A Cigarette or a Chantix pill?

Author: Elio F. Gagliano, MD
Article Published: 2011/07/17

According to a brain washing message, smoking is associated with an increased risk of heart disease. How come, then, that there is a crescendo (of only 72%!...) of cardiovascular disease in smokers  without previous heart disease, who stopped smoking and are on Chantix, that is, the drug (varenicline) for smoking-cessation? Just for the reason that they had stopped smoking, they should have had a reduction in risk. And instead…

That is what comes out from a meta-analysis, published by the Canadian Medical Association Journal on July 4, 2011, following a warning from the
FDA about the use of varenicline.

The meta-analysis was conducted by the Drs Sonal Singh, from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, and Curt Furberg, form the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, Winston-Salem, NC.

Dr. Furberg said:  “It causes loss of consciousness, visual disturbances, suicides, violence, depression and worsening of diabetes. To this list we now can add serious cardiovascular events”. He also said that the benefit of varenicline is very modest and it is associated with very real and scary side effects, and "for every 10 people who take it, 9 have relapsed after a year. And we don't know what happens to the 10th person after a year. So the efficacy is weak. And the adverse events are piling up."

The FDA warning and the above meta-analysis follow a study by
Rigotti et al. on the safety of that drug for smoking cessation in patients with cardiovascular disease.

I suppose that ASH will say that Furberg and Singh were paid by Big Tobacco.
And the FDA too?

P.S. According to the New York Times of July 4, 2011, the meta-analysis aforesaid  "posed a new challenge to a product that has been prescribed to 13 million people and had $755 million in sales last year".

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