Smokers with psychiatric disorders who used the drugs Chantix or Wellbutrin were no more likely to experience serious neuropsychiatric side effects than those who used nicotine patches or placebo.

Findings from the randomized, double-blind, multinational — and manufacturer-funded — EAGLES trial, which included more than 8,000 participants, were reported April 22 online in The Lancet.

No significant increase in psychiatric events was seen with varenicline or bupropion use, relative to nicotine patch or placebo use, and varenicline was found to be somewhat more effective for smoking cessation than the other interventions, researcher Robert Anthenelli, MD, of the University of California San Diego, and colleagues wrote.

Smokers in the study with psychiatric disorders were more likely than those without them to experience moderate to severe neuropsychiatric adverse events during the study, but the event rate was similar for all treatments, including placebo.

“This is the largest randomized, controlled trial to date comparing these smoking-cessation medications directly and comparing them with placebo,” Anthenelli told MedPage Today. “We are hoping that the recognition that these medications are safe for smokers with and without psychiatric disorders will encourage people to try and quit and feel comfortable that they can use any of the available medications.”

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