Further studies confirm the safety of Champix
Two large recent research studies have clearly established that Champix does not cause mental health problems.
Champix is the most effective stop-smoking medication. After it became available in 2008, there were some reports of users experiencing anxiety, depression, changes in behaviour or suicide thoughts and attempts. The question was whether Champix actually caused those changes or if they were due to stopping smoking or some other explanation.
A study by Professor John Hughes from the University of Vermont looked at the link between Champix and suicide. Professor Hughes analysed all existing research on Champix, including randomised controlled trials and large population studies of up to 120,000 people. His conclusion from this comprehensive review was ‘there is consistent evidence that varenicline (Champix) either does not cause increased suicide outcomes, or if it does, the effect is very small’.
Another study by Dr Kayla Thomas from the University of Bristol examined the results of all the past randomised controlled trials of Champix, 39 trials in total. This analysis found that there was ‘no evidence of an increased risk of suicide or attempted suicide, suicidal thinking, depression or death’ from Champix, compared to using other treatments or no treatment at all.
These results are very reassuring and confirm the findings from previous reviews. Additionally, quitting smoking has been shown to have a positive impact on mental health, reducing depression and anxiety compared with those who continue to smoke.
It is now clear that the benefits of using Champix to quit smoking far outweigh the risks (if any). This is true for all smokers, including those with mental illness.
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