Patients prescribed either bupropion (Zyban) or varenicline (Chantix), are no more likely to get depressed, commit suicide or harm themselves than those prescribed nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), according to new research published in the British Medical Journal. Varenicline and bupropion work by helping to reduce nicotine cravings and withdrawal symptoms; bupropion is also sometimes used to treat depressive illnesses.

For the large-scale study, investigators analyzed data from the medical records of 119,546 adults who had used a smoking cessation product. By incorporating data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) mortality data and Hospital Episode Statistics (HES), the team assessed the rate of treated depression, self-harm and suicide in patients prescribed varenicline or bupropion, comparing the rates to those using nicotine replacement therapies.

Their efforts found no clear evidence of an increased risk of treated depression or suicidal behavior for patients prescribed with varenicline or bupropion, when compared to those taking nicotine replacement therapies.