Sunday, January 9, 2011

J&J rolled out Nicorette

Smokers looking to give up the habit have one more alternative to choose from, with Johnson & Johnson Ltd set to bring in Nicorette, its sugar-free nicotine gum that helps reduce nicotine cravings.

Nicorette will be available at all chemist outlets beginning January 2011, a note from J&J said.

Tobacco cessation products are already present in the country, with Pfizer having launched its Chantix (sold in India as Champix ) in 2008. GlaxoSmithKline's product Zyban was launched locally in 2001, but shelved two years later.

J&J, however, said that from later this week, Nicorette would be rolled-out in packs of 4mg (10 gums) – prescribed by doctors for “heavy smokers”, and as an over-the-counter product of 2 mg (4 & 10 gums) for “light smokers”, a note from the company said.

The cessation products are priced at Rs 22 for a 2 mg, 4 pieces box of Nicorette and Rs 50 for a 2 mg, 10 pieces box of Nicorette, besides Rs 65 for a 4 mg, 10 pieces box.

A Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) product, Nicorette provides therapeutic and clean nicotine, slowly and in lesser quantities as compared to a cigarette, but also just enough to satisfy the cravings, the company said.

NRT substitutes the nicotine obtained from smoking, thus controlling craving and withdrawal symptoms, and preventing relapse to smoking.

Also, unlike tobacco smoke, it delivers nicotine that is devoid of harmful chemicals such as tar, irritants and carbon monoxide, and, hence, is safer than smoking a cigarette, it added.


NRTs are recognised as part of cessation programmes, and its short-term use is a bridge to actual cessation, said Dr Srinath Reddy of Public Health Foundation of India.

But long term use could have adverse effects in terms of impact on the heart and fresh addiction, he said, adding that it needs to be monitored.

In fact, cessation products have in the past too had to deal with associated concerns. Late last year, Pfizer had to update the label on its smoking-cessation product Champix, to alert health professionals of behavioural changes, including depressed moods and suicidal thoughts, reportedly associated with such products.

This was after the US regulator, the Food and Drug Administration raised the concern and mandated “boxed warnings” on Chantix (varenicline) and Zyban (bupropion hydrochloride), two prescription medicines used as part of smoking cessation programmes.


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