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Cardiovascular safety concerns over smoking-cessation drug misleading 

An extensive UCSF study questions previous study's analytic methods
Jump to full article: EurekAlert, 2012-05-03

Intro:

A popular smoking cessation medication has been under a cloud of suspicion ever since the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) published a study in July 2011 reporting "risk of serious adverse cardiovascular events associated with varenicline." Varenicline, also known as Chantix, blocks the pleasant effects of nicotine on the smoker's brain and lessens nicotine withdrawal symptoms.

UCSF researchers, however, question the way the previous study was conducted, and their new analysis, scheduled to be published May 4 in BMJ, reaches a very different conclusion.

"We found no clinically or statistically significant increase in serious adverse cardiovascular events associated with using varenicline," said lead author Judith J. Prochaska, PhD, MPH, an associate professor in UCSF's Department of Psychiatry and researcher with the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education. "The findings from 22 trials with more than 9,200 participants indicate a difference in risk of only 0.27 percent between those on varenicline versus placebo, or about a quarter of one percent."

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