigo naturalis formulationα.
      • Tioguanineα.
      • Vinblastineα.
      • Vincristineα.
      • Vinorelbineα.
    • Targeted therapies.
      • All-trans retinoic acid (tretinoin) (ATRA)α.
      • Bortezomibα.
      • Dasatinibα.
      • Erlotinibα.
      • Everolimusα.
      • Ibrutinibα.
      • Imatinibα.
      • Nilotinibα.
      • Rituximabα.
      • Trastuzumabα.
    • Immunomodulators.
      • Filgrastimα.
      • Lenalidomideα.
      • Nivolumabα.
      • Thalidomideα.
    • Hormones and antihormones.
      • Abirateroneα.
      • Anastrozoleα.
      • Bicalutamideα.
      • Dexamethasoneα.
      • Hydrocortisoneα.
      • Leuprorelinα.
      • Methylprednisoloneα.
      • Prednisoloneα.
      • Tamoxifenα.
    • Supportive medicines.
      • Allopurinolα.
      • Mesnaα.
      • Rasburicaseα.
      • Zoledronic acidα.

Antiparkinsonism Medicines

  • Biperiden.
  • Levodopa/carbidopa (levodopa + carbidopa).

Medicines Affecting the Blood

  • Antianaemia medicines:
    • Ferrous salt.
    • Ferrous salt/folic acid (ferrous salt + folic acid).
    • Folic acid.
    • Hydroxocobalamin.
    • Erythropoiesis-stimulating agentsα.
  • Medicines affecting coagulation:
    • Dabigatran.
    • Enoxaparin.
    • Heparin sodium.
    • Phytomenadione.
    • Protamine sulfate.
    • Tranexamic acid.
    • Warfarin.
    • Desmopressinα.
    • Heparin sodiumα.
    • Protamine sulfateα.
    • Warfarinα.
  • Other medicines for haemoglobinopathies:
    • Deferoxamineα.
    • Hydroxycarbamideα.

Blood Products of Human Origin and Plasma Substitutes

  • Blood and blood components:
    • Fresh frozen plasma.
    • Platelets.
    • Red blood cells.
    • Whole blood.
  • Plasma-derived medicines:
    • Human immunoglobulins.
      • Rho(D) immune globulin (anti-D immunoglobulin).
      • Anti-rabies immunoglobulin.
      • Anti-tetanus immunoglobulin.
      • Normal immunoglobulinα.
    • Blood coagulation factors.
      • Coagulation factor VIIIα.
      • Coagulation factor IXα.
    • Plasma substitutes.
      • Dextran 70.

Cardiovascular Medicines

  • Antianginal medicines:
    • Bisoprolol.
    • Glyceryl trinitrate.
    • Isosorbide dinitrate.
    • Verapamil.
  • Antiarrhythmic medicines:
    • Bisoprolol.
    • Digoxin.
    • Epinephrine (adrenaline).
    • Lidocaine.
    • Verapamil.
    • Amiodaroneα.
  • Antihypertensive medicines:
    • Amlodipine.
    • Bisoprolol.
    • Enalapril.
    • Hydralazine.
    • Hydrochlorothiazide.
    • Lisinopril/amlodipine (lisinopril + amlodipine).
    • Lisinopril/hydrochlorothiazide (lisinopril + hydrochlorothiazide).
    • Losartan.
    • Methyldopa.
    • Telmisartan/amlodipine (telmisartan + amlodipine).
    • Telmisartan/hydrochlorothiazide (telmisartan + hydrochlorothiazide).
    • Sodium nitroprussideα.
  • Medicines used in heart failure:
    • Bisoprolol.
    • Digoxin.
    • Enalapril.
    • Furosemide.
    • Hydrochlorothiazide.
    • Losartan.
    • Spironolactone.
    • Dopamineα.
  • Antithrombotic medicines:
    • Anti-platelet medicines.
      • Acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin).
      • Clopidogrel.
    • Thrombolytic medicines.
      • Alteplaseα.
      • Streptokinaseα.
    • Lipid-lowering agents.
      • Simvastatin.

