Study links anti-smoking drug to heart disease

14:34, July 05, 2011      

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A new study found that Pfizer's anti-smoking drug Chantix linked to higher risk of heart disease, according to media reports Tuesday.

The study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal linked the pill to a 72 percent increase in the risk of heart problems.

"We have known for many years that Chantix is one of the most harmful prescription drugs on the US market, based on the number of serious adverse effects reported to the FDA" (US Food and Drug Administration), said study lead investigator Curt Furberg of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

The finding added to previous warnings about the pill’s connection to psychiatric problems.

"It causes loss of consciousness, visual disturbances, suicides, violence, depression and worsening of diabetes," Furberg said in a statement. "To this list we now can add serious cardiovascular events."

The new study analyzed 14 randomized clinical trials involving 8,200 patients, excluding those with cardiovascular disease.

It found 52 out of 4,908 people taking Chantix had serious cardiovascular events, a rate of 1.06 percent, compared with 27 out of 3,308 people taking a placebo, a rate of 0.82 percent. While the absolute difference is only 0.24 percent, the weighted, relative difference is 72 percent.

Pfizer responded that the analysis in the Canadian Medical Association Journal was based on too few heart or cardiovascular events to draw conclusions about the risks.

Officials of Pfizer and the Food and Drug Administration said that they had been planning next year to conduct a joint analysis of clinical trials on whether Chantix posed heart risks.

The drug is sold in nearly 90 countries and used by seven million Americans.

Source: Xinhua
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