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Studies Suggest Link between Chantix and Heart Problems

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Houston, TXPatients looking to quit smoking might be concerned about recent studies that suggest a link between Chantix and heart problems. Although there was prior concern about a link between Chantix and suicidal thoughts and actions, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has now issued a warning about Chantix heart problems. Concerns about Chantix heart issues led one researcher to warn that physicians should carefully weigh the risks of Chantix against the potential benefits.

In June 2011, the FDA issued a warning about the potential for serious adverse heart events in patients who use Chantix. The FDA noted at the time that a study of 700 smokers with cardiovascular disease who were given either Chantix or a placebo suggested a small but increased risk of cardiovascular adverse events.

"Cardiovascular events were infrequent overall, however, certain events, including heart attack, were reported more frequently in patients treated with Chantix than in patients treated with placebo," the FDA wrote. Information about the increased risk will be added to the Warnings and Precautions section of Chantix physician labeling and a warning will also be added to the medication guide.

Meanwhile, a study, published on July 4 by CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal), found an increased risk of heart problems in patients who used Chantix, seemingly confirming the FDA's concerns. The study differed from the FDA, however, because it found the risk of heart problems increased in all patients who used Chantix, not just those with a prior history of heart problems.

According to the study, 1.06 percent of patients who took Chantix suffered a serious cardiovascular event. That is compared with 0.82 percent of those taking a placebo. Although the actual percentage is small, the difference between the two groups is great enough to cause concern.

Researchers concluded that the study "raises safety concerns about the potential for an increased risk of serious adverse cardiovascular events associated with the use of varenicline [the generic form of Chantix] among tobacco users." They further noted that the initial safety information concerning potential heart problems linked to the use of Chantix was not adequately followed up with safety trials. This led them to conclude that until proper safety trials are conducted, physicians should weigh the risks of cardiovascular events and neuropsychiatric adverse events against the benefits of Chantix.

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READER COMMENTS

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First let it be understood that no one goes to the trouble and expense to GET this script...w/high hopes of having horrendous side effects. I took this drug back/back two scripts in '07 in good faith. My doctor whom I totally respected ASSURED me this is the greatest...my pharmacist ASSURED me her husband, whom she NEVER thought would quit smoking, DID w/this miracle drug!! And, the fact that it was FDA approved convinced me (and many others)...it was a "no brainer."

Really?? All these people have my back?? They CARE how this drug affects me??!! Of COURSE!!...THAT'S what they DO!!! And, if in fact, I DO happen to have a bad reaction, my doctor whom I'm supposed to stay close to and call ANYtime I feel the need...will be RIGHT THERE!! Really?? And, if THAT doesn't convince me I'm covered, FDA gave the green light and certainly THEY know what they're doing...and to REALLY make me feel safe...they've put PAGES of warnings/possible side effects in a BLACK BOX, ENHANCED in BOLD letters!

What the...?? How could anything go wrong?!! Well, AS PROMISED Chantix DOES hit the smoking receptors and makes smoking a chore...but it DOESN'T STOP THERE!!!!! And, THIS is a problem!!!! Once in your system, this poison snakes it's way thru the smoking receptors and travels on to OTHER parts of your brain and digs its heels in..wherever it sees fit. Who knew a little, blue pill, could distort thoughts...feelings...dreams...and literally put you in a different place?!! Not ME, THAT'S FOR SURE...but, it CAN...and for some, it DOES....

Two, long hospital stays in '08 convinced me NO ONE cares what happens to me once they've made their sale and THIS IS BIG MONEY...I can understand how they'd want to KEEP it on the market...but, until the kinks get worked out...if they even can...please...PLEASE...remove this drug and save others from the physical pain and mental anguish this drug can cause. And, it CAN!!

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