Quit-smoking drug safe for lung disease patients

May 10, 2017

Medication that helps smokers to quit is safe for use by people with chronic lung conditions, research suggests.

Experts say smokers with smoking-related diseases should be prescribed the drug to stop their illness from progressing.

Unwarranted concerns

Doctors have previously been reticent to give the drug to these patients because of reported links to heart disease and depression.

Researchers say they found no evidence of such a link and that concerns are unwarranted.

Effective medication

Varenicline is the most effective medication to help smokers quit, but previous reports have suggested that users may be more likely to suffer a heart attack.

The drug – also known as Champix or Chantix – has also been linked to depression, self-harm and suicide.

No heart risk

A study of more than 14,000 people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, or COPD, found that those using the drug were no more likely to suffer a than those using nicotine replacement therapies.

Treatment did not affect their risk of depression or self-harm either, researchers say.

"Varenicline is a highly effective anti-smoking so it is reassuring that our findings have confirmed that it is safe for use in patients with COPD," says Professor Aziz Sheikh.

Lung disease

COPD is a group of lung conditions that are usually associated with tobacco smoking, including emphysema and .

The diseases are caused by damage to the lungs that results in severe breathing difficulties and a persistent cough.

"COPD is irreversible and worsens with time. The only proven way to stop the illness from progressing is to quit ," says Professor Daniel Kotz.

More than a million people in the UK are affected by COPD and cases are rising. The costs of treating the condition are expected to top £2.5 billion by 2030.

Explore further: Quit-smoking drug not linked to heart disease or depression

More information: Daniel Kotz et al. Cardiovascular and neuropsychiatric risks of varenicline and bupropion in smokers with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Thorax (2017). DOI: 10.1136/thoraxjnl-2017-210067

Related Stories

Quit-smoking drug not linked to heart disease or depression

September 6, 2015
A highly effective drug that helps smokers to quit does not increase their risk of heart attack and depression as was previously thought, research suggests.

Uncovering genetic links to the development of pulmonary disease

March 6, 2017
Building on EU-funded research, scientists have identified genetic traits that heighten the risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

E-cigarettes popular among smokers with existing illnesses

February 21, 2017
In the U.S. more than 16 million people with smoking-related illnesses continue to use cigarettes. According to a new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, current and former smokers who suffer from disease ...

Few get Rx to help quit smoking after COPD hospitalization

December 22, 2015
(HealthDay)—A minority of patients discharged with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) receive pharmacologic treatment for tobacco use, and treatment is not associated with smoking cessation, according to a study ...

Medicaid policies that help smokers quit also save on health care costs

October 27, 2016
Medicaid policies that require patients to go for tobacco-cessation counseling before they get a nicotine patch or some other type of anti-smoking drug actually lead to a reduction in the use of such medication, according ...

If smoker has COPD, quitting might not help lung function

July 27, 2016
Quitting cigarettes may not improve smokers' lung function if they have already begun to develop chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, according to new research from Weill Cornell Medicine. The findings illustrate how cigarettes ...

Recommended for you

Anti-malaria drug shows promise as Zika virus treatment

November 17, 2017
A new collaborative study led by researchers at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP) and UC San Diego School of Medicine has found that a medication used to prevent and treat malaria may also be effective ...

Decrease in sunshine, increase in Rickets

November 17, 2017
A University of Toronto student and professor have teamed up to discover that Britain's increasing cloudiness during the summer could be an important reason for the mysterious increase in Rickets among British children over ...

Scientists identify biomarkers that indicate likelihood of survival in infected patients

November 17, 2017
Scientists have identified a set of biomarkers that indicate which patients infected with the Ebola virus are most at risk of dying from the disease.

Research team unlocks secrets of Ebola

November 16, 2017
In a comprehensive and complex molecular study of blood samples from Ebola patients in Sierra Leone, published today (Nov. 16, 2017) in Cell Host and Microbe, a scientific team led by the University of Wisconsin-Madison has ...

Study raises possibility of naturally acquired immunity against Zika virus

November 16, 2017
Birth defects in babies born infected with Zika virus remain a major health concern. Now, scientists suggest the possibility that some women in high-risk Zika regions may already be protected and not know it.

A structural clue to attacking malaria's 'Achilles heel'

November 16, 2017
Researchers from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) and PATH's Malaria Vaccine Initiative (MVI) have shed light on how the human immune system recognizes the malaria parasite though investigation of antibodies generated ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

lydiawhaley126
not rated yet May 11, 2017
I have had bouts of bronchitis for about 10 months out of the year for the last 2 years. I've been given z pack antibiotics, steroids which are ineffective and occasionally the prescription cough syrup which works for a 2-3 hours at a time. I am desperate for relief. I am on my third doctor in 6 months and he is treating me with the same drugs. So far no improvement. So far the bronchitis has caused scarring in my lungs, laryngitis, pulled muscles, and a fractured rib.I was desperate for help to help me feel better. i was introduced to Health herbal clinic in Johannesburg who have successful herbal treatment to bronchitis . I spoke to few people who used the treatment here in USA and they all gave a positive response, so i immediately purchased the bronchitis herbal formula and commenced usage, i used the herbal supplement for only 7 weeks, all symptoms gradually faded away, herbs are truly gift from God. contact this herbal clinic via their email healthherbalclinic @ gmail. com

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.