Quit smoking in 2024 with Cytisine, but it depends on your country

Effectiveness of Cytisine in smoking cessation: A meta-analysis.


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A recent study in Addiction reveals that Cytisine, an affordable stop-smoking aid used in Eastern Europe since the 1960s, doubles the chances of successful quitting compared to a placebo. It is more effective than nicotine replacement therapy and has a safe profile. However, there’s a downside: Cytisine is not widely available globally, limiting its potential impact on public health, especially in low- and middle-income countries.

Cytisine, a plant-based compound easing smoking withdrawal, originated as Tabex® in Bulgaria in 1964. It spread to Eastern Europe and Asia, where it’s still sold. 2017 Poland’s Aflofarm introduced it as Desmoxan®, and Canada approved it as the over-the-counter Cravv®. Due to its affordability, Cytisine could be crucial in expanding access to smoking cessation treatments, especially in low- and middle-income countries where such options are limited.

Lead author Dr. Omar De Santi elaborates: “Our study adds evidence that Cytisine is an effective and inexpensive stop-smoking aid. It could be beneficial in reducing smoking in LAMI countries where cost-effective smoking cessation drugs are urgently needed. Worldwide, smoking is considered the main cause of preventable death. Cytisine can potentially be one of the big answers to that problem.”

A study combined results from eight trials with 6,000 patients, finding Cytisine doubles successful smoking cessation compared to placebo. Two trials comparing Cytisine with nicotine replacement therapy favored Cytisine modestly, while three trials comparing Cytisine with varenicline showed no clear benefit for Cytisine.

While Cytisine emerges as a potential aid for those aiming to quit smoking, its global impact remains constrained by limited availability. As we approach 2024, understanding the regional accessibility of Cytisine is crucial for individuals considering it as part of their smoking cessation journey.

Journal reference:

  1. Omar De Santi, Marcelo Orellana etal., Evaluation of the effectiveness of Cytisine for the treatment of smoking cessation: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Addiction. DOI: 10.1111/add.16399.


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