Blake Ziegler, pharmacist, professor at the University of Waterloo professor and founder of Zpharm, has successfully commercialized cytisine by selling it in capsule form, branded as Cravv.
More effective than prescribed NRTs?
A study found that 40% of the participants receiving cytisine stopped smoking after a month, in comparison to the 30% that quit via NRTs.
In 2014, a study titled, Cytisine versus nicotine for smoking cessation (2014), which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that the participants who used cytisine as a smoking cessation aid were almost twice as likely to quit successfully than those who did not use any therapy. The study also found 40% of the participants receiving cytisine stopped smoking after a month, in comparison to the 30% that quit via nicotine replacement therapy (NRT).
“There’s tons of problems with patients smoking, and it’s obvious we (pharmacists) want them to stop as soon as possible,” said Ziegler. “The motivating factor for me is being able to offer something that works and is affordable and safe.”
How does it work?
Like the drug varenicline, cytisine reduces cravings by blocking nicotine receptors, however it has not been tested against the prescription drug yet. Smokers Patients start with a higher dose, each day gradually reducing the number of capsules they take.
A $50 bottle of Cravv will last for approximately 25 days, which equates to one round of treatment. NRTs such as gum, typically take longer about eight to ten weeks, and end up costing over $100. Hence manufacturers claim that cytisine is both cheaper and more effective than commonly prescribed NRTs.