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Cytisine vs. Nicotine for Smoking Cessation

Cytisine vs. Nicotine for Smoking Cessation | Heart and Vascular Health | Scoop.it

Motivation, it’s often said, is half the battle of behavior change.  In the battle against nicotine addiction, however, motivation alone may not be enough.  Mass media campaigns have helped to raise awareness about the dangers of smoking.  But for the majority of smokers who already want to quit, the question remains: how? 

A study published this week in NEJM compared the effectiveness of cytisine versus nicotine replacement therapy for smoking cessation.  1300 adult smokers in New Zealand were randomized to receive either cytisine for 25 days or nicotine replacement therapy for 8 weeks.  Participants also received behavioral support. At one month, 40% of participants in the cytisine group reported continuous abstinence, as compared to 31% of those on nicotine replacement therapy (absolute difference of 9.3 percentage points; 95% confidence interval 4.2 to 14.5; number needed to treat = 11).  Abstinence was also higher with cytisine than with nicotine replacement therapy at two and six months.  

Seth Bilazarian, MD's insight:

Today, cytisine use is mostly limited to Eastern Europe.  Considering it is much less expensive than Chantix ($20-$30 for the recommended 25 day treatment course of cytisine versus $500 for 12 weeks of Chantix), if cytisine is indeed more effective than nicotine replacement therapy, as the findings of this study suggests, then introducing it to the US market could yield tremendous value.

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Electronic Cigarettes

Electronic Cigarettes | Heart and Vascular Health | Scoop.it

Electronic cigarettes (E-cigarettes) are devices that deliver nicotine to a user by heating and converting to an aerosol a liquid mixture typically composed of propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, flavoring chemicals, and nicotine. E-cigarette use doubled in just 1 year among both adults and children, from 3.4% to 6.2% in adults (2010–2011) and 3.3% to 6.8% in youth (2011–2012), with high levels of dual use with tobacco cigarettes.  Although most youth using e-cigarettes are dual users, up to one third of adolescents who tried an e-cigarette have never smoked a conventional cigarette, indicating that some youth are initiating use of the addictive drug nicotine with e-cigarettes.

Smoke-free policies are a critical intervention both to protect nonsmokers and to support smoking cessation attempts. To avoid reversing the effectiveness of these policies, e-cigarettes should not be used anyplace where smoking cigarettes is not allowed (including in homes that are smoke-free). There is no reason to reintroduce toxins into clean indoor air environments.

Seth Bilazarian, MD's insight:

I tell patients who want to use  E-cigarettes that we don't have adequate information to say that these new nicotine drug delivery devices are safer than cigarettes.  For patients who are motivated to quit smoking, use of  E-cigarettes has not been shown to be an effective  aid to end the addiction of smoking.

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E-Cigarettes: What to Tell Patients

E-Cigarettes: What to Tell Patients | Heart and Vascular Health | Scoop.it
Channeling Donald Rumsfeld, Dr. Bilazarian outlines both the known and unknown unknowns about e-cigarettes.
Seth Bilazarian, MD's insight:

E-cigarette use has really grown pretty significantly. It does an estimated $1.7 billion in sales and it's currently expected that it will exceed revenue from cigarettes in about 10 years. They're marketed as healthier, as potential quitting aids, and they allow smoking anywhere. The marketing is briefly summarized as "e-cigarettes are healthier, cleaner, and cheaper." Much is not known about these new nicotine delivery devices, but counseling of patients about the hazards is important.

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Vaccine Shows Promise for Nicotine Addiction (in mice)

Vaccine Shows Promise for Nicotine Addiction (in mice) | Heart and Vascular Health | Scoop.it

Take Home message:  Smoking addiction is very difficult to overcome for many patients.  Our most effective strategy currently is a combination of Chantix with counseling.  A life time strategy of vacciantion is attractive, but would need very long term data on overall safety but especially psychiatric safety for it to win my confidence for my patients.

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