Dermatological Medicines (Topical)

  • Antifungal medicines:
    • Miconazole.
    • Selenium sulfide.
    • Sodium thiosulfate.
    • Terbinafine.
  • Anti-infective medicines:
    • Mupirocin.
    • Potassium permanganate.
    • Silver sulfadiazine.
  • Anti-inflammatory and antipruritic medicines:
    • Betamethasone.
    • Calamine.
    • Hydrocortisone.
  • Medicines affecting skin differentiation and proliferation:
    • Benzoyl peroxide.
    • Calcipotriol.
    • Coal tar.
    • Fluorouracil.
    • Podophyllum resin.
    • Salicylic acid.
    • Urea.
  • Scabicides and pediculicides:
    • Benzyl benzoate.
    • Permethrin.

Diagnostic Agents

  • Ophthalmic medicines:
    • Fluorescein.
    • Tropicamide.
  • Radiocontrast media:
    • Amidotrizoate.
    • Barium sulfate.
    • Iohexol.
    • Barium sulfateα.
    • Meglumine iotroxateα.

Antiseptics and Disinfectants

  • Antiseptics:
    • Chlorhexidine.
    • Ethanol.
    • Povidone iodine.
  • Disinfectants:
    • Alcohol based hand rub.
    • Chlorine base compound.
    • Chloroxylenol.
    • Glutaral.

Diuretics

  • Amiloride.
  • Furosemide.
  • Hydrochlorothiazide.
  • Mannitol.
  • Spironolactone.
  • Hydrochlorothiazideα.
  • Mannitolα.
  • Spironolactoneα.

Gastrointestinal Medicines

  • Pancreatic enzymesα.
  • Antiulcer medicines:
    • Omeprazole.
    • Ranitidine.
  • Antiemetic medicines:
    • Dexamethasone.
    • Metoclopramide.
    • Ondansetron.
    • Aprepitantα.
  • Anti-inflammatory medicines:
    • Sulfasalazine.
    • Hydrocortisoneα.
    • Prednisoloneα.
  • Laxatives:
    • Senna.
  • Medicines used in diarrhoea:
    • Oral rehydration salts + zinc sulfate (Co-packaged).
    • Oral rehydration.
      • Oral rehydration salts.
    • Medicines for diarrhoea.
      • Zinc sulfate.

Medicines for Endocrine Disorders

  • Adrenal hormones and synthetic substitutes:
    • Fludrocortisone.
    • Hydrocortisone.
  • Androgens:
    • Testosteroneα.
  • Estrogens:
    • No listings in this section.
  • Progestogens:
    • Medroxyprogesterone acetate.
  • Medicines for diabetes:
    • Insulins.
      • Insulin injection (soluble).
      • Intermediate-acting insulin.
      • Long-acting insulin analogues.
    • Oral hypoglycaemic agents.
      • Empagliflozin.
      • Gliclazide.
      • Metformin.
      • Metforminα.
    • Medicines for hypoglycaemia.
      • Glucagon.
      • Diazoxideα.
  • Thyroid hormones and antithyroid medicines:
    • Levothyroxine.
    • Potassium iodide.
    • Methimazole.
    • Propylthiouracil.
    • Lugol’s solutionα.
    • Methimazoleα.
    • Potassium iodideα.
    • Propylthiouracilα.

