Cytisine helps smokers cheaply and safely kick the habit

Here’s a new study that may some real good news for smokers wanting to quit. Tabex (cytisine), a drug “developed in Bulgaria during the Soviet era, shows promise for helping millions of smokers cheaply and safely kick the habit,” according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The AP reports that currently cytisine is “used just in Eastern Europe, where smokers usually take the pill for three or four weeks.”

“Generic versions cost as little as $5 to $17 a month, compared with about $100 for an eight-week supply of nicotine patches or about $300 for a 12-week supply of Pfizer Inc.’s Chantix (varenicline) pill – common treatments in rich countries to help smokers quit.”

Bloomberg News reports, “In the study, 8.4 percent of patients taking Tabex for 25 days with ‘minimal’ counseling abstained from smoking for a year, compared with 2.4 percent of those given a placebo.”

Participants “who took the plant-based remedy reported more gastrointestinal upset, the research shows.”

WebMD reports, “Tabex was developed and is marketed by the Bulgarian pharmaceutical company Sopharma, and it has been licensed to Maryland-based Extab Corp. According to Extab’s web site, the company’s sole purpose is to obtain approval for the drug in the US and other countries where it is not yet available.”

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