The Stop-Smoking Pill; Drug That Blocks Cravings Set to Be Sold in Britain

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Byline: MARK PRIGG

A NEW pill to stop people smoking is set to go on sale in Britain within months.

Developed by Pfizer,the firm behind Viagra, Chantix imitates the effects of nicotine on the body and is taken once or twice a day.

It stimulates the same nervous system receptors in the brain as nicotine, effectively blocking cravings and withdrawal symptoms. When users do succumb to a cigarette, the drug also blocks some of the effects of nicotine. It has already been approved for sale in America, and is being tested by European regulators. Once it receives final approval, it could go on sale in Britain within months. "We are hopeful approval for sale across Europe will come shortly, and we are already gearing up to make the drug available as soon as possible after that, " said a spokeswoman for Pfizer. Research published today in the Archives of Internal Medicine journal found the drug helped almost half the people who took it to quit.

Researchers at the University of Connecticut found that in a study of 626 smokers, those given the pill were three times more likely to quit than those who weren't, with 48 per cent of people on the drug giving up, compared with 17 per cent of people given a placebo. …