(HealthDay News) – Use of varenicline or bupropion is not associated with an increased risk of self-harm or depression compared with nicotine replacement therapy, according to a study published online Oct. 11 in BMJ.

Kyla H. Thomas, MBBS, from the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom, and colleagues conducted a prospective cohort study involving 349 general practices in England and 119,546 adults who used a smoking cessation product to compare the risk of suicide, self-harm, and depression in those prescribed varenicline (26.2%) or bupropion (5.6%) with those prescribed nicotine replacement therapy (68.2%).

The researchers detected 92 cases of fatal and non-fatal self-harm (326.5 events per 100,000 person-years). Primary case reports showed 1,094 cases of treated depression (6,963.3 per 100,000 person-years). The risks of self-harm and depression were no higher for those prescribed varenicline (hazard ratio, 0.88 [95% confidence interval (CI), 0.52–1.49] and 0.75 [95% CI, 0.65–0.87], respectively) or bupropion (hazard ratio, 0.83 [95% CI, 0.3–2.31] and 0.63 [95% CI, 0.46–0.87], respectively) vs. those prescribed nicotine replacement therapy.

“These findings should be reassuring for users and prescribers of smoking cessation medicines,” the authors write.

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