Anti-smoking drug increases heart attack risk

A new study has found that a smoking cessation drug prescribed in New Zealand is associated with an increased risk of heart attack.

The research, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, examined data from several randomised controlled trials and found that the use of varenicline (branded Champix in New Zealand) was associated with a higher incidence of adverse cardiovascular events.  Varenicline is prescribed as an medication to assist smokers in kicking their habit.

A commentary article published alongside the study has noted that the risks presented by smoking are far worse than those posed by varenicline.

The study has been covered by several major news organisations.

Media Coverage:

Dominion Post: Smoking drug raises danger of heart attacks

New Zealand Herald: New alert over drug to quit smoking

3 News: Quit-smoking drug linked to heart attacks

3 News (update): No ban on anti-smoking drug linked to heart attacks

TVNZ News: Benefits of anti-smoking drug ‘outweigh risks’

Radio New Zealand: Anti-smoking drug linked to heart problems, strokes