A new study finds that the smoking cessation drug varenicline (Chantix) increases the risk of a heart attack or stroke for smokers without a history of heart disease, compared with smokers who do not use the drug.
The New York Times reports that the drug has previously been linked to an increased risk of heart problems in people who already have a history of heart disease. The drug also has been linked to an increased risk of psychiatric problems. The study, an analysis of 14 studies involving 8,200 patients, was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. An author of the new study, Dr. Curt D. Furberg of Wake Forest University, said the drug should be removed from the market.
The company that makes varenicline, Pfizer, issued a statement that said it had concerns about the reliability of the study.
Last month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a safety notice about cardiovascular risk from varenicline when used by people who have a history of cardiovascular disease.