Lozenge Triples Chance of Quitting Smoking
LONDON (Reuters) - A new lozenge can triple a smoker's chance of quitting and is more effective than other forms of nicotine replacement therapy, according to results of a study released on Monday.
A large clinical trial showed that NiQuitin CQ, made by drugs giant GlaxoSmithKline Plc, worked better than nicotine patches, gum, inhalers or nasal sprays to help smokers kick the habit.
"It trebles the success rate and surpasses all form of NRT (nicotine replacement therapy) to date," Dr. Chris Steele, who runs one of Europe's biggest quit-smoking clinics, told a news conference.
Steele, a Manchester-based family doctor who has run stop-smoking courses for 25 years, said the trial involving more than 1,800 smokers in Britain and the United States showed that smokers randomly selected to receive the lozenges were much more likely to stop than people who took a placebo.
"The active lozenge was three times as effective as the placebo," according to Steele.
Other NRT products have been shown to be twice or less than twice as effective as a placebo in helping smokers give up the habit.
The lozenges, available in two and four milligram doses, were designed to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms and were taken in gradually reduced amounts for 12 weeks.
They cost about $25 a week, the equivalent of most other nicotine replacement therapies. In Britain, the first country where the lozenges are launched, they are available on the state-funded National Health Service (NHS).
Doctors determine the dosage using a definition of smoking dependency based on how soon a smoker has the first cigarette after waking.
People who light up within 30 minutes of waking are heavily dependent, regardless of how many cigarettes they smoke daily, and would be given the higher dosage.
Someone who can do without their first cigarette for longer is less dependent and would receive the smaller dosage.
Steele said the first two weeks are critical for smokers trying to quit. According to the results of the trial, which will be published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine next year, cigarette cravings in the first week for those using the lozenges were reduced by 23 percent during the first week.
Although the dosage of the lozenges is the same as nicotine gum, Steele said the lozenges were more effective because they release 25-27 percent more nicotine from each dose.
Some smokers experienced side effects such as nausea and heartburn, he said.
Professor Gordon McVie, the director general of Britain's Cancer Research Campaign charity, described the results of the trial as "fairly robust" and said the lozenges may encourage heavy smokers to try to give up one more time.
Scientific studies have shown the smoking is the single greatest cause of preventable death. Smoking causes 30 percent of all cancer deaths, including at least 80 percent of lung cancer deaths.