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UK Regulators Warn Of Chantix Adverse Reactions

Posted by Chrissie Cole
Monday, November 10, 2008 10:53 PM EST
Category: Major Medical
Tags: FDA and Prescription Drugs, Pfizer, Chantix, Cigarette Smoking, Dangerous Drugs, Varenicline, Champix, Smoking Cessation, Depression, Suicidal


IMAGE SOURCE:© Pfizer, Chantix ad

Chantix is no stranger to bad press. The drug has had a controversial history in its two years on the market.

The U.K. government's regulatory agency for pharmaceuticals has issued an update linking Chantix sold as Champix (in the UK), to reports of depression and suicide related events.

Chantix has been linked to hundreds of reported cases of adverse effects ranging from vivid dreams to heart troubles, vision loss, accidents, diabetes, mental confusion, loss of consciousness and psychotic episodes.

The drug acts at sites in the brain affected by nicotine by providing nicotine-like effects to help ease craving and withdrawal symptoms.

MHRA - the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulator Agency, offers the following advice for patients: “Patients taking Chantix, also known by its generic name varenicline, who develop suicidal thoughts, agitation, depression and behavioral changes that are concern for the doctor, patient, family or caregiver should immediately stop treatment and contact their doctor.”

Sleep disorders (including insomnia and abnormal dreams) and gastrointestinal reactions (nausea and vomiting) have also been the most commonly reported side-effects of use.

Twenty – four people have died, of which ten have ended their own lives after using varenicline, according to the Daily Mail newspaper.

213 people have had suicidal thoughts and 407 are suffering from depression.

It is important to note, the suspected reactions may not have been caused by the drug, but rather other factors, including nicotine withdrawal, other illnesses or other medications taken by the patient, said the MHRA.

The agency also points out, that suicide-related events have been reported in patients taking varenicline who have no known pre-existing psychiatric conditions and in some patients who continued to smoke.

While reports of adverse effects related to Chantix use have climbed, so has the number of people taking the drug, said a spokesman for MHRA.

In May, the Federal Aviation Administration banned use of Chantix for pilots and air traffic controllers and most recently truckers were advised not to take Chantix.

The FDA approved Pfizer’s Chantix in May 2006 as a smoking cessation drug. #

1 Comment

Anonymous User
Posted by Phil
Tuesday, November 11, 2008 12:40 PM EST

I used Chantix two years ago and successfully quit smoking. Side effects did include; vivid dreams and suicidal tendencies or even worse depression. Was very glad to be of the medication.

Comments for this article are closed.

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