Quit smoking drugs get safety thumbs up

Varenicline (Champix) and bupropion (Zyban) are not associated with serious adverse cardiovascular and neuropsychiatric events in smokers with COPD, according to a recent study (Thorax 2017; doi:10.1136/thoraxjnl-2017-210067).

Both drugs are effective smoking cessation treatments, but there have been concerns about their safety in smokers with COPD.

This retrospective cohort study used data from 14 350 patients with COPD included in the QResearch database, which holds data from 753 NHS general practices across England.

Patients who had received a prescription for either of the two drugs or nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) were followed up over a six-month period.

Neither bupropion nor varenicline showed an increased risk of adverse events compared with NRT. Varenicline was associated with a significantly reduced risk of heart failure (HR=0.56, 95% CI 0.34–0.92) and depression (HR=0.73, 95% CI 0.61–0.86). Interestingly, despite having an alternative role as an antidepressant, bupropion was not associated with a reduced risk of depression.

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