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Updated January 1st, 2024 at 19:09 IST

Cytisine pill proves effective against smoking addiction, gains approval in UK

Doctors explore cytisine, a medicine derived from laburnum seeds which can now help you fight your smoking addiction.

Manasvi Asthana
Cytisine pill proves effective against smoking addiction, gains approval in UK
Cytisine pill proves effective against smoking addiction, gains approval in UK | Image:Unsplash
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Doctors explore cytisine, a medicine derived from laburnum seeds which can now help you fight your smoking addiction. Though widely used in central and eastern Europe, it recently gained UK regulatory approval and will soon be accessible, potentially playing a vital role in aiding smoking cessation globally.

Argentinian researchers conducted an analysis of 12 randomized controlled trials, comparing the success rates of smokers attempting to quit using cytisine, a placebo, varenicline (Champix) or nicotine replacement therapies like patches and gum.

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Test results

Results revealed that cytisine pills were over twice as effective as the placebo in aiding smoking cessation. Some trials indicated cytisine's similarity to varenicline and its potential superiority to nicotine replacement therapy. The findings are published in the journal Addiction.

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“Our study adds to the evidence that cytisine is an effective and inexpensive stop-smoking aid,” said Omar de Santi, a toxicologist at the Posadas National hospital in Argentina, who led the review. “Worldwide, smoking is considered the main cause of preventable death. Cytisine has the potential to be one of the big answers to that problem.”

Despite a significant decline in smoking over the past 50 years in the UK, it remains the primary cause of preventable illness and death. The Royal Society for Public Health reports approximately 100,000 annual deaths attributable to smoking, surpassing the combined toll of the next five major causes. Recent research supports the efficacy of aids like e-cigarettes, varenicline and cytisine in helping smokers quit.

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When will it be available?

Cytisine pills are set to be available in the UK by the end of January, albeit at a cost of £115 for a 25-day course, potentially impacting their inclusion in health services.

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Professor Robert West, director of tobacco studies at the Cancer Research UK Health Behaviour Research Centre at UCL, hailed the approval of cytisine for sale in the UK as "fantastic news for smokers."
 

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Published January 1st, 2024 at 19:09 IST

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