Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Champix side effects prompt 818 complaints

From the Globe and Mail:
Health Canada has received more than 800 reports of side effects - including more than 500 reports of psychiatric problems - linked to the controversial smoking-cessation drug Champix in less than two years on the market.

But although evidence is growing that the medication is linked to aggression, depression and suicidal tendencies, some tobacco-control experts and non-profit groups in Canada still encourage its use, often without mention of the possibility of psychiatric problems.

In its online guide to quitting smoking, forexample, the Canadian Lung Association includes a section that lists Champix first as an effective option to "reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms."

The association says the "pros" of Champix include the fact it is in pill form and is easy to use, as well as the fact it is not addictive because it doesn't contain nicotine. The guide lists only minor side effects, such as nausea, strange dreams and constipation, as "cons" to taking Champix, even though Health Canada has issued two warnings in recent months about links between the drug and serious psychiatric side effects.

The smoking and tobacco section of the website indicates that Pfizer Canada, which sells Champix, provided funding to the association in the form of a restricted educational grant, which means that Pfizer isn't involved in how the money is spent. ...more

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