Smoking Cessation Drug Linked to Heart Problems
The drug in Chantix and other smoking cessation products, varenicline, may increase the risk for cardiovascular events like heart attack, stroke, arrhythmias, unstable angina, and peripheral vascular disease, according to results of an observational study published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.
Researchers in Canada analyzed the medical records of 56,851 new users of varenicline living in Ontario between 2011 and 2015. During the study period, 4,185 people experienced one or more cardiovascular events resulting in an emergency room visit and/or hospitalization. According to the researchers, in those taking varenicline, cardiovascular event risk was 34 percent higher than average in those with a prior history of such events and 12 percent higher in those without a prior history.
If you smoke, the most important thing you can do to improve your health is to quit, and research suggests varenicline can triple your odds of quitting. When smokers and their doctors consider the potential risks associated with varenicline, they should also take into account the long-term benefits of quitting smoking.