Intended for healthcare professionals

Letters Varenicline’s adverse events

Choice of summary statistics: relative and absolute measures

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: (Published 26 February 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f1092
  1. Judith J Prochaska, associate professor1,
  2. Joan F Hilton, professor2
  1. 1Department of Psychiatry and Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94143-0984, USA
  2. 2Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of California, San Francisco, CA, USA
  1. JProchaska{at}

Our 2012 meta-analysis of cardiovascular related serious adverse events associated with varenicline use has had more than 12 000 online full text viewings.1 In this article we drew attention to an earlier widely publicised meta-analysis,2 which differed from ours in its outcome definition and choice of summary statistic. We restricted outcomes to treatment emergent adverse events in active and placebo arms, whereas the earlier study allowed differential outcome follow-up by arm,2 which extended beyond the …

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