Varenicline raises risk of heart problems, analysis indicates

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: (Published 13 July 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d4428
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. 1London

Smokers who use the smoking cessation drug varenicline (marketed in the United Kingdom as Champix) are at increased risk of heart problems, a new meta-analysis has concluded.

A team led by Sonal Singh of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore and Yoon Loke of the University of East Anglia combined results from 14 trials to reach its conclusion, published in the journal of the Canadian Medical Association, CMAJ (doi:10.1503/cmaj.110218). Pfizer, which manufactures varenicline, questioned the conclusion, which it said was based on a very small number of events.

A single trial (Circulation 2010;121:221-9, doi:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.109.869008) accounted for more than half the …

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