Varenicline, a drug used for smoking cessation,
does not significantly increase the risk of cardiovascular disease as compared
to bupropion, according to a recent publication in the British Medical Journal.
With hectic lifestyles and an increase in stress
levels, there has been a substantial rise in the number of people addicted to
alcohol or nicotine. With this increase, there has also been a rise in the
number of studies and researches conducted on various different ways to combat
these addictions. Smoking has been credited the number one fatal health
condition that is preventable.
Varenicline and bupropion, two widely used
drugs, both efficient in managing nicotine addiction, have now made up as a
treatment for around 67% of people addicted to smoking. Varenicline, however,
was found to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease in some studies.
However, most of the studies were based on limited data or showed insignificant
A historical prospective cohort study was
conducted in Denmark among patients undergoing treatment for smoking cessation
with varenicline from 2007-2010; the cardiovascular risk was compared to the
risk in those patients prescribed bupropion for the same purpose. The
researchers studied the occurrence of both primary cardiovascular ailments like
myocardial infarction, ischemic stroke and unstable angina, and secondary
outcomes like coronary revascularization and heart failure
The study confirmed that the use of varenicline
as compared to bupropion is not associated with an increased risk of serious
cardiovascular events, even after 6 months of the start of treatment. Further
studies are necessary to establish the cardiovascular safety of varenicline.
Use of varenicline for smoking cessation and
risk of serious cardiovascular events: nationwide cohort study; Henrik
Svanstrom et al; BMJ 2012