Quit Smoking Rx and Your Brain

Varenicline, bupropion to quit smoking did not appear to increase neuropsychiatric side effects

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Anyssa Garza, PharmD

(RxWiki News) Medications that help patients quit smoking did not appear to cause serious neuropsychiatric side effects, a new study found.

That's a good thing because, according to the University of California researchers behind this study, some people may not use quit-smoking medications because they're concerned they're not safe — despite the fact that these drugs are often the most effective quitting method.

This study, which was commissioned by the US Food and Drug Administration, looked at more than 8,000 people who smoked more than half a pack of cigarettes per day on average and who were wanting to quit.

Around half of these patients had a history of a mental health problem. Patients used varenicline, bupropion, nicotine patches or a placebo.

The study did not reveal a significant increase in moderate-to-severe neuropsychiatric adverse events in those given varenicline or bupropion when compared to nicotine patch or placebo. Varenicline appeared to be the most effective quit-smoking aid, these researchers found.

This study was published recently in The Lancet. Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline funded this research. Study authors disclosed ties to various pharmaceutical companies and other organizations.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
April 27, 2016
Last Updated:
May 3, 2016