Sunday, December 02, 2007

Wait you mean they still have an FDA

Anti-smoking drug linked to violent behaviour

* 02 December 2007
* From New Scientist Print Edition. Subscribe and get 4 free issues.

The anti-smoking drug Chantix is to be investigated by the US Food and Drug Administration after reports linked it to suicidal and violent behaviour. It has been on the US market for 18 months.

The case of Carter Albrecht of Dallas, Texas, who was shot dead while trying to break into a house, has focused attention on the drug. Albrecht's family say he was in a fit of rage at the time, which they link to his use of Chantix.

An autopsy showed that Albrecht had been drinking, and the FDA says that similar factors may explain the reports of violent or suicidal impulses from other users. Chantix is taken by smokers who have quit, and it has been claimed in the drug's defence that the ensuing nicotine withdrawal symptoms may exacerbate any underlying psychiatric illness. But the FDA also notes that the side effects have been reported by Chantix users who have not stopped smoking and by users with no record of psychiatric illness.

Chantix, made by Pfizer, was recommended for use in the UK in May by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence.


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