Smoking cessation drug 'does not raise risk of heart disease, depression
While previous research has linked the smoking cessation drug varenicline to increased risk of depression and heart disease, a new study has found no such association
Varenicline (brand name Chantix) is a drug that was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2006 to help people quit smoking.
The drug works by stopping nicotine from binding to nicotine receptors in the brain, reducing the release of dopamine - a neurotransmitter that regulates the brain's reward and pleasure centers. The reduction in dopamine levels is believed to reduce nicotine cravings.
Previously, studies have associated varenicline with poorer heart health and increased risk of mental health problems. In 2007, for example, Medical News Today reported on a safety warning issued by the FDA claiming the drug may lead to suicidal thoughts, while a more recent study associated varenicline with greater risk of severe cardiovascular events, such as heart attack and congestive heart failure.