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New Study Another Blow for Chantix

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Another study links smoking cessation drug Chantix to heart problems. Smokers taking the drug may actually be at risk of developing the very thing they are trying to prevent, reported CBSNews.com.

Researchers reviewed fourteen studies involving more than 8,000 participants. The results revealed a 72 percent increased risk of heart problems in patients taking Chantix. An editor of the study noted that “cardiovascular problems, including chest pain, heart attack and stroke, are still rare occurring in only about one percent of patients taking Chantix.” However, the new study also found that Chantix patients without signs of heart problems may face the highest risk.

“It’s causing the problem that we need to prevent among smokers. We need to prevent cardiac disease among smokers, not increase it,” said Dr. Sonal Singh of Johns Hopkins University, who led the research.

Last month, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) agency released a warning that the smoking cessation drug may cause a small increased risk of heart problems in patients with cardiovascular disease. The FDA’s action was prompted by its review of another study of 700 smokers with cardiovascular disease taking Chantix or a placebo, which showed infrequent events of heart attack in those using Chantix versus patients taking the placebo.

Researchers found the drug helped patients quit smoking for more than a year, but results revealed a small but “statistically significant” increased risk of chest pain, non-fatal heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems patients using Chantix.

Pfizer responded to the most recent study results saying, “To date we have not seen evidence of important risks to heart health from Chantix,” said Dr. Gail Cawkwell, the company’s vice-president of medical affairs.

Healthcare professionals must weigh the risk-benefits of Chantix when prescribing the medication to patients with cardiovascular disease.

The FDA is performing an on-going review of the drug and are requiring Pfizer to analyze other randomized, placebo-controlled trials so the FDA can include the company’s findings in any future reports.

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