Drug that helps people quit smoking ups cardiovascular event risk

A study, published in American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, examined the link between the use of varenicline, a smoking cessation drug, and the risk of cardiovascular or neuropsychiatric events.

Researchers conducted a population-based, self-controlled risk interval study. They used linked universal health administrative data from a diverse population in Ontario, Canada. They performed two separate analyses of data from new varenicline users between Sept. 1, 2011, and Feb. 15, 2014, one year before to one year after receiving varenicline.

The study shows that among 56,851 new varenicline users, 6,317 cardiovascular and 10,041 neuropsychiatric hospitalizations and emergency department visits occurred from one year before to one year receiving varenicline.

The incidence of cardiovascular events was 34 percent higher in the 12 weeks following varenicline receipt (the risk interval) compared with the remaining observation period. The relative incidence of neuropsychiatric events was marginally significant in the primary analysis, but not all sensitivity analyses.

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