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Chantix (Pfizer) raises suicide risk and is unsuitable for treating first-line Nicotine Addiction

Read time: 1 mins
Last updated:4th Nov 2011
Published:4th Nov 2011
Source: Pharmawand
According to a study in the journal PLoS One, the poor safety profile of the Nicotine Addiction drug Chantix (varenicline), from Pfizer, makes it unsuitable for first-line use. The study reveals that Chantix, which already carries a "black box warning" from the FDA, showed a substantially increased risk of reported depression or suicidal behavior compared to other smoking-cessation treatments. It found that 90 percent of all reported suicides related to smoking-cessation drugs since 1998 implicated Chantix, even though it was on the market only four years in the nearly 13-year study period, and contradicts the implications of a recent review by the FDA showing no difference in psychiatric hospitalizations between Chantix and nicotine replacement patches. The researchers also found that Chantix was eight times more likely to result in a reported case of suicidal behavior or depression than nicotine replacement products. "We found that Chantix is associated with more suicidal behavior reports than any other smoking-cessation drug on the US market. The risks simply outweigh the benefits," says Curt D. Furberg, professor of Public Health Sciences at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. Chantix also is associated with an increase in the risk of serious cardiovascular events, as reported in the July 4, 2011, issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal. The team strongly recommends that the FDA should revise its warning.

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