Immunologicals

  • Diagnostic agents:
    • Tuberculin, purified protein derivative (PPD).
  • Sera, immunoglobulins and monoclonal antibodies:
    • Anti-rabies virus monoclonal antibodies.
    • Antivenom immunoglobulin.
    • Diphtheria antitoxin.
    • Equine rabies immunoglobulin.
  • Vaccines:
    • Recommendations for all.
      • BCG vaccine.
      • Diphtheria vaccine.
      • Haemophilus influenzae type b vaccine.
      • Hepatitis B vaccine.
      • Human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine.
      • Measles vaccine.
      • Pertussis vaccine.
      • Pneumococcal vaccine.
      • Poliomyelitis vaccine.
      • Rotavirus vaccine.
      • Rubella vaccine.
      • Tetanus vaccine.
    • Recommendations for certain regions.
      • Japanese encephalitis vaccine.
      • Tick-borne encephalitis vaccine.
      • Yellow fever vaccine.
      • Recommendations for some high-risk populations.
      • Cholera vaccine.
      • Dengue vaccine.
      • Hepatitis A vaccine.
      • Meningococcal meningitis vaccine.
      • Rabies vaccine.
      • Typhoid vaccine.
    • Recommendations for immunisation programmes with certain characteristics.
      • Influenza vaccine (seasonal).
      • Mumps vaccine.
      • Varicella vaccine.

Muscle Relaxants (Peripherally-Acting) and Cholinesterase Inhibitors

  • Atracurium.
  • Neostigmine.
  • Suxamethonium.
  • Vecuronium.
  • Pyridostigmineα.
  • Vecuroniumα.

Ophthalmological Preparations

  • Anti-infective agents:
    • Aciclovir.
    • Azithromycin.
    • Erythromycin.
    • Gentamicin.
    • Natamycin.
    • Ofloxacin.
    • Tetracycline.
  • Anti-inflammatory agents:
    • Prednisolone.
  • Local anaesthetics:
    • Tetracaine.
  • Miotics and antiglaucoma medicines:
    • Acetazolamide.
    • Latanoprost.
    • Pilocarpine.
    • Timolol.
  • Mydriatics:
    • Atropine.
    • Epinephrine (adrenaline)α.
  • Anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF):
    • Bevacizumabα.

Medicines for Reproductive Health and Perinatal Care

  • Contraceptives:
    • Oral hormonal contraceptives.
      • Ethinylestradiol/levonorgestrel (ethinylestradiol + levonorgestrel).
      • Ethinylestradiol/norethisterone (ethinylestradiol + norethisterone).
      • Levonorgestrel.
      • Ulipristal.
    • Injectable hormonal contraceptives.
      • Estradiol cypionate/medroxyprogesterone acetate (estradiol cypionate + medroxyprogesterone acetate).
      • Medroxyprogesterone acetate.
      • Norethisterone enantate.
    • Intrauterine devices.
      • IUD with copper.
      • IUD with progestogen.
    • Barrier methods.
      • Condoms.
      • Diaphragms.
    • Implantable contraceptives.
      • Etonogestrel-releasing implant.
      • Levonorgestrel-releasing implant.
    • Intravaginal contraceptives.
      • Ethinylestradiol/etonogestrel (ethinylestradiol + etonogestrel).
      • Progesterone vaginal ring.
  • Ovulation inducers:
    • Clomifeneα.
  • Uterotonics:
    • Carbetocin.
    • Ergometrine.
    • Mifepristone + misoprostol (Co-packaged).
    • Misoprostol.
    • Oxytocin.
  • Antioxytocics (tocolytics):
    • Nifedipine.
  • Medicines administered to the mother:
    • Dexamethasone.
    • Multiple micronutrient supplement.
    • Tranexamic acid.
  • Medicines administered to the neonate:
    • Caffeine citrate.
    • Chlorhexidine.
    • Ibuprofenα.
    • Prostaglandin E1α.
    • Surfactantα.

Peritoneal Dialysis Solution

  • Intraperitoneal dialysis solution (of appropriate composition)α.

Medicines for Mental and Behavioural Disorders

  • Medicines used in psychotic disorders:
  • Medicines used in mood disorders:
    • Medicines used in depressive disorders.
    • Medicines used in bipolar disorders.
      • Carbamazepine.
      • Lithium carbonate.
      • Valproic acid (sodium valproate).
  • Medicines for anxiety disorders:
  • Medicines used for obsessive compulsive disorders:
    • Clomipramine.
  • Medicines for disorders due to psychoactive substance use:
    • Bupropion.
    • Nicotine replacement therapy.
    • Varenicline.
    • Methadoneα.

