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Study: Smoking Cessation Drugs Do Not Raise Risk of Heart Attack or Stroke

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A new analysis of previous studies involving more than 30,500 smokers concludes smoking cessation therapies do not increase the risk of heart attack or stroke. The study included nicotine patches and gums, as well as the medications bupropion and varenicline.

Previous research has suggested some smoking cessation medications may increase cardiovascular risks, according to CNN. Using effective smoking cessation treatments can almost double or triple a person’s chance of quitting smoking, the article notes.

The new study, published in Circulation, analyzed 63 clinical trials of smoking cessation treatments. Unlike previous studies, this analysis compared gum, patches and drugs. The analysis found smokers taking bupropion (Zyban, Wellbutrin) and varenicline (Chantix) had the lowest risk of a serious heart event. The study also found Wellbutrin protected against serious heart events.

Smokers using nicotine replacement therapy, such as gum or patches, had a slightly increased risk of minor side effects, such as a rapid or irregular heartbeat.

In 2011, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said Chantix may be associated with a small increased risk of certain heart problems in patients with heart disease. In 2009, the FDA required the makers of Wellbutrin, Zyban and Chantix to include black box labeling because of side effects such as behavior changes, depression, hostility and suicidal thoughts.

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