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Heart Attack Patients can Use Nicotine Patches Safely: Study

Heart Attack Patients can Use Nicotine Patches Safely: Study

(epharmanews)- It is vital for a patient who has survived a heart attack to quit smoking. However, doctors are often hesitant to prescribe nicotine replacement therapies that help patients to quit smoking (such as nicotine patches and nicotine gum) because they might have negative effects on the patient’s heart.

A new study, however, found that such therapies seem to be safe for patients who have recently been discharged from hospital after suffering a heart attack or chest pains.

Researchers asserted that nicotine replacement therapies are safe and can help heart attack patients quit smoking. They explained that although in theory nicotine causes constriction of the arteries which can cause serious complications in the heart, but that is only on paper.

"We know continued smoking after a heart attack greatly increases the risk of a recurrent heart attack, (but) the ability of patients to quit smoking cold turkey is pretty low in general," said Dr. Kevin Woolf, a cardiologist at Hillsboro Cardiology in Oregon, who led the study.

Researchers gathered data from 663 smokers who have been discharged from hospital after having a heart attack. Nicotine replacement therapy, often in the form of dispatches, was prescribed to 184 of them to help them quit smoking. Patients who received a prescription had similar survival chances as those who did not.

Woolf and his colleagues report in the American Journal of Cardiology that 29 percent of the people in the nicotine group and 31 percent of the people in the other group died or experienced another major heart problem within a year of leaving the hospital.

"This study adds support to safely using this medication after an acute coronary syndrome," Woolf said.

Despite the optimistic suggestions of this study, it failed to find out whether patients prescribed nicotine replacement therapy actually used it, nor whether those who were not prescribed it might have gotten their own over-the-counter nicotine replacement products.

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Prepared by: Basel AlJunaidy

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