(HealthDay News) – Three licensed smoking cessation therapies – nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), bupropion, and varenicline – seem not to be associated with an increased risk of serious cardiovascular disease events, according to a meta-analysis published online Dec. 9 in Circulation.

Edward J. Mills, PhD, from Stanford University in California, and colleagues conducted a meta-analysis to examine whether three licensed smoking cessation therapies (NRT, bupropion, and varenicline) are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease events. Data were included for 63 randomized controlled trials (RCTs), with 21 NRT RCTs, 28 bupropion RCTs, and 18 varenicline RCTs, which reported on cardiovascular disease outcomes.

The researchers observed no significant increase in the risk of all-cardiovascular events with bupropion (relative risk [RR], 0.98; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.54–1.73) or varenicline (RR, 1.3; 95% CI, 0.79–2.23). An increased risk was seen in association with NRT use (RR, 2.29; 95% CI, 1.39–3.82), which was predominantly driven by less serious events. Bupropion was associated with a protective effect with respect to major adverse cardiovascular events (RR, 0.45; 95% CI, 0.21–0.85), while no clear evidence of harm was seen with varenicline (RR, 1.34; 95% CI, 0.66–2.66) or NRT (RR, 1.95; 95% CI, 0.26–4.3).

“Smoking cessation therapies do not appear to raise the risk of serious CVD events,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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