MGH Study Looks Into A Plant-Based Drug For Quitting Smoking

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) —A new study, conducted out of Massachusetts General Hospital, shows smokers who test positive for COVID-19 are more likely to have a serious case and complications.

“What we’re studying is a new medicine to help people quit. We haven’t had a new medicine available for 10 years and it seems to work,” principal investigator, MGH Dr. Nancy Rigotti, said.

The drug, Cytisine, is made from the Laburnum tree and has been used in Eastern Europe for decades as a natural treatment for smoking. But so far, the only prescription drug in the United States for people looking to quit is Chantix.

“The potential advantage of the natural product is that it doesn’t seem to have as much nausea and trouble with vivid dreams,” Dr. Rigotti said.

In an article published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Rigotti wrote that one advantage to bringing this drug into the market is because the current medicines “are unavailable to so many smokers — especially those in low-income and middle-income countries — because of their cost.”

She went on to write that “tobacco use is now the leading preventable cause of death worldwide,” and that quitting smoking “benefits virtually every smoker, and the use of pharmacotherapy improves the likelihood of success for those who attempt to quit.”

People who smoke at least 10 cigarettes a day can participate in the clinical trial.

Those interested can go on the study’s website, call 617-726-7443, or email

WBZ NewsRadio's Laurie Kirby (@LaurieWBZ) reports

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(Photo: Getty Images)

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