HealthDay News – For adults without a recent history of depression, use of varenicline for smoking cessation does not appear to be associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular (CV) or neuropsychiatric hospitalizations when compared with nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), according to a study published online February 19 in Addiction.

Greg Carney, PhD, from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, and colleagues conducted a retrospective new-user cohort study to examine the relative CV and neuropsychiatric safety for varenicline and bupropion compared with NRT among adults without a recent history of depression. Three study cohorts of new users were included, with a total of 618,497 adults (32,237 NRT users, 454,698 varenicline users, and 131,562 bupropion users).

The researchers found that both varenicline and bupropion were associated with reduced 1-year CV risk (adjusted relative risks, 0.80 and 0.75, respectively) compared with NRT. The risk for 1-year neuropsychiatric hospitalization was lower for varenicline vs NRT and higher for bupropion vs NRT (adjusted relative risks, 0.65 and 1.21, respectively).

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“Given the comorbidities associated with smoking, varenicline should continue to be considered a treatment option for smoking cessation,” the authors write. “These results also provide further support for the US Food and Drug Administration’s decision to remove the varenicline Boxed Warning for neuropsychiatric adverse events.”

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