Medicines Acting on the Respiratory Tract

  • Antiasthmatics and medicines for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease:
    • Budesonide.
    • Budesonide/formoterol (budesonide + formoterol).
    • Epinephrine (adrenaline).
    • Ipratropium bromide.
    • Salbutamol.
    • Tiotropium.

Solutions Correcting Water, Electrolyte and Acid-Base Disturbances

  • Oral:
    • Oral rehydration salts.
    • Potassium chloride.
  • Parenteral:
    • Glucose.
    • Glucose with sodium chloride.
    • Potassium chloride.
    • Sodium chloride.
    • Sodium hydrogen carbonate.
    • Sodium lactate, compound solution.
  • Miscellaneous:
    • Water for injection.

Vitamins and Minerals

  • Ascorbic acid.
  • Calcium.
  • Colecalciferol.
  • Ergocalciferol.
  • Iodine.
  • Multiple micronutrient powder.
  • Nicotinamide.
  • Pyridoxine.
  • Retinol.
  • Riboflavin.
  • Thiamine.
  • Calcium gluconateα.

Ear, Nose and Throat Medicines

  • Acetic acid.
  • Budesonide.
  • Ciprofloxacin.
  • Xylometazoline.

Medicines for Diseases of Joints

  • Medicines used to treat gout:
    • Allopurinol.
  • Disease-modifying agents used in rheumatoid disorders (DMARDs):
    • Chloroquine.
    • Azathioprineα.
    • Hydroxychloroquineα.
    • Methotrexateα.
    • Penicillamineα.
    • Sulfasalazineα.
  • Juvenile joint diseases:
    • Acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin).
  • Dental preparations:
    • Fluoride.
    • Glass ionomer cement.
    • Silver diamine fluoride.

Is Varenicline a Useful Target Compound for Improving Cognitive Impairment in Schizophrenia?

Research Paper Title

Varenicline for cognitive impairment in people with schizophrenia: systematic review and meta-analysis.

Background

People with schizophrenia frequently have cognitive dysfunction, which does not respond to pharmacological interventions. Varenicline has been identified as a potential treatment option for nicotinic receptor dysfunction with a potential to treat cognitive impairment in schizophrenia.

Methods

The researchers conducted a systematic review of Pubmed, Embase, Psycinfo, CINAHL and the Cochrane Schizophrenia Trial Registry for randomised controlled trials of varenicline in people with schizophrenia for cognitive dysfunction.

They excluded trials among people with dementia. They then undertook a meta-analysis with the primary outcome of difference in change of cognitive measures between varenicline and placebo as well as secondary outcomes of difference in rates of adverse events.

They also conducted a sensitivity analysis on smoking status and study duration.

Results

The researchers included four papers in the meta-analysis (n = 339).

Varenicline was not superior to placebo for:

  • Overall cognition (SMD = -0.022, 95% CI -0.154-0.110; Z = -0.333; p = 0.739);
  • Attention (SMD = -0.047, 95% CI -0.199-0.104; Z = -0.613; p = 0.540);
  • Executive function (SMD = -0.060, 95% CI -0.469-0.348; Z =- 0.290; p = 0.772); or
  • Processing speed (SMD = 0.038, 95% CI -0.232-0.308; Z = 0.279; p = 0.780).

There was no difference in psychotic symptoms, but varenicline was associated with higher rates of nausea.

Sensitivity analyses for smoking status and study duration did not alter the results.

Conclusions

Within the present literature, varenicline does not appear to be a useful target compound for improving cognitive impairment in schizophrenia.

Based on these results, a trial would need over 2,500 participants to be powered to show statistically significant findings.

Reference

Tanzer, T., Shah, S., Benson, C., De Monte, V., Gore-Jones, V., Rossell, S.L., Dark, F., Kisely, S., Siskind, D. & Melo, C.D. (2019) Varenicline for cognitive impairment in people with schizophrenia: systematic review and meta-analysis. Psychopharmacology. doi: 10.1007/s00213-019-05396-9. [Epub ahead of print].