The smoking cessation product by Pfizer is known as Champix in Canada and Chantix in the U.S. In response to ongoing reports of serious neuropsychiatric symptoms, Pfizer Canada has issues stronger warnings about the product.
The new warning informs people to discontinue use and see a doctor immediately if they experience neuropsychiatric symptoms or atypical behavior patterns. These symptoms may include mood changes, hostility and suicidal behavior.
The FDA has reported that psychiatric effects among Chantix users in the U.S. last year included 98 reports of suicide, and 188 attempted suicides. Some of the reported psychiatric problems could have been the result of nicotine withdrawal, but the FDA noted that many of the problems occurred while the Chantix users were still smoking. Chanitx
is a gradual cessation drug to help smokers quit over a period of time.
Health Canada states that Champix is a prescription medication used in combination with counseling to help adults quit smoking.
This drug has been linked to a sometimes fatal skin condition called Stevens Johnson syndrome, and anyone taking the medication should stop taking it and seek immediate medical attention if the develop any type of skin reaction.
Some of the other side effects that Chantix/Champix may cause include sleepiness, dizziness, seizures, and difficulty concentrating. Anyone who is taking this drug is advised not to drive or operate machinery until they know how the drug will affect them.
Pfizer has defended the safety of Chantix/Champix and argues that these psychiatric effects are often seen when people attempt to quit smoking. To date Health Canada has received more than 1,200 reports of adverse reactions to Champix since the release of the drug in 2007.
If you or a family member is using this smoking cessation drug, please carefully monitor your reactions and behavior. If you notice a problem, stop taking the drug and see a doctor immediately.