According to research published in Circulation, a journal of the American Heart Association, Nicotine replacement therapy did increase the risk of minor heart symptoms, such as a rapid or irregular heartbeat, but the authors note this usually occurs when patients are using nicotine replacement while still smoking, and that the symptoms typically pass with time.
Thus, the study found that the use of nicotine replacement gums or patches, the nicotine addiction treatment varenicline (Chantix), or the antidepressant bupropion (Wellbutrin) revealed no increased risk of heart attack, stroke, or heart-related death.
“Undoubtedly, the benefits of quitting smoking outweigh any potential risks from smoking cessation therapies,” said Edward J. Mills, PhD, MSc, study co-author and associate professor of medicine at Stanford University and Canada Research Chair at the University of Ottawa.
For the study, researchers reviewed data covering 63 clinical trials, totaling approximately 30,508 people. According to the team of who worked on the project, this is the largest analysis of side effects ever undertaken.