In this large meta-analysis of 22 randomized trials of former smokers, the risk of cardiovascular events on treatment or within 30 days of discontinuation were not significantly different between the varenicline groups (0.63%) and the placebo groups (0.47%) (abstract). This opposes a former meta-analysis which found higher cardiac event rates within a year of discontinuing varenicline compared to placebo (abstract). Although these disparate results generate controversy about whether or not there is a risk, if there is it appears to be small.
Dr. Scheurer is a clinical hospitalist and the Medical Director of Quality and Safety at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, South Carolina, and is Assistant Professor of Medicine. She is a graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Medicine, completed her residency at Duke University, and completed her Masters in Clinical Research at the Medical University of South Carolina. She also serves as the Web Editor and Physician Advisor for the Society of Hospital Medicine.