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 A new analysis of smokers using different aids to help them quit found the use of varenicline (Chantix/Champix, Pfizer) did not result in any significant neuropsychiatric or cardiovascular risks compared with nicotine-replacement therapy. In fact, compared with nicotine-replacement therapy, the use of varenicline was associated with a 20% lower risk of ischemic heart disease and a significant 34% lower risk of depression and a 44% lower risk of self-harm.The researchers report the use of varenicline was also associated with significantly lower risks of cerebral infarction, heart failure, and developing an arrhythmia.

The results of the retrospective cohort study are published in the Lancet: Respiratory Medicine.

In this latest analysis  the investigators  identified 51,450 patients who received a prescription for varenicline, 106,759 for nicotine-replacement therapy, and 6557 for bupropion, another agent that is used to help people quit smoking. Nicotine-replacement therapy was used as the reference group, as it is presumed by regulatory agencies not to carry any risks.  A follow-up period of 6 months was chosen.