DETROIT (WWJ) – Chantix is the most popular anti-smoking drug on the market, but as WWJ’s Rob Sanford reports, it’s now being linked to a risk of heart disease.
Chantix rings up annual sales of $800 million and is currently used by seven million Americans in hopes of quitting smoking.
Now, several medical sources are saying it could be linked to a 72 percent higher chance of heart disease, especially for middle age users.
Pfizer manufactures the medication, and spokeswoman Dr. Gail Cawkwell disagrees with the findings.
“The cardiovascular events were infrequent. There were a small number of events in that they were similar in the two treatment groups,” Cawkwell said.
However, most patients currently on the medication agree the treatment works better than cold turkey and nicotine replacement therapy.
According to their website, Chantix does not contain nicotine. It targets nicotine receptors in the brain, attaches to them, and blocks nicotine from reaching them. It is believed that Chantix also activates these receptors, causing a reduced release of dopamine compared to nicotine.
On average it is estimated that smoking robs people of about 10 years of life.