Diabetes, Heart, and Cardiovascular Diseases News Chronicle.
Article 315   Published on March 29, 2018

Varenicline (Chantix), A Common Anti-Smoking Drug May Increase The Risk Of Cardiovascular Disease


Varenicline (brand name Chantix) is an anti-smoking drug (or smoking-cessation drug) which helps the smokers to quit the smoking habit. Earlier studies on the safety of Varenicline use are conflicting and they were conducted under the highly controlled settings in individuals with similar features and backgrounds. An earlier study conducted under the highly controlled settings shows that the use of Varenicline drug can cause a triple risk of cardiovascular diseases.

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Heart attack, stroke, irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias), angina with Varenicline Chantix anti-smoking drug.

The risk of cardiovascular diseases can increase when the cells of the heart muscle do not receive sufficient oxygen-rich blood. Cardiovascular disease is caused due to the narrowing of the arteries (atherosclerosis disease) connected to the heart. The important cardiovascular diseases associated with the insufficient blood supply to heart are.

The current study was an observational, population-based and controlled analytical study. The study shows an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases with the use of Varenicline (brand name Chantix), an anti-smoking drug.

The current study has been conducted on different people. They analyzed the health records of 56,851 individuals taking Varenicline drug between 2011 and 2015 in Ontario, Canada. They focused more on the health of those individuals who used Varenicline drug for 3 months (12 weeks) in a year before and a year after. The analytical study shows the following.

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  • An emergency room (ER) visit or hospitalization with the heart problem in 4,185 individuals during the study period.
  • The study shows 3.95 cardiovascular events per 1,000 individuals due to Varenicline drug use. This translates into 34 percent of enhanced risk to an emergency room (ER) visit or hospitalization.
  • Among individuals with no heart problems before taking to Varenicline drug use, Varenicline drug use has increased cardiovascular disease by just 12 percent.

Researchers say that this study is not suggesting to use Varenicline drug to quit smoking. An individual should consider the risk of potential cardiovascular diseases and the likely benefits to the heart health with the Varenicline drug use. Researchers also say that a healthcare professional should monitor the health of a patient using Varenicline drug for an early detection of potential heart diseases.

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But this study is not showing a cause and effect relationship and this study was not intended to find out the mechanism behind the development of cardiovascular diseases with the use of Varenicline drug (anti-smoking).

The lead author of the study was Dr. Andrea S. Gershon, MD, a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Canada (FRCPC) and an associate professor of medicine, University of Toronto, Canada. The study was published December 20, 2017, in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. Title of the article was "Cardiovascular and Neuropsychiatric Events Following Varenicline Use for Smoking Cessation."
DOI: dx.doi.org/10.1164/rccm.201706-1204OC

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