Anti-Smoking Drugs Don’t Risk Mental Health: Study – WebMD

6 months ago Comments Off on Anti-Smoking Drugs Don’t Risk Mental Health: Study – WebMD

Anti-Smoking Drugs Don’t Risk Mental Health: Study

By Robert Preidt

HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, April 22, 2016 (HealthDay News) — The anti-smoking drugs Chantix (varenicline) and Wellbutrin (bupropion) don’t appear to raise the risk of serious mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts, a new study suggests.

“Clinical guidelines recommend that the most effective way to give up smoking is smoking cessation medication and counseling. However, smokers do not use these services enough, in part due to concerns that the medications may not be safe,” said lead author Dr. Robert Anthenelli, professor of psychiatry at University of California, San Diego.

The new study, published April 22 in The Lancet, should help ease those concerns for patients, the researchers said.

The study was requested by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration due to concerns about the safety of the drugs used to help people quit smoking. Funding was provided by drug makers Pfizer (which makes Chantix) and GlaxoSmithKline (maker of Wellbutrin).

The research included more than 8,000 people between the ages of 18 and 75. They smoked an average of more than 10 cigarettes a day and wanted to quit smoking. Half had a previous or current psychiatric condition, such as a mood, anxiety, psychotic or borderline personality disorder, while about half of those participants were taking medications for their conditions.

The participants were randomly assigned to one of four possible groups: to take either Chantix or Wellbutrin, to use nicotine patches or to take a placebo.

They were assessed for moderate-to-severe mental health problems such as agitation, aggression, panic, anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts during up to three months of treatment and at follow-up (up to six months).

Among those with no psychiatric disorders, there was no significant increase in the incidence of mental health problems in the four groups. While more mental health problems occurred among participants with psychiatric disorders, the rates were similar for all four groups, the study found.

The researchers also examined quit rates and found that varenicline was the most effective. At follow-up, overall quit rates were: 22 percent, Chantix; 16 percent, Wellbutrin; 16 percent, nicotine patches; and 9 percent, placebo.

Anti-Smoking Drugs Don’t Risk Mental Health: Study – WebMD