Quit-smoking drug not linked to heart disease or depression

September 06, 2015

A highly effective drug that helps smokers to quit does not increase their risk of heart attack and depression as was previously thought, research suggests.

Researchers who carried out the study say doctors can prescribe varenicline - also known as Champix™ or ChantixTM - more widely to help people stop smoking.

Varenicline is the most effective medication to help smokers quit but previous reports have suggested that users may be more likely to suffer a heart attack.

The drug has also been linked to depression, self-harm and suicide.

This latest research - which has for the first time simultaneously studied these potential side effects - supports recent studies that failed to find any evidence that varenicline has a negative effect on mental health. It also shows that taking the drug does not raise a person's risk of heart disease.

The team looked at anonymised health information from more than 150,000 smokers across England.

The patients had been prescribed either varenicline or another anti-smoking drug called bupropion to help them quit, or had used nicotine replacement therapy - such as patches, chewing gum or lozenges.

They were tracked for six months to assess any impact of the treatment on their health.

Researchers found that people taking either varenicline or buproprion were no more likely to suffer a heart attack than those using nicotine replacement therapy.

People were also not at higher risk of depression or self-harm, researchers say.

The study was led by researchers from the Universities of Edinburgh and Dusseldorf and is published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine. Researchers at Maastricht University, University College London and Harvard Medical School also contributed to the study. Data were provided by QResearch.

Professor Daniel Kotz, from the Medical Faculty of the Heinrich-Heine-University Dusseldorf, said: "Smokers typically lose three months of life expectancy for every year of continued smoking. Our research supports the use of varenicline as an effective and safe tool to help people quit."

Professor Aziz Sheikh, Co-Director of the University of Edinburgh's Centre for Medical Informatics, said: "On the basis of our extensive analysis, we believe it is highly unlikely that varenicline has any significant adverse effects on cardiac or mental health. Regulators such as the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) should review its safety warning in relation to varenicline as this may be unnecessarily limiting access to this effective smoking cessation aid."
-end-


University of Edinburgh

Related Depression Articles from Brightsurf:

Children with social anxiety, maternal history of depression more likely to develop depression
Although researchers have known for decades that depression runs in families, new research from Binghamton University, State University of New York, suggests that children suffering from social anxiety may be at particular risk for depression in the future.

Depression and use of marijuana among US adults
This study examined the association of depression with cannabis use among US adults and the trends for this association from 2005 to 2016.

Maternal depression increases odds of depression in offspring, study shows
Depression in mothers during and after pregnancy increased the odds of depression in offspring during adolescence and adulthood by 70%.

Targeting depression: Researchers ID symptom-specific targets for treatment of depression
For the first time, physician-scientists at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center have identified two clusters of depressive symptoms that responded to two distinct neuroanatomical treatment targets in patients who underwent transcranial magnetic brain stimulation (TMS) for treatment of depression.

A biological mechanism for depression
Researchers report that in depressed individuals there are increased amounts of an unmodified structural protein, called tubulin, in lipid rafts compared with non-depressed individuals.

Depression in adults who are overweight or obese
In an analysis of primary care records of 519,513 UK adults who were overweight or obese between 2000-2016 and followed up until 2019, the incidence of new cases of depression was 92 per 10,000 people per year.

Why stress doesn't always cause depression
Rats susceptible to anhedonia, a core symptom of depression, possess more serotonin neurons after being exposed to chronic stress, but the effect can be reversed through amygdala activation, according to new research in JNeurosci.

Which comes first: Smartphone dependency or depression?
New research suggests a person's reliance on his or her smartphone predicts greater loneliness and depressive symptoms, as opposed to the other way around.

Depression breakthrough
Major depressive disorder -- referred to colloquially as the 'black dog' -- has been identified as a genetic cause for 20 distinct diseases, providing vital information to help detect and manage high rates of physical illnesses in people diagnosed with depression.

CPAP provides relief from depression
Researchers have found that continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can improve depression symptoms in patients suffering from cardiovascular diseases.

Read More: Depression News and Depression Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.