FDA Warns Chantix Users of Heart Attack Risk

Chantix, the smoking-cessation drug, has been in the news for causing vivid dreams and devastating personality-altering effects in some users. Now there is more bad news for Chantix. The drug, made by Pfizer, is the subject of a published report in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. Authors conducted a meta-analysis on Chantix and found a 72 percent increase in the risk of congestive heart failure along with stroke and other problems.

Consumer Affairs reports the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) just last month, ordered a stronger warning for the Chantix label and medical guides. The study comes out of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and concludes these findings are “another reason to consider avoiding Chantix altogether.”

Chantix was found to be helpful in getting people to quit smoking however the number of adverse events was increased in those taking Chantix over a placebo. The increased risk of a cardiovascular event in the Canadian study was slight – 1.06 percent compared to 0.82 percent for placebo users, but nevertheless “raises safety concerns” about the drug.

In the first quarter of 2008, the FDA reported a record number of deaths and injuries associated with drugs – 20,745 serious injuries and 4,824 deaths. That represented a 2.6 fold increase from the previous quarter. Topping the list of most dangerous drugs was Chantix, linked to 1,000 injuries and 50 deaths from January to March 2008.

The report was compiled by the Pennsylvania nonprofit group, The Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP), which encourages drug safety.

After that, pilots and air traffic controllers were told not to use Chantix by the Federal Aviation Administration, and truck drivers have been warned not to use the drug by the Department of Transportation. Some users reported Chantix caused serious psychiatric problems including blackouts, seizures and feeling of suicide, as well as a disturbance in heart rhythms.

Sources: http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2011/07/another-study-links-chantix-to-heart-attack-risk.html, http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2011/06/fda-warns-of-heart-attack-risk-for-chantix-users.html and http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-sci-drugs23-2008oct23,0,3729962.story