Finally quitting smoking is the good resolution many smokers make for the New Year. The herbal active ingredient cytisine has been proven to be helpful. Compared to a Palcebo, Cytisine doubles the chances of successfully quitting smoking.
In a recent review, an Argentine research team examined the extent to which cytisine can help people quit smoking. The effect was quite convincing. The corresponding study results are published in the specialist magazine “Addiction”.
Herbal active ingredient for smoking cessation
Cytisine is a plant alkaloid that is contained in the seeds of the laburnum (Laburnum anagyroides) and has a similar chemical structure to nicotine, explains the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM). The active ingredient is used for medicines that are intended to help people quit smoking.
The team led by Dr. Omar De Santi from the Argentine Centro Nacional de Intoxicaciones (CNI) analyzed in the current review article.
The researchers considered twelve randomized clinical trials, eight of which compared cytisine with a placebo at the standard dose. These studies included 5,922 people, with 2,996 taking cytisine, the research team said.
Increased success in quitting smoking
The data analysis showed that cytisine increases the chances of successfully quitting smoking more than twice as compared to a placebo, the experts report. In addition, the herbal active ingredient has a favorable safety profile and there is no evidence of serious risks.
The research work evaluated also included two randomized controlled studies in which cytisine was compared with nicotine replacement therapy, with the results being in favor of cytisine, the researchers explain. There is evidence that cytisine could be more effective than nicotine replacement therapy.
In three studies there was also a comparison with the active ingredient varenicline, which is used as a medicine to help people quit smoking. However, there was no greater benefit for cytisine here.
Effective and cost-effective
“Our study adds to the evidence that cytisine is an effective and cost-effective aid in quitting smoking,” concludes Dr. Omar De Santi together. The active ingredient could make an effective contribution to the fight against smoking, particularly in countries where cost-effective medications for smoking cessation are currently lacking.
In Eastern Europe, cytisine has been used to quit smoking since the 1960s and a corresponding drug (trade name “Asmoken”) is also available in Central Europe today.
However, the active ingredient has not yet been approved and is therefore not available in most countries outside of Central and Eastern Europe, which also affects many low- and middle-income countries where cytisine could make a major contribution to public health, according to the research team. (fp)