A recent study that has been published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal has shown that the popular stop smoking medication, Champix, may be linked to increased risk of heart disease and other cardiovascular problems. This new study, whose fingdings were released on Monday, shows that the people who have varenicline are more likely to experience “serious adverse cardiovascular events”. These events can include heart attack, stroke, and an erratic heart beat.
An assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University says, “If youâ€™re a smoker and youâ€™re thinking of quitting, there are cheaper and safer ways to quit smoking.”
In a world that is trying to stamp out smoking in many public places, this discovery comes quite hard to a lot of smokers working towards quitting. Champix, or Chantix in the U.S., is the brand name for the drug varenicline. This drug helps to reduce the cravings for nicotine and especially with the withdrawals. It has been heralded as a miracle drug, but since has shown that it is quite the opposite.
In twelve different studies, researchers have shown that those who try to quit using the medication Champix were taken to the emergency room with heart problems at two times the rate of people using other medications. While this is a fearful problem, the real fear comes in the fact that many of the people admitted with heart problems had no prior history of cardiovascular problems or disease.
The study was a collaboration of UK scientists, Canadian scientists, and funded by the manufacturer Pfizer. Out of the study, 52 of the 4,908 people who took the medication suffered cardiac problems, while only 27 of 3,308 who took the dummy pill showed any signs.
Heart problems are not the only side effect that has been linked to the prescription-only drug. There have also been links to insomnia, psychiatric episodes, and suicides.
While Pfizer did fund the research they are also challenging the results. In a recent statement, the drug manufacturer says that 1.06 per cent those on Champix had problems, compared with 0.82 per cent of those on the placebo. The also added that drug regulators in the European countries also have the same data, but show no elevated concern.
Smoking has become a serious health issue as more and more people continue to pick up the habit. This is either from their parents, or they get started as a young teenager. Once they are hooked to the nicotine in the cigarettes it is hard to kick the habit. With Champix the odds are in their favor that they can get over their addiction. In fact, Doireann Maddock, of the British Heart Foundation, said that anyone who quits smoking is doing the single most important thing that they can do to improve their heart health.
[box type=”important”]The went on to also say that anyone who is currently using Champix as their stop smoking medication should not immediately discontinue its use. However, they should consult their General Practitioner to see if any damage is being done to their heart.[/box]