Getting smokers to quit smoking sometimes requires medical intervention, such as varenicline and bupropion; however, there have been concerns about the safety of these smoking cessation treatments in smokers with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Getting smokers to quit smoking sometimes requires medical intervention, such as varenicline and bupropion; however, there have been concerns about the safety of these smoking cessation treatments in smokers with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
A new study published in Thorax analyzed data on 14,350 patients with COPD, including 10,426 who had received a prescription of nicotine replacement therapy, 350 who had a prescription for bupropion, and 3574 on varenicline.
"COPD is irreversible and worsens with time,” Professor Daniel Kotz of the Institute of General Practice of the Heinrich-Heine-University Dusseldorf, said in a statement. “The only proven way to stop the illness from progressing is to quit tobacco smoking."
The drug varenicline, also known as Chantix, has been linked to depression, self-harm, and suicide; however, it has been the most effective medication to help smokers quit. The researchers found that neither bupropion nor varenicline had an increased risk of adverse events. Patients had been followed for 6 months to compare incidence of cardiovascular, such as stroke, heart failure, and cardiac arrhythmia, and neuropsychiatric events, such as depression and self-harm.
In fact, the authors reported that varenicline was associated with a reduced risk of heart failure and depression for these patients compared with the control group (patients with COPD who received nicotine replacement therapy).
"Varenicline is a highly effective anti-smoking drug so it is reassuring that our findings have confirmed that it is safe for use in patients with COPD,” said Professor Aziz Sheikh, co-director of the University of Edinburgh's Centre for Medical Informatics.