Popular Smoking Cessation Drug Increases Adverse Cardiac Risk

June 17, 2011
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First, and almost immediately out of the box, it was the concern for serious mental health effects.[1] Now, somewhat controversial smoking cessation drug varenicline (Chantix) First, and almost immediately out of the box, it was the concern for serious mental health effects.[1] Now, somewhat controversial smoking cessation drug varenicline (Chantix) is the target of the FDA with respect to the increased risk of heart disease for those taking it. Of course, the FDA rates this as only a “small” risk as it “continues to evaluate its safety”.

The new warning comes from a 700-person trial in which patients who took Chantix (varenicline) over 12 weeks were more likely to experience an adverse heart event after one year than those who received a placebo. All of the patients had already been diagnosed with heart disease. For both groups, the heart attack risk was still small: 7 out of 353 patients taking Chantix had a nonfatal heart attack, versus 3 out of 350 who took a placebo.

  1. Pfizer, the drug’s manufacturer was also the target of claims of an increased risk of suicidal ideation for those taking the drug — to a lesser extent, night terrors and delirium.

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