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Aggressive Behavior Warning Toughened for Chantix

Posted by Jane Akre
Friday, January 18, 2008 11:08 AM EST
Category: None
Tags: Chantix, FDA and Prescription Drugs, Wrongful Death, Defective and Dangerous Products


Chantix labels gets tougher warning about aggressive behavior.


If it wasn’t difficult enough to stop smoking Pfizer says it will update its warning about Chantix to include the possibility that you might hurt yourself or others.

The drug reportedly helps smokers quit faster by keeping nicotine from reaching key receptors in the brain, Pfizer says in the ads featuring a hare and a turtle. The ads do not mention Chantix by name.

On Friday, January 18, 2008, the Chantix Web site was a little less cute. Chantix side effects include nausea (30%) trouble sleeping, gas and constipation, vivid, unusual or increased dreaming and/or vomiting. 

And you are suppose to tell your doctor if you feel any change in mood, behavior, agitation, depression “or have thought about or have tried to hurt yourself while trying to quit smoking with CHANTIX.”

“A casual relationship between Chantix and these reported symptoms has not been established. In some reports, however, an association could not be excluded,” the company said.

The U.S. label will ask doctors to monitor for these behaviors.

The drug maker will not reveal how many people report these symptoms other than to say it’s “not very common,” but the seriousness of some events have prompted the label change.

Concerns about Chantix drew national attention last year when Dallas musician, 34 year-old Carter Albrecht began acting irrationally and banging on a neighbor’s door. The neighbor, thinking he was an intruder, shot and killed Albrecht.

His mother Judy says, “He was pretty excited about not smoking. The only connection with the out of character behavior was that he was taking Chantix.”

While the medical examiner found Albrecht was also intoxicated at the time of his death, he did not find Chantix in Albrecht’s blood stream.  That’s because the medical examiner says there is no way to test for it.

Dr. Jeffrey Barnard, Chief Medical Examiner in Dallas County, wrote, "The drug Chantix is not listed in the report because no test exists in our laboratory." He also stated that he was "unable to find any lab which does this testing beyond the manufacturer."

Dr. Barnard says Pfizer declined to conduct the test.

Carter Albrecht’s father, Ken believes his son might be alive today if he hadn't taken Chantix. "I know that he had taken it, because here's the box for the first week and all the pills are gone," he tells CBS 11 News in Dallas.

After the Albrecht death, the FDA said it was reviewing the safety of Chantix.

The drug is used by more than five million patients.  Pfizer reports sales of $603 million through the third quarter of 2007. Chantix was approved in May 2006.

Shares of the New York City-based prescription medicine company closed Thursday at $22.96. #




Anonymous User
Posted by Terryeo
Friday, January 18, 2008 7:14 PM EST

Since when is suicide a "mood disorder"? Since Pfizer put the same warnings on its psychotropic drugs. That follows, go with Pfizer drugs to enjoy your suicidal feelings, wheeee.

Anonymous User
Posted by Robert Campbell
Friday, February 08, 2008 12:27 PM EST

Chantix was very helpful for me in quitting smoking after 40 years and has also helped three other people I know, with no side effects that I have heard of. These people also had been smoking about as long as I.

When I first inquired of my health carrier why it was not a tier one drug, however, they told me that it was a tier two drug, the first one which they would pay for to stop smoking being Wellbutrin. As I did not believe and was not advised that my smoking was related to depression at this stage, I paid for my own prescription for Chantix and did not take any Wellbutrin or any antidepressant as a prelude.

Not being a health care professional at all but a patient, I do not see why an antidepressent such as Wellbutrin would be prescribed for smoking, But if someone were taken off the anti-depressant and then put on Chantix who knows what the cause would be? Maybe that should be addressed in more articles on this topic.

As I head into my first year without smoking as a result of Chantix I am very happy that I did not start with any other medication for this purpose than Chantix and am grateful to Pfizer for producing this product.

Comments for this article are closed.

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