Monday, June 23, 2008

Anti-smoking drug Champix may spur depression, agitation

From CBC News:
Health Canada has issued another warning about adverse neuropsychiatric effects linked to Champix, a drug intended to help smokers butt out for good.

A number of patients taking Champix (varenicline tartrate) have experienced unusual feelings of agitation, depressed mood, hostility, changes in behaviour or impulsive or disturbing thoughts, such as ideas of self-harm or of harming others, Health Canada said Friday in an advisory.

The medication acts on sites in the brain affected by nicotine. The drug helps ease withdrawal symptoms and blocks the effects of nicotine if users resume smoking.

Champix, made by Pfizer Inc. and sold under the brand name Chantix in the United States, has been sold in Canada since April 2007. In the year following its approval, 226 Canadian cases of neuropsychiatric adverse events have been reported. In that period, more than 708,500 prescriptions for the drug have been filled across the country. ...more

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