Smokers, now you can kick the cigarette habit sans worrying as a new study has revealed that a highly effective ‘anti-smoking’ drug doesn’t increase the risks of heart attack and depression as previously thought.
The University of Edinburgh researchers say doctors can prescribe varenicline, also known as Champix or ChantixTM, more widely to help people stop smoking.
Varenicline is the most effective medication to help smokers quit but previous reports have suggested that users may be more likely to suffer a heart attack.
The drug has also been linked to depression, self-harm and suicide.
This latest research, which has for the first time simultaneously studied these potential side effects, supports recent studies that failed to find any evidence that varenicline has a negative effect on mental health. It also shows that taking the drug does not raise a person’s risk of heart disease.
Researchers found that people taking either varenicline or buproprion were no more likely to suffer a heart attack than those using nicotine replacement therapy.
People were also not at higher risk of depression or self-harm, researchers say.
Daniel Kotz, from the Medical Faculty of the Heinrich-Heine-University Dusseldorf, said that smokers typically lose three months of life expectancy for every year of continued smoking, adding that the research supports the use of varenicline as an effective and safe tool to help people quit.
The study is published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine.