Quit-smoking drug safe for lung disease patients

May 10, 2017, University of Edinburgh

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

Creation of synthetic horsepox virus could lead to more effective smallpox vaccine

January 19, 2018
UAlberta researchers created a new synthetic virus that could lead to the development of a more effective vaccine against smallpox. The discovery demonstrates how techniques based on the use of synthetic DNA can be used to ...

Study ends debate over role of steroids in treating septic shock

January 19, 2018
The results from the largest ever study of septic shock could improve treatment for critically ill patients and save health systems worldwide hundreds of millions of dollars each year.

New approach could help curtail hospitalizations due to influenza infection

January 18, 2018
More than 700,000 Americans were hospitalized due to illnesses associated with the seasonal flu during the 2014-15 flu season, according to federal estimates. A radical new approach to vaccine development at UCLA may help ...

Zika virus damages placenta, which may explain malformed babies

January 18, 2018
Though the Zika virus is widely known for a recent outbreak that caused children to be born with microencephaly, or having a small head, and other malformations, scientists have struggled to explain how the virus affects ...

Certain flu virus mutations may compensate for fitness costs of other mutations

January 18, 2018
Seasonal flu viruses continually undergo mutations that help them evade the human immune system, but some of these mutations can reduce a virus's potency. According to new research published in PLOS Pathogens, certain mutations ...

Study reveals how MRSA infection compromises lymphatic function

January 17, 2018
Infections of the skin or other soft tissues with the hard-to-treat MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) bacteria appear to permanently compromise the lymphatic system, which is crucial to immune system function. ...

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.