Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Varenicline for smoking cessation linked to increased risk of serious harmful cardiac events, study finds

Date:
July 4, 2011
Source:
Canadian Medical Association Journal
Summary:
The use of varenicline to stop smoking is associated with a 72 percent increased risk of a serious adverse cardiovascular event, according to a new study.

The use of varenicline to stop smoking is associated with a 72% increased risk of a serious adverse cardiovascular event, states an article in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Heart disease is a common cause of serious illness and death in smokers and is often a reason for people to stop smoking. Varenicline is one of the most commonly used drugs to help people quit smoking worldwide. When varenicline was launched in 2006, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) safety reviewers reported that existing data indicated it could raise the risk of adverse cardiac events. The FDA recently updated the label for Chantix based on a small increased risk of cardiovascular events among smokers with heart disease.

A team of researchers from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland; the University of East Anglia, Norwich, United Kingdom; and Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, sought to investigate the serious cardiac effects of varenicline in tobacco users (smokers or smokeless tobacco users) compared with placebos in clinical trials. They looked at 14 trials that included 8216 patients (4908 people on varenicline and 3308 taking placebos). All trials except one excluded people with a history of heart disease.

In the study, 52 of 4908 (1.06%) participants taking varenicline had adverse events compared with 27 of 3308 (0.82%) participants on placebo. Seven of the 4908 people taking varenicline died compared with 7 of 3308 receiving placebo.

"Among tobacco users varenicline use was associated with a significantly increased risk of serious adverse cardiovascular events greater than 72%," writes Dr. Sonal Singh, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, with coauthors.

"However, despite achieving more than twofold higher rates of abstinence in the trials, which should potentially induce a cardiovascular benefit, the participants allocated to varenicline experienced an increase in the risk of serious adverse cardiovascular events," they write. "These increased risks of adverse cardiovascular events are seen in smokers with or without heart disease," according to the authors.

They note additional risks of depression, agitation and suicidal thoughts which resulted in the FDA issuing a boxed warning -- the highest level of warning -- for the drug.

Despite study limitations such as variable data and lack of statistical strength, the researchers conclude that "clinicians should carefully balance the risk of serious cardiovascular events and other serious neuropsychiatric adverse events associated with varenicline against their known benefits on smoking cessation."

In a related commentary, Dr. Taylor Hays from the Mayo Clinic writes, "Although these results suggest a measure of caution should be taken in prescribing varenicline for tobacco dependence treatment, the small absolute risk of cardiovascular events associated with varenicline treatment is outweighed by the enormous benefit for reducing cardiovascular morbidity and mortality that can be achieved with successful smoking abstinence."

"The risk for cardiovascular events is low and is far outweighed by the benefits of diminishing the truly "heartbreaking" effects of cigarette smoking," he concludes.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Canadian Medical Association Journal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal References:

  1. Sonal Singh, Yoon K. Loke, John G. Spangler, Curt D. Furberg. Risk of serious adverse cardiovascular events associated with varenicline: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 2011; DOI: 10.1503/cmaj.110218
  2. J. Taylor Hays. Varenicline for smoking cessation: Is it a heartbreaker? Canadian Medical Association Journal, 2011; DOI: 10.1503/cmaj.110804

Cite This Page:

Canadian Medical Association Journal. "Varenicline for smoking cessation linked to increased risk of serious harmful cardiac events, study finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 July 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110704123453.htm>.
Canadian Medical Association Journal. (2011, July 4). Varenicline for smoking cessation linked to increased risk of serious harmful cardiac events, study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110704123453.htm
Canadian Medical Association Journal. "Varenicline for smoking cessation linked to increased risk of serious harmful cardiac events, study finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110704123453.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Texas Quintuplets Head Home

Texas Quintuplets Head Home

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 1, 2014) After four months in the hospital, the first quintuplets to be born at Baylor University Medical Center head home. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Patient Coming to U.S. for Treatment

Ebola Patient Coming to U.S. for Treatment

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 1, 2014) A U.S. aid worker infected with Ebola while working in West Africa will be treated in a high security ward at Emory University in Atlanta. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Vaccine Might Be Coming, But Where's It Been?

Ebola Vaccine Might Be Coming, But Where's It Been?

Newsy (Aug. 1, 2014) Health officials are working to fast-track a vaccine — the West-African Ebola outbreak has killed more than 700. But why didn't we already have one? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Links Certain Birth Control Pills To Breast Cancer

Study Links Certain Birth Control Pills To Breast Cancer

Newsy (Aug. 1, 2014) Previous studies have made the link between birth control and breast cancer, but the latest makes the link to high-estrogen oral contraceptives. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins